Coding bootcamp rebranded by Fiasco Design to reflects its values of diversity and inclusivity

November 20, 2020

Bristol-based design agency Fiasco has rebranded an award-winning coding bootcamp as it steps up its mission to help to address the gender imbalance in the tech industry and give people the training they need for a career in the sector.

Mayden Academy, which was launched in 2015 by Bath healthcare firm Mayden to train its own developers to sustain its growth, is now known as iO Academy following Fiasco’s rebrand. 

After five successful years the academy’s bosses decided it was time to rebrand. They appointed Fiasco – which was founded in 2010 and has worked on branding and digital projects for the likes of Just Eat, BBC, The National Trust, Penguin Books and Channel 4 – to reposition the academy, reflecting its growth from an idea to solve a talent shortage to an innovative, purpose-driven business with an international reputation.

The aim was for a fresh, future-proof identity that would appeal to a diverse range of prospective students and break down perceptions about the tech industry.

Fiasco Design and Mayden Academy embarked on a full strategic review of the business, assessing its ‘DNA’ and defining its core values and company proposition – it has graduates working in tech companies from Bath to Berlin, a 50:50 ratio of men and women trainers and a strong work ethic towards diversifying the industry and creating an environment that facilitates opportunities for all.

The name iO was arrived at after a series of workshops conducted by Fiasco and Mayden and is a clear nod to coding language – iO is shorthand for input/output in computer programming. 

It is also the name of one of Jupiter’s moons, which according to Fiasco and the academy seemed a good metaphor for the brand’s innovative, future-focussed outlook.

iO growth manager Margaret Davidson said: “Fiasco saw right to the heart of who we are as a brand and came up with a visual identity which we would never have thought of ourselves.

“In particular, what we wanted was to become more attractive and accessible to a wider range of people, with a core focus on diversity and inclusivity. Working as part of a new niche sector within a wider industry that often seems intimidating, this was a challenge.

“Fiasco came up with an approach where we now feel confident that an underpinning of inspiring inclusivity will be clear in everything we do and help us to be part of bringing meaningful change.”

The visual expression for the brand is designed to reflect exploration, harnessing imagination and working towards a better future.

The graphic shapes “give a sense of wayfinding, collecting badges and new skills following a creative pathway”, said Margaret.

“Verbally, the tone is positive, ambitious and empowering, and speaks to the curious and willing.”

Fiasco worked with Belgium-based illustrator Soren Selleslagh to create a suite of illustrations, pictured, to depict aspects of the student journey across the course and into their new careers.

Fiasco Design creative director Ben Steers said: “It’s been fantastic to work with the team at iO and help them towards realising their vision of levelling the playing field within the tech industry by creating a fairer, more diverse community of developers.”

The academy’s work takes place against a backdrop of underrepresentation gap of women in tech, with a string of surveys showing:

  • More than a quarter of women students say that they are put off a career in technology as it’s too dominated by men. (PwC)
  • The UK economy would benefit from an extra £2.6bn a year if the number of women working in tech is increased. (Women in Tech)
  • 83% of millennial British women stated that they actively seek out employers with a strong record on diversity, equality and inclusion. (PwC)
  • Women account for 50% of the UK working age population – but only 16% of IT professionals are women. (BSC)



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