by Ben Usher-Smith, #wcedin graphic design lead
All the best characters have great back stories and the Wappuunicorn is no exception, from his multi-coloured WordPress Orb of Web-Platform Power to his magical mono horn.*
A wapuu, of course, is the mascot of WordCamps. Every WordCamp around the world creates their own, usually with good local humour. (For more on Wapuus read here).
Last month, when we confirmed WordCamp for Edinburgh 2017, we felt it was time to retire our 2015 mascot, brave little Jimmy Wapuu (AKA Edinburgh Wapuu.)
Wee Jimmy Wapuu is currently at home with The People’s Friend.
He was still full of life but his bagpipes were oot of tune. So we would replace him with a new mascot.
In a range of discussions which toed the fine line between cultural appropriation and copyright lawsuits waiting to happen, Salt and Sauce Wapuu was discussed, along with Irn-Bru Wapuu, Forth Rail Bridge Wapuu, and even a Begbie Wapuu amongst many others.
Unbeknown to the WordCamp organising team…
That day, a short distance away in the dark damp cavernous vaults beneath Edinburgh’s Old Town, an ancient orb sprung to life.
NO NOT THAT ORB
The orb that had been dormant for centuries glowed in glorious rainbow technicolour, and from it sprung the Wapuunicorn.
Summoned by the organising team’s frustrations
it projected its image into our minds.
It then made ready for the great gathering of minds known simply as ‘WordCamp Edinburgh 2017’.
An initial sketch after my first Wapuunicorn vision.
After discussion (and possible magical intervention) it was unanimously decided that the resplendent Wapuunicorn, saviour of the Scots and champion of all the peoples of the web, would be our mascot.
The back story on the back story
Why a Unicorn?
The Unicorn is Scotland’s national animal. The Scottish Celtic forefathers believed that unicorns symbolised the spirit of purity.
According to folklore, the lion and the unicorn hate each other, but we shan’t dwell on this fact (see ‘What’s with the multi-coloured orb?’ later in this article).
A description by 17th century Scottish writer John Guillim makes the Unicorn sound quite formidable …
‘The greatness of his mind is such that he rather chooseth to die than be taken alive; wherein the Unicorn and valiant-minded soldier are alike, which both contemn death, and rather than they will be compelled to undergo any base servitude or bondage they will lose their lives’
What’s with the multi-coloured orb?
The multi-colour orb is representative of our multi-coloured world. It’s meaning is as multi-layered as it is multi-coloured. Whether that’s the mime of the mythical web worker who can wrangle the tasks of a UX Designer/Architect, Visual Designer and Developer.
Or, whether that’s celebrating the wider and more important diversity of mankind.
Wapuunicorn has got you covered.
Unicorns have been mascots since at least the Romans. And, over the centuries their appearance and traits have had modifications and ‘upgrades’.
For those attending WordCamp Edinburgh next month look out for this latest incarnation: Wapuunicorn.
*(meanwhile at WordCamp Central: “Wait, ‘magical mono horn’? Orb? And what the heck is The People’s Friend?!”)