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UC Alum Designs Mascots for World Choir Games

UC graphic design alum Davis Stanard won the competition to design mascots – "Whirl" and “Twirl” – for the ongoing 2012 World Choir Games.

Date: 7/11/2012
By: M.B. Reilly
Phone: (513) 556-1824
Photos By: Davis Stanard
"I’ll be the first to buy stuffed Whirl and Twirl dolls.”

Whirl mascot
Whirl mascot for the World Choir Games.

So said University of Cincinnati design alumnus Davis Stanard, principal with Stanard Design Partners, and the winning designer of the mascots for the World Choir Games, the largest international choir competition, now taking place in Cincinnati.   

The mascots, Whirl and Twirl, are, of course, playful, whimsical and eye catching.

But, perhaps their real appeal to trained designers is how their imagery integrates with the history of the City of Cincinnati and the brand of the prestigious World Choir Games, which has drawn visitors and competitors from 70 countries.

Stated Stanard, “In terms of designing the mascots, I definitely took the client’s brand into consideration. I had to integrate appeal and playfulness, the hallmarks of any mascot, while also making them a sub-brand for the games. That’s the way I deliberately thought about it and the likely reason why Whirl was chosen as the winner in the mascot competition.” (Twirl, a feminine mascot, was subsequently developed after the original, open competition for a World Choir Games’ mascot resulted in Whirl being selected as the winner.)

Twirl mascot
Twirl mascot for the World Choir Games.

Stanard listed the several ways that Whirl and Twirl reflect both the World Choir Games and the City of Cincinnati.
  • Whirl’s and Twirl’s over-sized crowns, the mascots’ most prominent features, derive from Cincinnati’s sobriquet as “Queen City of the West.”
  • The triangles that formulate the “tips” of the crown points also reflect the pyramid shapes that are part of the brand identity of the choir games.
  • Whirl and Twirl each hold a microphone wherein the “bulb” of the device is clearly a globe. Said Stanard, “Whirl and Twirl are literally singing to the world, reflecting the global stage that Cincinnati is during the games.”
  • The colors for Whirl and Twirl also reflect the brand colors of the games.
  • Even the mascots’ names – Whirl and Twirl – are reflective of the World Choir Games’ logo, which appears to spin and whirl.
Stanard, a 1998 UC graphic design graduate, worked on the mascot project for several months. His wife and partner in their design practice, Cynthia Stanard, also a 1998 graphic design graduate and an adjunct instructor in UC’s internationally ranked School of Design, also submitted a mascot design to the World Choir Games’ mascot competition. Her design was a finalist in the contest.
Davis and Cindy Stanard at work in studio.
Davis and Cindy Stanard at work in studio.



Whirl and Twirl were publicly introduced on July 11, 2011, on Cincinnati’s Fountain Square.

According to Davis Stanard, “It was great to see the mascots as real physical presences coming to life and dancing on stage... ." And now, to see their faces on pins, t-shirts and other items.