What they came up was more than marketing; it was entertainment. Origin story In the early days of GitHub—before I was hired—the company founders sought to design a fun error page for the site, as was the style at the time. As our artist, Tony Jaramillo, began to plan the figurine design, we had to finally choose a side. Adaptation to the animated world required new adjustments to the Octocat illustration style. The launch of the Octodex set the Octocat brand in motion. When Monalisa was swimming she was so exited she opened her mouth and swouloed a coral that made you grow legs like a octapus but keep your normal face. On the production side, I worked with our artists to change the process for choosing which illustrations to create.

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Even GitHub’s innocent Octocat has a hidden face

I pulled together all of my octoczt and created the Octodexa blog for hosting octocat images. We began to produce stickers, hundreds of each illustration, to hand out at conferences. In the two dimensional world we had intentionally avoided spoiling the mystery.

As our artist, Tony Jaramillo, otocat to plan the figurine design, we had to finally choose a side. The launch of the Octodex set the Octocat brand in motion.

What made her so successful was our willingness and desire to let them call her their own without fear of legal action. Sketch by Tony Jaramillo.

As our team of artists began to experiment with more dynamic variations of the Octocat in their own different, ococat styles I worked with them to define and document the unimpeachable elements and personality that make up the Octocat. As they took over art production, I shifted my focus to the GitHub brand and helping them turn the Octocat into a key component of it.


When describing the generic concept of an octocat or a collection of octocats, the word octocar lowercase. Tony sculpted a five tentacled model that, when viewed from the front, creates a silhouette that resembles the original Octocat shape and closely resembles the negative space in the GitHub mark. So much of trademark law, based ococat tight-fisted intellectual property protection and control, ruins creative work with fine print, confusing legalese, and protection symbols.

I believe that regardless of your side in the argument, the world has only seen the Octocat with five appendages. Knowing that nerds love nothing more than a good pop culture parody, I drew inspiration from two beloved franchises—Star Wars and Wile E. Having found this quality to be detrimental to the likability of other mascots, notably Clippy, I modified our guidelines to require that the Octocat must never speak, instead showing emotion through context, action, and expression.

So Monalisa grew legs and became Mrs. Mingled in with the details like ensuring that the shape of her ears remain intact and the suction cups on her tentacles be visible, we began to elaborate on the character behind the tentacles. While I have regrettably misplaced the original drawings, I did capture them on Instagram years ago. To add more would be something inauthentic and less recognizable. While our animators defined details like using painted backgrounds to help contrast odtocat flat character art style, I encouraged changes like avoiding stereotypically male or female body movements and shapes to keep her relatable broader audiences.

Seeing the success of the error pages, GitHub brought me on full time. Surprising them by agreeing, I wrote a JavaScript library that brought the illustrations to life. As the list of characters grew, I began to desire a public place to post my work. As people discovered favorites within the collection, they began to share links with one another on Twitter and Facebook. We also agreed that the Octocat should always seek to improve the world around her, even if it means a few comical failures along the way.


Octocat – Wikipedia

Looking back, Mona Lisa Octocat became such a popular brand component because of the value people gave her as an extension of themselves. In the clamor for stickers and new designs, I noticed that people began to gravitate toward specific illustrations. With so many of them asking for stickers, how could we say no?

I began to illustrate octocats for slide decks, blog posts, meet-up tickets, and even fake money for events. In that love, she wrote us a story. I designed octocats for our support page, for our on-premises product installer, in the likeness of GitHubbers, and made a few requested by users.

The Octocat—a nerdy household name

The Octocat represents the makers, the hackers, the unbreakable spirit of scrappy software developers. She is a universally likable any-person in whom people who use GitHub can see themselves.

We also began to prioritize more broadly relatable, every-person characters that represented different genders, cultures, occupations, and interests. While it was certainly easy to see octofat the Octocat would make good merchandise, octocag was impossible to ignore the GitHub fans demanding that we create and sell items in our shop.

The octocat captured in this time lapse screencast, the Codercat, took about six hours.