'Luna' 3D Mascot Statue
Case Study: How to create the perfect company brand mascot
Table of Contents
From a webpage 404 graphic to stealing the show at a trade show - here's the story behind the genius company brand mascot 'Luna'.
History of Luna
The following information is a summary from an interview with David Fortino, Chief Strategy Officer at NetLine.
What’s the origin of Luna?
Luna originated around 10 years ago as an internal easter egg. It showed up as a 404 page, basically, an error page, and the idea was that the “user’s explorations had gone awry and they’ve gone where no one has gone before.” Ideally, no one should have ever really seen it and the illustration at the time was just the back side of the astronaut. Initially, there was no intention of building a brand out of it or developing a mascot for the brand.
How did Luna transition to become a mascot?
It wasn’t until around 3 years ago in the discussion around a tool for B2B marketers called ‘Audience Explorer’ where the unnamed astronaut illustration came to my mind again. The idea of data exploration and the fact that marketers are naturally inquisitive, matched so perfectly what an astronaut is doing. From there, it started resonating internally and the marketing team knew they were on to something organically.
Over a year or two later, it was clear that this character needed to take a front row seat at NetLine and become one of the faces for the brand and it could introduce a level of playfulness that NetLine hadn’t really had and is uncommon in the B2B technology service industry. There are a few others, such as Mailchimp’s chimp, but the mascot of these other companies don’t really ‘connect the dots’ into the company’s narrative. Every marketer is constantly exploring data, options, tools, etc. so the theme of the astronaut exploring space just made sense.
How do you incorporate a mascot into successful marketing?
Once NetLine came to the conclusion that this astronaut would become a mascot for the company’s brand, it had to have a name. Thus, ‘Luna’ was officially born as another ‘moment of momentum’. As a way to extend brand endearment to its customers, NetLine created a ‘Luna Book of the Month’ club to give away B2B marketing content and Luna, as an entity for the brand, became the direct connection as if she, herself, was giving these marketers tangible value. Most recently, NetLine has launched a new intent platform called INTENTIVE that is designed to help marketers speed up the sales process with real-time insights. Luna is ‘very much part of the product from an external perspective visually but even parts of the product are heavily influenced by space and Luna, including product verbiage and all marketing aspects’.
Also, ALL of NetLine’s swag includes a version of Luna. It’s a way to stand out but more importantly, it something that customers or attendees will actually like receiving and displaying. “Knowing that our swag is something that people will enjoy sharing and tagging us on social is just fun.”
How did you arrive on a near 300 pound version of your beloved mascot and how did you land on WhiteClouds?
I knew I wanted a larger footprint of Luna. We didn’t know the event yet but we knew INTENTIVE was a year out so at the time that the marketing plans were coming together, we had targeted Forrester B2B Summit as the launch point for the product and it become clear we had to make this happen with Luna. So, we started searching for vendors that could make this. Dan came across WhiteClouds and he reached out to them with a pretty general request. They got back to us quickly and we had a short call. We sent them some visuals and they came back with a pretty detailed proposal as to how this would all work. My only vision was that she be large enough that humans could pose next to it for an engagement strategy. We had an idea where Luna might have a pole with a flag in her hand and it become an opportunity that people could have different flags with playful space-oriented marketing terms and WhiteClouds figured out how to make that happen. It went down to the wire but … kudos to the team because she came out amazing.
3D Statue Creation Process
Although WhiteClouds sometimes receives 3D digital files from the customer, or occasionally a 3D STL file is purchased as a starting point, in the case of Luna, a simple 2D line drawing was provided instead. Undeterred, our skilled 3D designers took on the challenge and meticulously crafted the entire 3D digital model from scratch, including incorporating the precise position of the arm holding the flag prop and a sturdy base.
Throughout the process, there was a collaborative exchange with NetLine to ensure the 3D digital model’s overall shape met all requirements. This involved a few iterations and adjustments until the final design was perfected and officially approved before proceeding to the printing phase.”
