Surprisingly, many new Nutcase helmet buyers don’t know about the origami surprise in every helmet box – the punch-out squirrel mascot we fondly call “Punchy.”

Punchy’s design is the result of the Nutcase creative team wanting to make sure unpacking our helmets is as fun as wearing them.

Before the release of our Gen3 helmet line, Nutcase co-founder Miriam Berman had the idea to make use of the ‘cut-out’ that is included in each helmet box. The cut-out is extra cardboard resulting from our open package design that allows a full view of the helmet’s visual appeal, and Berman didn’t want it to go to waste.

Artist Ray Moore with Punchy.

Artist Ray Moore with Punchy.

Inspired by a line of punch-out animal postcards she discovered in a museum gift shop in Zurich, Berman thought a squirrel would be the perfect in-the-box pet for Nutcase.

Thus, starting with the Gen3 helmet release, we started to put a squirrel cut-out in every box, and this squirrel became known as Punchy. If you turn over that cardboard insert, which has helmet fitting instructions on one side, you’ll notice the pieces of Punchy ready for decoration and assembly.

Over time, Punchy has developed a loyal following, and has inspired creative decoration contests and  a steady flow of helmet + Punchy selfies on Instagram (keep ’em coming!). At this year’s Eurobike Punchy even got a special miniature helmet designed by Artists Series’ artist Todd Standish, and was seen making monetary contributions to our partner World Bicycle Relief’s good works.

We think the comments of this recent helmet-buying mom are a perfect example of why we created Punchy, and why we try to keep it fun here at the Nutcase HQ.

“I finally got my kids new Gen3 helmets, and I wish I could have recorded my 13-year-old son Peter’s reaction when I showed him the squirrel in the package. ‘That’s just what I want from a company,’ he said. ‘Not something boring like here is the safety information, but something so totally random and awesome.’ He is now decorating his squirrel.”

p.s. Though Punchy will always be our first mascot, at Nutcase we are working on new punch-out origami animals for our boxes.