Branding for award-winning coding academy with inclusivity at its heart.

It’s no great secret that there is a representation gap in the tech community. iO Academy is on a mission to help to address the imbalance within the industry, and give all people the training they need for a career they’ll love. With graduates working in tech companies from Bath to Berlin, a 50:50 ratio of men and women trainers, and creating an environment that facilitates opportunities, iO Academy are driven by a desire to diversify the tech industry.

The academy reached out to us at the start of 2020 with a view to repositioning the company, with a full strategic review of the name, proposition and branding.

We wanted to become more attractive and accessible to a wider range of people, with a core focus on diversity and inclusivity. Working in an industry that often seems intimidating, this was a challenge.
Margaret Davidson, Marketing Manager at iO Academy

Brand Challenge

The Academy – previously Mayden Academy – came to us knowing that their brand identity was out of place with their current position and direction. Having spent time analysing student perceptions and market position they wanted to promote a more inclusive and innovative brand that appealed to prospective students of all genders and backgrounds, breaking down negative perceptions surrounding the industry.

They also wanted to position the brand independently of the parent company – Mayden, from which the company was born.

▲ iO, one of the four moons of Jupiter

Brand name

Following a strategic review of the brand and a series of workshops with the team at Mayden Academy – as well as members of the Mayden team, we established a new brand name; iO Academy.

On the one hand it’s a clear nod to coding language as IO is shorthand for input/output in computer programming. On the other, it’s also the name of one of Jupiter’s moons, which seemed a good metaphor for the brand’s innovative, future-focussed nature.

Brand idea

Based on the Academy’s ambitions to change the industry and a belief that a career for tech is for anyone, we came up with the central idea of ‘Limitless Possibilities’ which would define and inspire the visual language for the brand. 

Coding Academy Branding for iO Academy by Fiasco Design – 'Limitless Possibilities' graphic

Visual identity

The visual identity is designed to reflect exploration, harnessing imagination and working towards a better future. The graphic shapes give a sense of discovery; collecting badges and developing new skills along a creative pathway.

The typography and colour palette is designed to have an inherently digital feel, whilst imbuing a warmth and positivity. Particular focus was also paid to accessibility.

While verbally, the tone is positive, ambitious, empowering, and speaks to the curious and willing.

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What Illustration Can do for Your Brand
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We worked with illustrator Soren Selleslagh, to create a suite of illustrations to depict aspects of the student journey across the course and into their new careers.

Soren’s human-centred approach evokes joy and empowerment through positive representation of all types of people. With a devoted outlook to making meaningful illustrations, this partnership gave the brand identity the visual storytelling elements that demonstrate openness and inclusivity.

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Fiasco saw right to the heart of who we are as a brand and came up with a visual identity and 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.
Margaret Davidson, Growth Manager
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It's really lovely; so fun and happy. It looks like how the Academy makes me feel.
iO Academy student

Illustration of 3 iO characters floating in space. Two of the characters are high fiving. The third is making an OK sign

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