The making of A Mouse’s Tale

December 2016
The making of A Mouse’s Tale
Mike Laskey
20th December 2016

2016 has been a fun, successful year for us here at Diva, full of great campaigns with clients old and new.

So what better way to celebrate than by creating an uplifting seasonal greetings card?

It’s not the first time we’ve designed something special at this time of year to thank everyone we’ve worked with, but this year we’ve gone one step further and lovingly crafted an entire story.

Explore A Mouse’s Tale for yourself and enjoy a behind-the-scenes look at how it was made below.

We hope you’re sitting comfortably.

A Mouse's Tale

Step one – the idea

The festive period is all about spending time with family and loved ones, so we wanted to tell a cheery, heartfelt story with the true sentiments of the season.  But what would that story be about?

The team had a couple of chats and soon came to the conclusion that a fable-inspired animal adventure would fit perfectly, while also providing great material for our illustration skills to come to the fore.

Several initial options for animals, settings and story morals were considered. Deer, glowworms and moles were all mooted before we decided that those most woodland of creatures – a mouse, a fox, a squirrel and an owl – were just right for keeping things rooted in the familiar.

Initial drafts for part of the poemStep two – the story itself

We were keen to reference a well-known seasonal song or quote, as this would act as a handy shortcut for the reader to quickly grasp our card’s message. After reviewing tons of poems, pop hits and literary extracts, our copywriter picked out a lyric from Andy Williams’s ‘It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year’ that neatly sums up our view of the season, as the final line.

We decided to contrast the cold and dark of winter with the happy, loving season it is to us, so our mouse was going to have to have a similar experience – and realise that friends and family are what this time of year is all about. It then took a few drafts to finalise our poem.

As for a name? ‘A Mouse’s Tale’ seemed a particularly apt play on words.

Mal working on A Mouse's Tale

Step three – the format

Image? Animation? Game? How best to tell our tale?

We wanted the reader to go along with the mouse on its journey – so an interactive-scrolling webpage that unfolds with the user’s own mouse was a natural fit. With scrolling not possible on mobiles, small-screen users can instead tap through scenes like a storybook, helping our creation still feel tactile and real.

A Mouse's Tale illustrations

Step four – the design

We explored different illustration styles and techniques before quickly selecting a Scandinavian-style look and feel as offering exactly what we wanted to achieve.

Our designer then got to work on bringing the stars of our story to life, hand-drawing characters before adding intricate details to our background scenery. We tried several versions of each asset, fine tuning our creations to give them the personality and flair they deserved.

The font Eczar, which was used in Diva's 2016 winter greetings card

Everything from colours and shadows to typefaces and snowflakes was considered as we made sure all the elements complemented each other. We settled on the font Eczar for our on-screen text as a good mix of the modern and the traditional.

Scrolling animation GIF

Step five – the development

Our programmer translated the vision into a reality, using code to develop a webpage that responds to the user’s scrolling movements and features impressive transitions and touches.

The result was a well-polished adventure full of heart and character.

We hope you enjoy reading A Mouse’s Tale as much as we enjoyed creating it.

And from all of us at Diva Creative, enjoy the holidays!

By Mike Laskey