The decision to opt for 3D printing to create our Luna mascot, as opposed to traditional foam sculpting or other materials, was a result of a careful evaluation aimed at striking the right balance between cost, strength, and efficiency. Through 3D printing, we have harnessed the advantages of rapid adjustments in the software model, ensuring precise perfection before the actual production. Additionally, the printers execute the task with 100% accuracy, regardless of the scale.
For this project, we selected PLA (polylactic acid) as the primary material, a polymer plastic derived from biological sources, widely recognized as the most extensively used material in the 3D printing domain. Its impressive strength and environmentally friendly attributes have led to its widespread adoption, replacing materials like ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) and HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene). While there may be alternative materials with greater strength, the comprehensive consideration of factors such as cost, strength, and ease of use, firmly establishes PLA as the optimal choice for 3D printing filaments, effectively encompassing the best aspects from multiple perspectives.
The process of creating a large sculpture involves digitally breaking it down into smaller, manageable pieces, which are then 3D-printed with ultra-fine layers of plastic. These individual components are meticulously bonded together and assembled around a sturdy internal metal structure, subsequently filled with foam for additional support. In some instances, a single sculpture may comprise well over a hundred separate pieces, with our largest statue to date, standing at approximately 30 feet tall, requiring 365 individual components. The division of sculptures into pieces for 3D printing proves to be highly efficient, as multiple printers can operate simultaneously within our designated ‘farm’ setup. Presently, our printing farm accommodates up to 85 printers, optimizing the production process. It is noteworthy that the majority of cost-effective 3D printers available on the market possess a relatively small print size, further emphasizing the practicality of this segmented approach.
After the assembly of the statue using a specialized WhiteClouds process, our highly skilled team meticulously tends to each seam, diligently ensuring a smooth and seamless finish in preparation for the painting phase. The process of refining each seam requires a dedicated timeframe of 1-3 hours of meticulous bodywork, guaranteeing the highest standard of craftsmanship.
Upon the completion of the bodywork, the entire statue undergoes a meticulous priming process to create an ideal surface for the application of the final high-quality paint. Our team utilizes precision spraying techniques to achieve a flawless and visually striking appearance. Additionally, for elements such as the visor and logos, vinyl decals are expertly applied and subsequently sealed to maintain their pristine look.
To safeguard the immaculate paintwork and the statue itself, a protective clear coat is skillfully administered, offering an added layer of defense against potential wear and tear. This final touch ensures the longevity and resilience of the statue while preserving its exceptional visual appeal.
Shipping a Large Statue
The art of shipping large custom statues poses unique challenges, given their inherent fragility and the need for utmost care during transportation to prevent any potential damage. At WhiteClouds, we take pride in our proficient woodworking and shipping team, who skillfully craft each crate to precise shipping specifications. Beginning with the construction of a custom wooden crate that precisely matches the statue’s dimensions, we then incorporate additional supports, ensuring a secure fit. Strategically placed straps or carefully positioned foam pieces are employed to minimize any potential movement during transit. Recognizing the individuality of each custom project, we approach the shipping process with the same level of uniqueness, tailoring each crate and method accordingly. For monumental pieces, like the ones we handle, we may utilize a flatbed truck to ensure a safe and secure journey to its final destination.
Finished Gallery of Luna from Forrester B2B Summit
Get a Free Price Estimate for a Custom 3D Project
The cost of character models is based on the volume of materials (size of the model), type of materials, production labor, and installation time, as well as other elements unique to the project. If you are interested in creating a 3D physical statue of your mascot, or a quote on any 3D project, email us, call us at 385-206-8700, or fill out the form below and let us bid on your project.
Custom Fabrication Workflow
We genuinely care about what we produce and offer a multi-phase approach to each project. Each phase is essential to your project and helps us ensure the quality of craftsmanship we promote.