Olivia R. January 29, 2020
Team Liquid stole the spotlight at the LCS Spring Split's opening weekend with the reveal of their new mascot, Blue. A white horse sporting a Team Liquid jacket and blue mane, Blue is the organization's logo personified. The mascot exists to cheer on Team Liquid and be cute, according Team Liquid's senior graphic designer Stacey Yamada.
Yamada is the creative mind behind the mascot. She led a team in creating not only Blue's unique look, but also the horse's clumsy and mischievous personality. WIN.gg spoke with Blue's designer about her vision for Blue and what it meant to her to see Blue dabbing on the LCS Arena stage.
Why did Team Liquid decide to create Blue?
Yamada: It was for my own selfish reasons, to do something cute! But it’s our presentation of the team, a different way to represent the organization. Blue is different from our recent “win, win, win” persona. It’s this cute and sometimes mischievous being.
How did you come up with that personality?
That part wasn’t really super deep. Ultimately, I like how Japanese mascots are cute and act awkward. For us, we’re a team and there’s a lot of shit talking in esports. So it’s a way to do "spicy" stuff but in a cute way, I guess you could say.
How did you come up with Blue's design?
Japanese mascots are usually associated with a town or an organization of some sort. They usually represent what’s from that area, for example a lotus flower fairy mascot representing a region with lotus flowers. It has to resonate with what it’s representing. For us, as a team, it's a focus on our logo. Blue has six manes, just like our logo, going from dark blue to lighter blue.
How long did it take to come up with Blue’s design?
I honestly don’t know. It’s been such a long time. I originally started drawing Blue around October [of 2018]. I showed some people [within Team Liquid] and got positive feedback. I went with it and made a presentation on getting a mascot, but there’s been changes since then. The process from presenting to releasing Blue has been over a year. The costume itself took about a month.
How did you feel when Blue finally debuted at LCS?
Relieved! When you have all this anxiety and everyone is excited but you, it’s really, really hard. It’s a very odd feeling. I don’t know if it’s because I’ve been looking at Blue all this time that I didn’t have that excited reponse.
But everyone is saying they’re proud of me and congratulating me. It’s been hard to process. Blue had such a positive response.
How did you become aware of all the positive reactions to Blue?
All those Twitter comments, it was all positive. A very small percentage was negative, and they were saying it’s just cute! So I achieved my goal!
I just love cute stuff. This is just my dream come true: to be able to make a character for an existing company. It's insane in retrospect. I have my own characters I've created, but this character can reach even further because it's for Team Liquid.
The crazy part about Blue is that, because of how it looks, it can appeal to people outside of our industry. People will like Team Liquid not just because of esports. They’ll just like Blue. That’s the cool thing that I think Blue will bring to the community.
What is Team Liquid planning to do with Blue?
We want to bring Blue to anything Team Liquid is doing.
What's the purpose of bringing Blue to events?
Blue is a different way to engage with the community and to excite people.
The really cool thing I saw at LCS is that when people saw Blue in person they said, “Oh my god, it’s Blue!” The response people had was pretty cool. People who saw Blue and kind of stared because it was so cute… I saw myself when I see cute things. I see myself in those people.
How long have you been working for Team Liquid?
It's been eight years, starting from when I was a volunteer to now.
How does it feel to be a graphic designer for an esports organization?
In college I played a lot of World of Warcraft. I've always been into video games and esports.
TL.net was looking for volunteers and my friends told me to check it out. I applied and got turned down at a certain round. I asked why. I worked on it, they gave me another chance, and I was able to get in.
Esports and graphic design is the perfect combo for me. I honestly don’t know where I would be if I wasn’t here. It's insane to know I work for the biggest esports organization in the world.