Animated Characters to Educate and Save Lives!

What we did:

Character Suite
Promotional Merchandise
Digital Games
Website Applications
Character Animation


The Brief

Sutherland Shire Council and the Lifeguard Unit approached COG Design with a brief to deliver the Surf Hero School Education Initiative its characters, animation and website.

Sutherland Shire Council briefed COG Design to work in collaboration with Sally Fitzgibbons, Rob Brander (Dr Rip), Gymea Tradies (Max The Meerkat)  and the Sutherland Shire Lifeguards (Sonny The Lifeguard) to develop individual characters for each identity.

The brief also included website design and game design for website to be used in the education of the danger and natural elements of the beach and coastal environments. With each character being a high profile public figureCOG Design needed to work closely and liaise directly with each individual to ensure accurate representation and formal sign off for their cartoon character figure.

The brief Sutherland Shire Council provided COG Design included brand identity design, print management, website designlogo designillustration design.

The Client

Sutherland Shire Council provides services and manages a wide range of public assets and infrastructure to ensure the Sutherland Shire community enjoy a high quality of life now and into the future.

To plan the wide range of services and infrastructure needed, Sutherland Shire Council work in collaboration with State and Federal government, local agencies and our community members. Sutherland Shire is located 26 kilometres south of the Sydney CBD and Council administers an area of 369 km sq, on behalf of approximately 230,000 people. They are committed to our vision of: a connected and safe community that respects people and nature, enjoying active lives in a strong local economy.

Our Ocean Safety Lifeguards

The beaches of Cronulla are situated on the Bate Bay coastline in the south eastern corner of Sydney. The area covers approximately five kilometres of sandy beaches as well as two kilometres of rocky coastline and five tidal pools situated at Kurnell, Cronulla Beach, Shelley Beach, Oak Park and Gunnamatta Baths. These beaches service more than 6,000,000 beach users per year.

The Sutherland Shire Council Ocean Safety lifeguards wear blue and white uniforms and work 365 days a year. They are highly trained in rescue and resuscitation techniques and patrol North Cronulla, Elouera and Wanda beaches daily from October to April, whilst Cronulla beach is patrolled all year round.

Council Ocean Safety lifeguards also provide school education activities at North Cronulla from May to September and have two beach wheelchairs and a Mobi Mat available to the community to use.



The COG Design Solution

A comprehensive character image suite designed to enable diverse uses across printed promotional merchandise as well as digitally in games and on the website.

Our Creative Director and senior graphic designer lead the COG Design team in the design of each character, with hand drawn sketches in black and white first being created, and presented to each client. With a close approval process we had numerous approval checkins to ensure we remained within brief and close to approval during the while character development process.

Once the hand drawn sketches were approved we then continued in with wireframes for each of the character animation positions and scenes. The website and games required a large number of character positions and variations, so again working closely with the individuals and getting sign off the full suite of characters was again signed off prior to colour fill and animation.

COG Design are experts at taking briefs whether large or small and ensuring they meet the clients expectations and meet their brand vision. Once the colour fill was made for each key character position, as in the images above, approval was made and then rest of the character suite was rolled out in full.

The Results

A professional education resource that is delivered first hand into school classrooms across Sydney. The Surf Hero surf safety program is key in educating those young people who don’t have the inherent family knowledge of the dangers of the ocean and the beach in the summer time.

The successful result for Surf Hero is a beach education website just for kids. Sonny, Dr Rip, Max and Sally characters were fully developed and delivered across the website in their games. The Surf Hero project also included a range of print and promotional items such as flags, banners, stickers, balloons, stress balls and lanyards.

Surf Hero is all about helping kids have fun at the beach but also to make sure they are aware of the hidden dangers as well. Check out the fun activities about safety signs, rip currents, learning to surf and the role of Lifeguards and Lifesavers. Sutherland Shire Council employs professional Lifeguards to patrol the beaches in Bate Bay year round. Council Lifeguards are highly trained in all facets of water safety and through council’s surf education programs, have been providing surf education and survival training for more than 20 years. Surf Hero is a new initiative to increase the reach of our surf safety messages.