Anyone who is familiar with WordPress knows and loves wapuu, the cutest thing at any WordCamp. By now, there have been many versions of wapuu, each one reflecting unique local stories and cultures. At WordCamp US 2015 in Philadelphia, the Nepali version of wapuu was a huge hit, and so I asked Sakin Shrestha for the story of how ‘Nepuu’ came to be.
The WordPress Community of Nepal is officially the largest and the most active IT group of Nepal. While it was inevitable that there would soon be a wapuu to represent the community, no one had taken the initiative of actually making one.
As WordCamp Nepal 2015 approached, Sakin decided to take the initiative, and came up with an idea to get the ball rolling on a wapuu that will represent Nepal. He shared his vision with his team at Catch Themes. After a discussion on the hows and whats of the wapuu; their creative designer, Pinjal Pradhan, went to work designing a wapuu to represent the community to the world.
Their main approach to its design was to give the original wapuu, a Nepali makeover WITHOUT altering too much. To keep his original cuddliness and warmth, and at the same time, have him radiate a Nepali spirit.
Pinjal was new to the WordPress world so he wasn’t too familiar with wapuu. With Sakin’s guidance, Pinjal studied all previous wapuu designs made by other artists, and available in the wapuu inventory in Github. After extensive research on wapuu and how other illustrators and designers designed their own versions, Pinjal came up with almost a dozen ideas for the Nepali version of wapuu.
He made drafts for a wapuu who was straddling the Dharahara (paying an homage to the recently earthquake-destroyed landmark of the capital city), another was of wapuu; looking from a Tikijhya (an intricately carved traditional window that is an excellent example of Nepali artisans’ skills), another was of Wapuu hand gliding, representing their love of adventure sports. However, the one that won everyone over was wapuu in the national attire, with a Nepali flag.
Stencils made by Pinjal Pradhan
This idea came to Pinjal when he came across works by a senior Nepali artist, Mr. Hari Prasad Sharma. Mr. Sharma is known for his colorful collage of ancient and medieval Kathmandu valley, depicting the rich culture, nature, architecture and lifestyle in his creations. This design was eventually selected because it was generic, in a good way. Since this was the first wapuu from Nepal, the consensus was that a simple design would be the best embodiment of Nepal and its rich culture. When it came to naming, Pinjal aptly named it ‘Nepuu’, a portmanteau of Nepal and wapuu.
The final design – Nepuu
The final product really captures the essence of Nepal. He comes dressed in the national dress of Nepal, Daura Suruwal with Bhaad-gaaule Topi. There’s a cross pin of khukuris, the national weapon of Nepal, on the topi. A gold earring at the top his right ear is seen worn commonly by men in the Kathmandu Valley. Pinjal’s creativity really shines when you see what he has done with the WordPress “W” logo. He has changed the orientation of the “W” to resemble the unique Nepali flag and added the flag’s emblem; the sun and the crescent moon. He has kept the actual colors of the flag for the sphere. Just one glance at Nepuu, and you know that he is from Nepal.
The Catch Themes offices in the Kathmandu Valley is actually home to seven companies that work with WordPress. When they presented this community with the Nepali version of wapuu, everyone was really impressed.
With the hope that others will feel the same, the Nepali WordPress community would like to share ‘Nepuu’ with you.
They would also like to thank the Japanese WordPress community for creating a super cute mascot for WordPress, and give special thanks for making him GPL so that they could create their own and join in the fun.