AI or Man’s Best Friend?

a doggy avatar for a clever crossword app

Perhaps you remember the insistent paperclip character in MS Word, around the time of the millennium bug. It was the first AI avatar that I remember (techies will shudder at the suggestion of actual AI in this context… whatever) and pretty much an object lesson on how not to do it.

I was asked to design a character to personify the AI for a cryptic crossword app. We started off with humans, and via robots we ended with Ross the clever dog – a regular looking dog with nerdy glasses. But the AI really is clever, and by association so is Ross.

I made 8 animated sequences of Ross expressing different attitudes which are called by the app depending on the user’s choices.

Later the client came back wanting a video, which turned out OK. If you’ve ever been intrigued by cryptic crosswords but put off by their impenetrability, watch the video. This could be the app for you.


  • Unlikely AI


  • Character design
  • Animation assets production
  • Video production