On 29th July 2016, "the guideline for the usage of the mascot of Sophia University, Sophian-kun" was announced by the Center of Students Affairs and the Office of Public Relations in Sophia University. According to the guideline, the color and posture of Sophian-kun has standardized, and the application is going to be required for using or editing him from now on.
Through the process of designing goods printed with Sophian-kun, the Sophia Campus Support Co., Ltd, which was established last February, pointed out the necessity of the guideline. Except for four official postures, the guideline prohibits use of other postures without permission. Line art as well as reversed version will not be allowed according to it. Moreover, the use of Sophian-kun to promote specific companies, organizations and goods has been restricted.
In order to improve the visual individuality and the visibility, inviolable area has also been established. In these areas, it has become unacceptable to place other designs. Furthermore, the minimum size of the width of the Sophian-kun has been set to 15mm. There are regulations in both colors and monochrome. Also, an image processing application has become necessary for students who want to arrange Sophian-kun by putting clothes on him.
If students or professors would like to use a hand-drawn illustration, they need to submit an application form stating the purpose. In any cases where hand-drawn version has been considered necessary, the use of images will be permitted.
In result of considering accessibility and convenience for students, although the management work of illustration in the Center of Students Affairs has been transferred to the Office of Public Relations, students can still acquire an application at the Center of Students Affairs. However, the Center of Students Affairs is still responsible for the use of Sophian-kun’s costume.
Nao Masuda from the Office of Public Relations concluded that more people can accurately grasp the image of Sophian-kun by the guideline, and hopes it raises public image of Sophia University.
The creation of the guideline of Sophian-kun will clarify whether or not if it is acceptable for students and professors to use Sophian-kun in their daily school life. Although, at the same time, I thought it will make people feel a little hedged in strict rules and that there are still lack of consideration in the rules of using a hand-drawn Sophian-kun.
Recently, there are many things that become famous by fan art rather than through official publicity. Therefore, having too strict rules in the guideline may go against this recent tendency.
Initially, it was hard to believe that there had been no guideline on the use of Sophian-kun before. However, not considering secondary usage (such as fan art) when the guideline was established may make many students at Sophia University have doubts about it.
As Nao Masuda stated “The guideline is the first, so we will try to comply with other requests.”, I can assert that it is important to speak up when students have complaints.