Wapuu Design for WordCamp Atlanta 2019

I am pleased to have had the opportunity to design the Wapuu for this year’s WordCamp Atlanta. Thanks to Diana Nichols and Kathy Drewien for roping me into it!

Wapuu Design for WordCamp Atlanta 2019

I want to share some of the design process for arriving at this little guy. But first, here’s a little background for the uninitiated.

What is a Wapuu?

The Wapuu is essentially a mascot for WordPress. It’s supposed to appear inviting and make web development seem more accessible. According to wapu.us:

This cute little Japanese monster had its start in 2009 at the WordCamp Tokyo after-party. Matt Mullenweg asked Japanese users for ideas to promote WordPress in Japan. One suggestion was to make a mascot in Japan for WordPress.

Once unveiled, the Wapuu mascot grew in popularity. Now, meetups, conferences, and brands within the WordPress community create their own Wapuus.

The Atlanta Wapuu Design Process

The theme of this year’s conference is “Tech City South”, but we decided it would be a good idea to create a Wapuu design that would represent Atlanta more generally, as opposed to the conference specifically, and could be re-used for future WordCamps in Atlanta.

First Round of Sketches

Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 1a)
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu, including Phoenix Wapuu, Wapuu in Pheonix Costume, Peach Loving Wapuu, Peanut Loving Wapuu, and Rad Street Artist Wapuu.
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 1b)
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu, including Chill Street Artist Wapuu, Atlanta United Wapuu, Cyber Wapu 5000, Kaiju Wapuu, Wapuu Injected with Peach DNA, and Wapuu in Peach Costume.

After discussing these sketches with Diana and Kathy, we decided to try and take this in a more peach direction. However, Diana and Kathy also liked the Phoenix Wapuu and the Kaiju Wapuu, so I decided to try and explore those designs further.

Second Round of Sketches

Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 2a)
From the second round of sketches, including Peach Loving Wapuu, Street Artist Wapuu, and various combinations of hats.
Original sketches for the Atlanta Wapuu (version 2b)
From the second round of Wapuu sketches, including Phoenix Wapuu in various forms, some kind of borg-peach, and a new Kaiju Wapuu hugging an ATL.

Everyone’s favorite ended up being the Kaiju Wapuu hugging the “ATL”, so I’m glad I decided to keep working on that idea!

Vector Illustration of Wapuu Design

After selecting an idea, the next step was to create a polished, vector version of the illustration. Once I completed the vector version of the Wapuu, it became a lot easier to iterate through different color variations.

Kaiju Wapuu with Dope Color Palette
Kaiju Wapuu with Warm Color Palette
Kaiju Wapuu with Square Color Palette

My personal favorite was the “dope palette”, but we were having trouble selecting one to use. Then we had the realization that the Wapuu should employ the color palette of this year’s WordCamp, allowing a revised Wapuu to be created every year with the new palette.

So, I updated the color palette, added the year “2019” onto the ATL blocks, and an annual Wapuu template was born.

Wapuu Design for WordCamp Atlanta 2019

Enamel Pins of Wapuu Design

James Tryon from wapu.us helped us put together the enamel pin order. Thanks, James!

Enamel Pin Print Layout for WordCamp Atlanta 2019 Wapuu

And here are the completed pins:

Enamel Pins for WordCamp Atlanta 2019 Wapuu

Conclusion

I committed the design to the Wapuu API on GitHub. You can find the Atlanta Wapuu specifically in this repo.

If you’d like to see more of my illustration work, check out these other projects I have worked on.

Interested in working on an illustration project with me? Let’s talk!