WordCamp 2015: Creating the Manchester Wapuu

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

Time to read: 5 minutes

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. WordPress if you haven’t heard of it, is responsible for over a quarter of all new sites on the web. As a CMS, WordPress has rapidly increased in popularity and is often our platform of choice. WordCamp told me to create a Manchester Wapuu for WordCamp 2015;  I was ‘proper chuffed’.

wapuu 2015 manchester WordPress Experts

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 could they 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 but the worker bee is the 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 on about bees a little too much.

Wapuu & WordPress

Many of our clients’ projects are proudly powered by WordPress. For many websites, its an obvious and fitting choice of 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 dedicated to keeping its design and code up to date. So, that’s what WordCamp Manchester is all about. Read the post about the event here

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

As Mancunians, what is more fitting than a bee? Did 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!

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. Originally coined 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. So why not look at what’s happening in your own 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 the first store was built 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 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! So hopefully my little dude will ‘bee’ as popular as some of his friends.

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, ran by design expert Andi Wilkinson & Ex-Googler Ben Tennant. We advise businesses on all things digital 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 UK 30 Google Partner agencies to attend Google’s elite coaching programme ‘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. 

For some top-notch quality marketing, without all the mystery, talk to us today! 


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