A whimsical, multi-year, multi-channel design project for longtime C&G Partners client Optica, the leading society in optics and photonics science. Loveable Opticat has become the de facto mascot for Optica’s 24,000 members in over 180 countries worldwide. But Opticat isn’t exactly … a typical cat.

In the innovative scientific field of quantum mechanics, the famous thought experiment “Schroedinger’s Cat” proposes a closed box containing a cat and a subatomic particle. If that particle decays, the cat dies. If it does not, it lives. Until the box is opened, we don’t know the fate of the cat.

In quantum terms, this means the cat is simultaneously alive and dead, not one or the other. Schroedinger’s cat is famous to scientists, so Optica members need no introduction. (Reminder: this was a thought experiment, not a real one.)

Optica’s mascot Opticat is therefore two cats at the same time: one alive, the other, not so much. The shape of the eyes, color choice and position are all used at different times to indicate which simultaneous cat is which. Because the mascot isn’t one feline, but a curious pair, it lends itself to unique ways of being applied to merchandise and other mediums. For example, they might appear as a pair (of socks) or as the two sides of something (a pillow) — but never alone.

C&G Partners has designed many different types of merchandise and printed materials featuring this rather atypical cat, which always appears in Optica’s brand colors of purple, black and white.

Simple giveaways in the form of lenticular coasters and laptop stickers have been popular items. In the wider world, a mascot trapped in a box that’s not exactly alive might not seem to have the potential for popularity. But in the world of quantum mechanics, the opposite, perhaps appropriately, is true.

 

When eclipses happen, optics and photonics scientists gather to watch. Opticat keeps everyone from looking directly at the sun, and looks cool in the process (and the shades mean we can’t tell which cat is which).

Cats are famous for chasing laser pointer dots. But this isn’t a normal cat. So in an occasional plot twist, Opticat doesn’t chase lasers, it … shoots them out of its eyes.

Why not?

Opticat has been adopted so thoroughly that even the new employee onboarding process is led by our curious two-sided friend.

Opticat continues. New merchandise, printed materials, animations are made regularly. Some products are expected, but some are out of the (*ahem*) box.

Opticat is one of many projects done by C&G Partners over the years for Optica, including projects when the association was known by its former name, The Optical Society (OSA).

The firm has worked with many other associations and organizations in the realms of science and health, and has done other print and identity projects for clients in many fields.

(But none quite like … Opticat!)