nenets autonomous okrug
Cartoondra: the mascots
From sketch to people's true love: three little heroes of NAO
When you have to share your ideas and brand identity to the public, you can never go wrong with the mascots. People love cartoons, children love plush toys, so its mostly a win-win strategy. It's much easier to translate you ideas and brand values that way. Japanese figured it out perfectly for branding municiples, so we've inspired with their crazy amazing Yuru-chara characters. Pretty kawai.

We've made the whole tundra universe of funny characters, related to Nenetsky Autonomous Okrug. There are three main guys, yet there are a plenty of friends around you can easily launch a cartoon series.

We called project "Cartoondra" which is the mix for toondra, toon and cartoon.

Client: NAO Business Development Center

Work: Mascots creating, concept, design, illustrations, description, tone of voice, etc.

Once upon a time in a snow occupied tundra
There lived three NAO heroes — the reindeer, the choom and the droplette of oil
The old wise Choom slowly moves along the barely noticeable horizon of the Nenets tundra in a blizzard with a herd of reindeer year after year. He is being pulled by a small, yet very bright young "navka" — the reindeer the color of a ripe cranberry. Choom asks the deer to admire the horizon, listen to the silence, and talks about how sad it is for him that so many people love to fly south for vacation instead of coming north. He would like everything to be the opposite. The reindeer meets a droplette of Oil — a young, fiery girl also born in the Tundra who made an unprecedented decision — she sneaked past her barrel and decided to stay and help people in the NAO instead of fleeing to big cities. Their meeting changes the usual way of life for the deer and inspires them to decisive actions, which this story is dedicated to.
Meet the reindeer
I am the embodiment of minimalism. I have nothing extra, except for my sled on which I pull my friend — Choom. I don't even have thickness, because in shape I am a flat square. I always run because I cannot walk — the northern wind blows into me like a sail, and that's why it seems like I sometimes don't even touch the ground with my feet. But that doesn't stop me from being a reindeer — I have antlers and hooves. They are also thin and look like twigs, but that doesn't make me defenseless — I can poke with them if I feel threatened!

My support and friend is the Oil - a speaking droplette, reliable and with burning eyes. I never thought that there would be someone so fiery in this world like her. Together with her, I feel like we can move mountains. Although I have never seen any mountains in my life, all the land around me is as flat as I am. I am a deer the color of ripe cranberries, so I can be seen from afar even in the milkiest blizzard. Anyone would say - I am the brightest reindeer in the tundra. But, honestly, I think I'm just the brightest reindeer. In general. Sorry, I can't talk for long - I'm running away! See you later!
Be faster than light, never turn left, you'd better be right
the Reindeer
Meet the choom
Don't rush, catch your breath, come in, make yourself comfortable by the fire, sit down calmly, inhale and exhale to start. Again. Inhale and exhale. Try some tea, look up as the smoke rises into the starry sky. Have you been here long? How is it in your city? How many people are there? Do you take pictures on your phone? Calm down, better have some more tea and tell me your name first, friend.

I am the Choom - and I live in the Tundra. You can be calm and confident with me. It's quiet and cozy inside me — there's always a flame burning and even in the coldest blizzard, I won't let you freeze, I'll give you delicious tea and treats. No blizzard can move me from my place because I can withstand any weather. I have many stories and legends. I have seen many people - I have seen a lot in general. And I would like you to see a lot too. Do you think you can see a lot in your big city? That's not true - you will see the most in the tundra when you come here and step out of Chum in the morning to breathe in the light frosty air, dipping your gaze into the horizon. See, you've already imagined it in your head and seen much more than before.
I think I saw you 2000 years ago — or was it not you?
the Choom
Meet the droplette of oil
Have you ever seen matches? If you're like everyone else, just light a small flame and you'll all light up at once. Nothing unexpected. But if I were like everyone else, I would have long since become gasoline and they would have even given me a number - 92, or maybe 95. From a barrel of oil, you can't see the beauty of the world around you, but I have eyes and, according to the Reindeer, they are burning. I want your eyes to light up too, because you can see the beauty that surrounds us. I was born here, I was mined here, but I'm not going to leave this place — because this is where I am needed the most, as I can warm up better than anyone else!

