WordCamps & WordPress Made By Factory. WordPress Development Agency
Andonette Wilkinson
August 15, 2017

Creating the Manchester Wapuu

What’s a WordCamp, you say? WordCamps are locally organised conferences that cover everything WordPress related and are attended by everyone from WordNoobs to experts, creators, & contributors. If you haven’t heard of it, WordPress is responsible for over a quarter of all new sites on the web. WordPress has rapidly increased in popularity as a CMS and is often our platform of choice. WordCamp told me to create a Manchester Wapuu for WordCamp 2015;  I was ‘proper chuffed’.

Wapuu 1 | Creating The Manchester Wapuu

Wap-who? Why make a Manchester Wapuu?

So who is Wapuu? Understandably he came from Japan. When Co-Founder Matt Mullenweg visited the Japanese WordPress community in 2009, and they asked whether they could create a mascot – Matt agreed, but in the true spirit of WordPress, it had to be under the GPL licence and Open Source. All original credit goes to illustrator Kazuko Kaneuchi. Since then, Wapuu has often been the mascot of many WordCamps & he has started to represent many countries, so to me, it was a great honour to make one!

WordCamp asked me to create a Manchester Wapuu Character, so immediately, the humble bee sprung to mind. Not everyone knows this. Still, the worker bee is part of the heraldry of Manchester, appearing on the coat of arms. You will also find bees tiled into the floor of the town hall & often appear on lampposts, bridges & even bins. Of course, most people will know them from the tins of Manchester’s famous ale: Boddingtons. The bees signify the hard work & industriousness of Mancunians at that time; the hive of activity the city was during this era & continues to be to this day. Everyone who knows me knows I am a proud Manchester lass, so sorry if I’m buzzing about bees.

Buy stickers

Wapuu & WordPress

Many of our clients’ projects are proudly powered by WordPress. For many websites. It’s an obvious and fitting choice for a content management system. WordPress currently powers over 25% of new websites launched.

WordPress is the most popular CMS on the market. Many people don’t know that WordPress is a whole community of people. People are dedicated to keeping its design and code up to date. That’s what WordCamp Manchester is all about.

So, the WordPress community love to get together at WordCamps. WordCamps are run entirely by volunteers from the WordPress Community. We volunteered to help with design and branding.

As Mancunians, what is more fitting than a bee? Dd, you know that the worker bee represents the hardworking spirit of the industrial North. You can find it on our lamp posts and all around the city. It’s even on the town hall floor. In 2018 We had a trail of bee monuments around the city that some might recall.

Our Humble Wapuu is based on the iconic Manchester Worker Bee, representing the hard work of the industrial North.

Why do we have a Manchester Wapuu?

Now, many WordCamps love to use Wapuu as their mascot. It was coined initially in Japan by  Kazuko Kaneuchi for WordCamp Fukuoka. The flumpy little creature sports a variety of mascots all over the world.

Our Manchester Wapuu Bee is still a favourite and is a collectable pin. Why not look at what’s happening in your community and get yourself along to a WordCamp? We have attended a few now and learn new stuff every time!

A Co-operative hive

Interestingly for any Rochdalians reading this article, you will know that it is the home and birthplace of the Co-op. When they built the first store in 1867, it featured a beehive & this became a subsequent trend for new cooperative buildings, so the links are very strong. With this in mind, I felt it was fitting to incorporate the bee into Wapuu for WordCamp Manchester 2015. The upside-down W is to signify Manchester, and the Manchester WordPress User Group (MWUG) also adopted this.

Another cool thing about Manchester is that Mike Little, WordPress’ other co-founder, resides here. I caught up with Mike to ask what he thought of my Manchester Wapuu. He loved it and reminded us to submit it back to the archives! Hopefully, my little dude will ‘bee’ as popular as some of his friends.

Wordcamp00003 | Creating The Manchester Wapuu
Img 3437 | Creating The Manchester Wapuu
Wordcamp00002 | Creating The Manchester Wapuu

The Unofficial WordPress Wapuu Fan Club
Wikipedia: Symbols of Manchester
Creative Tourist: Tour of Manchester – The Bees, The Bees!

We are Made By Factory. An award-winning digital agency in Manchester, Greater Manchester, run by design expert Andi Wilkinson & Ex-Googler Ben Tennant. We advise businesses on digital things, including Google Ads & have run workshops with The Business Growth Hub, Google & Enterprise Nation. It’s our mission to help businesses grow online.

We were selected in 2017 as one of the 30 UK Google Partner agencies to attend Google’s elite coaching programme ‘Google Elevator’ and one of a select cohort of agencies with high growth potential to take part in the Business Growth Hub’s Greater Connected programme. 

Talk to us today for top-notch marketing advice without all the mystery! 

Andonette Wilkinson

Creative Director of Made By Factory. UX Designer & SEO Nerd, Andi is also a a keen member of Neurodiversity in Business, Former board member Manchester Digital and speaks and writes on a variety of web-related topics.