A few weeks ago, we introduced the latest of our DIY kits, the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, and much like me, lots of you got very excited!
As a recent starter in the Kano team myself, I was keen to learn what goes into making a Kano product and thought you might be too - so in a three-part series of blog posts, I’ll be taking you into the studios, and workshops at Kano to meet some of the people who help to develop and design our kits, and to find out how they took the entire Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit experience from concept to reality.
In part 1, I met Bruno in the product development workshop and learned all about the process and creation of the coding wand.
This week, I'm heading over to the creative team's studio to catch up with our Creative Director Aaron, and find out how his team created the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit experience.
Chris: Everything I've seen of the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit so far has looked fantastic. From the physical hardware, to the software, the packaging, the advertising, and the marketing content. How involved is the creative team with each of those areas?
Aaron: Very nice of you to say!
As a creative team, we work with the product, content, and marketing teams to deliver the very best experience possible.
To achieve that, we're involved in the branding, messaging, and creative direction of every step in the customer's journey - from the very first advert that that they see, to the upload of their 100th creation to Kano World.
With the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit, that's meant being both in tune with the rules and aesthetics of the Harry Potter franchise, and of Kano. Ensuring that each is represented correctly, without one engulfing, or obscuring the other - the heart and soul of Kano has to be obvious, as does the magic and mystery of the Wizarding World.
Chris: When it comes to creating a product that sits in the balance between the worlds of Kano, and Harry Potter, where do you start?
Aaron: We started out by following our collective passion as fans - watching the movies, reading the books, visiting the studios, looking at all the sets, costumes and props, and getting our hands on lots and lots of merchandise from the Wizarding World.
To get a feel for how the two worlds might interact, we took all the characters, the objects, the locations, the creatures, and designed them in the Kano style. And then started creating stories and concepts that they fit into, from rogue wandmakers, to a technological "muggle" wand that had found its way into he world of magic.
As we got deeper and deeper into some quite complex ideas and stories, we started to lose elements that made them easily identifiable as a Kano product.
So we took a step back, and thought about what was really important to us - an experience where you learn by making a kit, and being creative with it.
With that thought in mind, we worked to create things that we, as fans, wanted to play with - locations, objects, creatures, spells. And developed a creative experience around them, that allowed you to have fun coding in a familiar Kano way, whilst waving, twisting, and twirling your coding wand.
Ultimately creating a product that makes sense to you whether you're a Kano fan, or a Harry Potter Fan, and introduces you to both in a fun and accessible way.
Chris: I've been exploring the Kano interpretation of the Wizarding World over the last few weeks, having a lot of fun, and learning how to code - so the objective was definitely achieved!
Being a huge Harry Potter fan, who's joined Kano at the point where the product ready to play with, there's not a part of the kit that I don't find exciting.
As someone who's been very close to to the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit from the very early concept stages, now that we're a few days before launch, what excites you the most about it?
Aaron: The whole team has worked really hard to create a Kano Kit inspired by the Wizarding World, that's stocked to the brim with artefacts and locations loved by Harry Potter fans.
I'm excited to see what those fans do with the tools that we've created. I'm hoping for crazy, whacky, nutty things. People having fun, exploring, creating stories of their own, and then sharing them on Kano World.
It's also going to be cool to see avatars in Kano World decked out with clothing and objects from the Wizarding World. No two are going to be the same. It's going to be magical!
Chris: Fantastic! I can't wait to see my first invisibility cloak... ;-)
Thanks to Aaron and the creative team for taking us inside their studio and talking us through the journey to the Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit - join me next time, when I'll be chatting with the software development team, and finding out how you can code your own on-screen magic!