I'm looking at the idea of creating a brand(or system) persona for the application I am working on.

After reading the book 'Designing for Emotion'(and the corresponding list apart article) by Aarron Walter, I think it would be highly beneficial to have a system persona to refer to throughout the lifecycle of a project.

In his piece he talks about creating a persona for Mail Chimp and provides a really nice, but not overly detailed, template. He mentions:

Brand Traits | Personality Map | Voice | Visual Lexicon | Engagement Methods

I think, in some ways, having a tangible mascot such as Mail Chimp makes the whole process a little easier than creating one for a business app (which is closer to what I'm doing).

I am having trouble sourcing any decent articles/research on system personas - be it websites, articles, books etc.

What research is out there to show what makes an effective persona?

2 Answers 2


A brand is basically a persona by definition. It's how you want your product/service/company to be portrayed to the public/customer. You don't need a mascot to do that...merely a brand statement of sorts.

The simplest place to start, IMHO, is to start a list of adjectives and adverbs describing your products objective. Fun vs. serious. Casual vs. formal. Etc.


Persona creation has always been difficult for me. I found the best way is for me to find actual people in my target areas, interview them, and use that data to create my fictional personas.

I created a persona questionnaire in Google Docs using common categories I found in my persona research. I have used this to collect information on users in phone interviews that I could then crunch down into a useful persona. The actual persona would never use all of this info, just the relevant stuff, and would always be compiled as a made up person, not their real contact info.

The fantastic part of this is that any information inserted into this questionnaire, whether from yourself or someone you have sent it to, is saved in a nice spreadsheet. You can build a good arsenal of persona data to use as inspiration.

Feel free to use it for ideas!


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