I'm used to being different from everyone else. Everyone has heard of me, but few have seen me. And I'm happy that we met: we can do something and learn something! I'm lucky that I met Reindeer here - together we are strong! I want everyone in life to meet their own Reindeer and their own Choom. They are idealistic guys and I was inspired by their dream of inviting more guys like us to visit us. In fact, it's not that cold in the north if there's a fire burning inside you!
You won't see much of a life from the oil barrel, so I decided to stay
the Droplette of Oil
And their friends
The most notorious one is the Arctic Fox, which translates to "Pesets" in Russian. Not only it's a very widespread in NAO animal, yet also its name in Russia sounds similiar to "Pizdets" (it's when something is completely fucked up). So he could be the most funny of all three.

Appearance of the Arctic Fox couldn't be predicted and always unexpected, like a good pun.

Sadly, our clients in the NAO Business Development Center were afraid to introduce him as one of the main heroes to the public.
Let's develop Arctic tourism together with covidy and $10 per on apple prices
Mosquitos. There plenty of them in NAO and your visiting to the region won't remain unnoticed by these guys. It wouldn't be fair not to mention them in the stories.

In our story they played the part of being bad guys: the toxic thoughts you run from when you would like to have a retreat.

"Check news once again", "Let's think about that awkward story in school", "You're in your midlife. What about some crysis?" and so on. In a few words, lol.

They haven't been introduced, also.
Why they don't like the back hugs?
All the images were drawn with lots of elements, face expressions, animations in order for the designer to use the ready-made elements for future use in comic strips, illustrations and other cases.
SOME guidelines
Starter pack of more than 50 stories had been added as something to start with. All the characters had a list of their personal phrases and way of communicating with the residents. All three have their own social media and write on NAO news from three different perspectives, and thus covering many target audiences at once with their own tone of voices. Briefly:
  • the Reindeer
    Fast reporter
    The favourite guy.
    Mascot for taxi and delivery services, transportation, snowmobile rental, sports equipment rental, competitions, active recreation, and youth holidays. The mascot of everything related to extreme sports. Tundra tours, guides, tour operators, fishing, hunting.

    Target audience: tourists of all age, almost everybody
    Channel: youtube, telegram
  • the Choom
    Speaks of eternal things.
    The smart guy.
    Mascot of hospitality and the entire HoReCa industry in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. Everything from hotels and restaurants to small cafes and guest houses with accommodation arrangements.

    Target audience: elder generation, casual people.
    Channel: podcasts, vk
  • the Oil
    Trendy firestarter & trendsetter.
    The trendy girl.
    Mascot for educational initiatives, strategic regional development, lectures, enlightenment, and modern technological innovations.

    Target audience: younger generation, students, school residents
    Channel: Tiktok, instagram
The adventures of the Khori the reindeer
The magic started when the reindeer was produced as a plush squareshaped pillow with two fluffy horns, that you can hardly refrain from tugging.
Khori the pillow as on the concept stage
People in NAO keep an eye on the adventures of the fast and furious reindeer, called Khori. A young girl from the nenets tribe gave him that name: in Nenets it says "boy". Khori travels around the world and has a channel in which he shares his travels with subscribers.

By the way, you can meet Khori in the Center of Arctic Tourism. He lives there and people can pet him and buy souvenirs with him.

Khori the reindeer on the maximum settings
I called him Pixel, yet I get used to his new name, because it's impact with the reality and it inhales new life to your creations
Igor Makovsky
Photos from the official vk page
Share your emotions on Discord, Telegram and vk
Just add a fancy messanger and there you go. To tundra.
Comic strips
Classic three-framed stories, that you could post online.
#031 — Winter is coming starring the reindeer and the choom
All together to Naryanmania
The amount of merch with mascots slowly, yet confidently grows each time. One of noticible examples is a board game "Naryanmania", that one of Monopolia clones with a scent of local identity, based on the town map we created. All the heroes represent the region on the pages of the "made in NAO" catalogue, being released annualy.
The things catched my eye lately. Hope to add more
The discussions on the project were so hot, I've almost wanted to abandon everything. Clients might trust experts a design of logo, yet they will always know better if the mascot has the right eyelish design, or look untrustworthy, snarky or even cunning. The oil used to be a nervious lady, who tended to rise and unexpectedly fall. Then she gained weight and almost became a volcano. Arctic Fox had to be one of the main characters because of his actuality. The Pixel reindeer had little change and lost ability to change his color.
Igor Makovsky
  • Elena Ermolina
  • Natalia Makovsky
    Brand strategy
  • Igor Makovsky
    Design, illustrations, texts
  • Elena Smorodinova
    Ideas, playwright
More projects in NAO
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2018 … 2023
2018 … 2020