The Amul Girl, a cheerful little girl dressed in a polka-dot frock, has been one of the most successful and longest-running advertising mascots in India. Created by Sylvester DaCunha, the Amul Girl has been the face of Amul butter since 1966, making her an iconic part of India’s cultural and design world landscape.
Amul girl today is one of the longest running and successful Ad mascots that started in 1966 to bring out the better quality and superiority of the Amul brands and more specifically Amul butter over margarine. Used to promote a range of Amul products like Amul milk, cheese, ice cream amongst others, today the Amul girl is a national pride and one of the most recognized mascots across age groups.
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What about the Amul girl is so iconic?
The Amul girl’s design is simple, effective, and easily relatable for its target audience, the middle-class Indians.
She is a bubbly, happy little girl with a round face and a friendly smile wearing a simple polka-dot dress and a straw hat. The design is so simple yet so defined, and critically put together that it evokes a sense of innocence, playfulness and simplicity amalgamated with the brand’s message of purity and quality.
The design character’s appeal lies in her sheer ability and ease in connecting with the Indian audience on an emotional and deeper level. A connection and design that is deeply symbolic of the Indian middle class, representing the aspiration of the average common Indian population.
The witty ads
What makes it even more successful and approachable for Indians is the witty and timely commentary on current events. Let’s be honest, we all have running commentary on current events, the Amul girl just hits the point on this one and hence the connection gets deeper making her a cultural icon.
Are you a visual designer or working in the graphics/ ad world, then here are some vital points from visual communication viewpoint you need to keep in mind to build an icon that becomes a cultural icon for a country:
A. Being consistent
The Amul girl design has taught us one main lesson, to be consistent over the years to stay relevant. She became a familiar and beloved figure in the Indian context due to the consistency of the brand’s vocal communication and language – this includes their ad campaigns, packaging, social and digital communication channels. The Amul girl design is timeless and has not changed since 1966 – which makes it even more iconic. A design that is curated keeping in mind that it will stay true to its authentic audience hence relatable through decades.
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B. Stay Simple
Amul girl is a simple yet effective design that is designed to stay relevant, relatable, and memorable – which stands as a key reason why it still holds importance even 5-6 decades later becoming a cultural icon. Any new design needs to consider the fine nuances of the place and the audience they are meant for and keeping it simple is the key to creating your new visual communication elements.
C. Hues and colour variations
Key message here is to know how to play with colours that one’s eyes are drawn to. Eye-catching colours help the design to stand out, offer the consumers a guide to where their eyes should focus on and stand out in their ad campaigns. Amul Girl’s colours are yellow and red, two bold colours that help the brand’s visual communication making it memorable and recognizable.
D. Original and authentic
Amul Girl design is a true symbol of the Indian middle class and an original design that has an authentic appeal. All its elements are authentic representations of its widespread audience – what should be kept in mind while creating new visual communication elements by designers and brands today. While striving to be relatable and relevant, it’s essential to build designs that are original and authentic.
E. Being playful and witty
Amul Girl design includes elements of hidden and obvious playfulness that keep her authentic and relatable. A touch of whimsy with a little witty and timely commentary on the current events keep the design and visual communication engaging, memorable with a touch of friendliness.
By keeping these pointers in mind, designers and brands can continue to build a new identity that can with consistency become part of the audience’s daily engagement material.
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While these are few factors to the success of the Amul girl mascot campaign over the decades, it’s also the mascot’s ability to offer a positive impact on Indian society by touching topics such as women empowerment, environmental conservation, and road safety. It became a powerful tool to raise awareness on the important issues that help the public to shape important opinions and spark a change. The mascot has truly been a testament to the power of design and effective advertising.
Recognized internally, the Amul Girl mascot was awarded the title of ‘’Asia’s Most Admired Mascot’’ in 2007 by the Asian Brand Congress and has been featured in several international publications including the Time magazine and The Guardian.