Below are the mage hats from Round 1. To refresh your memory, this is a challenge I decided on since it seems so many Dragon Age fans are unhappy with the mage hats. I have a sneaking suspicion the artists just decided to run with goofy mage hats at some point, since the ones in upcoming Inquisition are just fabulously over the top (from what I can tell). Although the hood seems to be the favored mage gear, I initially went with magic and ritualism as it has existed throughout history -- the idea that certain plants, animals, or even colors hold properties or symbolize protection, strength, etc.
Here are the hats from Round 1.
I asked friends, many of them artists and designers, and fans of games, to vote and comment on the hats. Non-gamers tended to favor the aesthetics of the green hat with the horns, while gamers (who already had a bias towards what mage hats "should" look like) preferred instead the purple and orange hats, often citing that they looked more like the traditional mage hat (though they did seem to like mage hat 1 a lot as well).
I took the feathers from hat 2, the excess of gold adornment from all three, and the general shape of the twin gold pieces in hat 3. These were the favored elements of each hat. There are mini horns on the green hat below to honor hat 1 from round 1 since so many people had liked them (myself included)! I created three new hats, which will undergo more voting and commentary. Each hat below took 15 - 20 minutes to design and create.
Personally I think these are a lot stronger, and I imagine they'll get better. I will do at least one more round after the voting.
The Mage Hat challenge model is Morrigan, of the Dragon Age games.
It just occurred to me that I ought to make a male face to pop into the hats to see if it is as successful as some of these ideations. Next time I update on the Mage Hat design challenge, we'll see that as well!