We would like a character mascot of a raccoon to use in various forms of communication. We like the raccoon because it is a cute but sort of mischievous animal, kind of like a student. Since our software helps keep students out of trouble online, and instead keeps them focused on their work, we think the raccoon is an appropriate metaphor for the students we are helping to protect. They typically mean no harm, but are just VERY curious and as such can often find themselves in precarious situations—much like a student who is searching for information online for school.
We would like the mascot to feel like it is coming from a tech company (think Github, Zendesk, Trello, etc.) but still be appealing and personable to the education industry. Ideally it won't skew too young, because the students we protect range in age from Kindegarten to 12th grade seniors in high school. So it should be kind of "cool/cute" that can appeal to all ages.
It also needs to appeal to school teachers and administrators, as we may use it in specific branding and marketing campaigns to be a recognizeable alternative to our main logo, which is currently a shield. It would be nice if the raccoon is more of an abstract character instead of trying to make it look very realistic, like a Disney cartoon. Be creative and explore what really are the most identifiable parts of a raccoon: the mask, the tail, etc.
We have been internally referring to this raccoon as "Wally" (because often the first time a student will see him is on a blocked screen, i.e. a "wall"), but we want to use him to soften the message a little bit and make him more of a guide instead of a policeman. Our current blocked page shows a padlock, and it's too harsh and serves only as a source of frustration to students.
We believe that with a cute, funny little character that students can relate to, the message will be less abrasive that certain sites are blocked, while also providing a double meaning for teachers and admins who will understand the comparison between raccoons and students.
Happy to provide more information if necessary during the project!