Hi, it’s Ben here, one of the co-founders of Code Camp.
It’s a long post, but I wanted to give you the story behind our crazy decision to refresh the Code Camp brand!
So…. Back in November 2013, Pete and I had an idea;
Could we inspire the next generation of Australian tech superstars?
Well, that is not completely accurate… our idea was simply, could we inspire, engage and teach a single classroom of school kids to build apps! Make a difference to a small group, have a lot of fun… and at the same time, help bootstrap our other tech startups.
We never imagined that just a few years later we’d be running a business with 25 full time, and more than 1,000 casual staff, inspiring tens of thousands of students per year, at more than 150 schools around Australia.
Back in 2013, we had simply decided to give this a shot.
Our focus was, and has always been, to teach kids difficult coding concepts in an engaging, fun and creative format, while providing a real sense of ownership. Providing a tangible outcome that each kid could be proud of – their very own game, from design to code.
So we kicked off…
I sent ridiculous emails to schools (I’ll leave that email to another post one day!)
We brainstormed a number of names (and I still do own way too many terrible domain names), and we finally settled on ‘Code Camp’; simple, to the point, and oh so hard to trademark ????
Next step, we needed a logo to represent our brand…
We used a website called 99designs (a very successful Aussie startup helping democratise design, where you write a brief, offer a reward, and designers from all over the world submit their creations in hope of winning the prize).
Our brief was simple (I mean, this was just a hobby at the time), “Can you turn the ‘O’ and the ‘D’ from ‘Code Camp’ into an infinity symbol?” Because after all, learning to code isn’t about writing code; learning to code is about creating anything you can imagine – creating infinite possibilities. Coding is like digital art and craft, and the impetus to product creation – a real outcome that our kids can download, love, have a sense of ownership over, and be proud of as they use or play.
We found a solution we liked, and we ran with it.
Since then, we’ve manufactured and given away more than 20,000 t-shirts and 20,000 hats displaying our logo and symbol. We’ve seen kids wearing our hats and tees all over Australia, in Bali and Hawaii too, and we regularly receive text messages from our friends, telling us they’ve seen Code Camp merch in the fashion capitals of the world; New York, London and Paris!
At the same time, very early on, we brought on board two unbelieveable co-founders who helped us move from passion project to business. Hayley, who runs our operations and ever increasing staffing and camps team, and Dan, who has put together the most ridiculous tech team who build our internal camps management system ‘Lola’, our magical ‘Code Camp World’, and of course, our much loved Code Camp App Store where kids are downloading their apps as soon as they leave a camp.
Fast forward three years…
In early 2017, we decided it was time to get even more serious. We’re on a mission to make an incredible impact, and it was important to articulate our ‘Why’.
As our team has grown from the four of us, to more than 25 brilliant full time staff, we wanted to make sure our team understood, shared and felt a part of our vision, and were on the same journey. We wanted to make sure that everything we do aligns with our mission to inspire everyday kids to be tech superstars.
We engaged Wordplay Studio to help us…
And oh my, it’s been a long (and exciting) process!
First question from Wordplay, would we be willing to change our logo?
Quite possibly the hardest question we’ve been asked in years!
40,000 pieces of merchandise on the street.
5m banners outside a crazy number of schools.
A warehouse full of tees and hats.
Could we, or would we, change our logo and symbol??
At first, we (or, my co-founders would say I) said absolutely not.
We’d built up so much brand recognition, and have so many kids who we see loving their hats.
Second question, we were asked…
‘What’s our purpose?’
…and how do we scream it – both internally in our office, and externally out to the world?
I mean, we started this business as a hobby.
We’ve always wanted to inspire and empower kids to be creators… but we’d never officially had a written down ‘purpose’…
We decided, if we really were serious about making the largest impact possible, now was the time to articulate our ‘Why’.
Wordplay hosted a couple of offsite workshops.
We identified key values – ‘fun’, ‘innovative’, ‘authentic’, ‘trustworthy’, ‘collaborative’, ‘customer centric’, ‘ownership’ and ‘outcomes driven’.
Long story short, we ended up with a statement that we love…
“Create anything you can imagine”
For kids, that’s apps, websites, business ideas, digital arts and craft, robotics, storytelling and more. Inspiring our kids to become creators and producers, and not just consumers.
Wordplay’s crazy mission then began…
They were set on creating a new logo that would (a) tie in with our new purpose, and (b) inspire us (especially me) to take the leap of faith and go through the re-brand.
Round one was uninspiring and was not going to happen.
So Wordplay upped the ante.
They spent time at ToysRUs, they played all the games and apps 7-13 year olds are obsessed with, they looked at what has worked well for brands targeted a
t both boys and girls, they also attended Code Camps to see how much fun and excitement (and, don’t tell the kids, but learnings too) the kids experienced.
Wordplay came back to us with something totally unique… and we absolutely loved it.
A logo ‘system’ that would allow us to be flexible, creative, fun, unique, and standout from the crowd. We’ve taken a little inspiration from Google’s Doodles, to Create Anything We Can Imagine.
Welcome to our new Code Camp logo.
We cannot wait to explore all the endless creative possibilities of our new branding, and we hope you’re excited too!
New hats, tees, banners, badges, website, and so. much. more. being rolled out soon.
“Create anything you can imagine”