inPHPinityHow to make an elePHPant generation

(15/11/2022) This page is a draft. Expect some updates.

In case of emergency, contact us directly.

Table of content

  • Why doing an elePHPant generation
  • Preparing for an elePHPant generation
  • Folklore of the elePHPant generation
  • Miscellaneous info


Why doing an elePHPant generation?

Here are some questions and pre requisite you need to address before starting doing an elephpant generation. No involvment yet (this is the next section), and a lot of fun imagining what it could be.

What is an elephpant generation

An elephpant generation is a batch of elePHPant, the PHP plush toy. The batch has to be 300 or more to be considered a generation, and remembered as this. That way, it means that the elephpant is accessible to the larger PHP community.

A generation of elephpant has a PHPather and/or a Phpother. It also has a prototype (see later), which will be known as the first elephpant of the generation. The first elephpant might have slightly distinctive features, compared to the rest of the generation : it is still part of it.

Values of the elephpant

The value of the elephpant is the reason that motivate its generation. Let’s be frank : having a plush toy, however cute it is, is not life achievement. And, indeed, elephpants have had various purposes.

Here are a few of them :

  • Proof of love for the PHP language and its community
  • To celebrate the last PHP version
  • Raise money for a specific goal
    • To bring more diverse crowds to conferences
    • To help promote women in the community
    • To rent buses and drive attendees to a common event
    • To finance a local user group
  • To promote a piece of software, an event, a company, a newspaper
  • To reward students who achieved their diploma
  • To hire PHP developers
  • To bring the tech department behind a common value
  • [your story] …

Take into account that elephpants are easily recognized as the PHP elephpant. It is best to have a significant relationship with the technology.

Art of the elePHPant

Colors, nails and the logo side

The most classic elephpant is the (official) blue elephpant, with the PHP logo on the left side, so as to ressemble as much as possible as the PHP logo and the 2D elephpant from Vincent Pontier.

The simplest form of customization is to choose a different color for the elephpant fur, and its toe nails. With a little help from a local designer, it is possible to take a picture of an elephpant, check various colors and choose the one that works the best with design specs.

As of today, all the colors of the rainbow have been already used : red, orange, yellow, white, black, grey, pink, blue, green, etc. White and blue are the most common, and green is the least common.

The left side of the elephpant is traditionaly used to add a logo. The logo is stitched, and made of thread : this means that the logo should be simple, and the number of colors should be kept to a minimum. One or two colors are nice, more may raise the price of the elephpant.

The exact color, the size of the fur is usually left to the factory to choose. They might be different from the requested colors, so check those at prototype time.


For the most adventurous of us, accessories and advanced features are possible. Simply keep in mind that they will definitely raise the price and the minimum quantity of elephpant to produce. Yet, there are some room for special features. Here are some ideas :

  • Pointy ears, for the Spoky elephpant
  • Tusk and long fur for Molly, the mammoth
  • Glasses for Zend elephpant
  • Hat for the PHP Yorkshire elephpant
  • Long hair on the head for the PHP Storm elephpant
  • Half colors elephpant with

Artistic review

Elephpants have to be reviewed by Vincent Pontier. This is a kind review, aiming at keeping the family of elephpants sharing the same DNA, and family traits. For example, the PHP logo is always on the left side of the elephpant, to be similar to the logo.

That stage is quite simple : send a mail to Vincent, with a quick description of your intended design. When your elephpant is in the right spirit, his review keept it all.

Preparing for an elePHPant generation

This section deals with the realities of making an elephpant generation. Once you have secured the questions of the previous chapter, it is time to make it a reality. This comes with hard question, like money, custom certification or where the hell will I store so many plush toys.

Make sure to read the previous chapter first, as this is the non-fun part, with all the potential deal breakers.

Who to ask about an elephpants generation

It is a good idea to get in touch with some people that will help you shape up the generation. They can share experience, recommendations and answer specific wishes.

  • Vincent Pontier (@elroubio)
  • Damien Seguy, (@faguo)
  • Manuel Lemos, (@mlemos)


Creating a generation from scratch takes about 6 months (six). This is quite a process, and it will probably be faster than that. Yet, it is recommended to start planning with such a calendar.

Here are the various steps that you may encounter along the way. Good news, you’re already in the first one!

  • Prepare the art of the elephpant
  • Check your target audience and size the generation
  • Secure the budget
  • Make a prototype
  • Validate prototype and start production
  • Tease the community with the prototype
  • Finish paiment for production
  • Wait for delivery
  • Receive elephpants and celebrate
  • Ship elephpants to their new families

Size of the generation

The size of a generation is important : so far, 300 elephpants are the lowest minimum to reach a production level.

The next important threshold is 1000, where that particular generation is allowed to make the big elephpants. Also, unit price gets lower at that level, and is probably the most interesting.

Larger generations of elephpants are possible, yet rare. The record is currently of 6000 in one batch.

The size of the generation is important for the budgeting part (see next section), but also for the storage of the elephpants, once they are delivered. Each group of 50 elephpants makes a box, and 8 boxes makes a cubic meter : 1m x 1m x 1m. It looks small, but this means quite a lot of place.


Budget is quite straightforward when the generation has been sized. Simple, yet not easy.

The figure that are offered here are based on estimates, and in July 2022. Use them when working on the idea, but always check them with the actual production site, as they are subjects to fluctuation, including inflation, custom fees, labor easy, international shipping and insurance, exchange rate, etc.

Elephpants cost estimation is about 15 euros/USD each, all included. This estimate covers production, royalty fees, shipping by boat, toy certication (Europe CE); it is for normal sized elephpant (aka, not the big ones). It is a good figure for budgeting.

Small elephpants batches starts at 300 (three hundreds), and the largest batch ever was 6000 (six thousands). Unit price decreases with the size of the order, and the budget always grow : in case of doubt, stick to a smaller batch.

Large elephpants batches need a 1000 elephpant order, and may be made by unit. Each is about 100 euros/USD each.


Shipping is usually offered by boat or by air. Air shipping is a lot faster, but also a lot more expensive. Given the timeline, it is usually worth waiting a few weeks more and get the elephpants in a cheaper and greener way.


Elephpants are produced to meet the certifications of any world market, in particular the European market (CE marking) and the north american markets. The certification and custom process is part of the shipping, so they are delivered with the valid custom review.

Once inside a country, the elephpants may be shipped again anywhere within that country, or any other country with which there is a trade agreement : once the elephpant have been cleared, they are cleared for all commercial partners. This applies with the EC.

If part of the elephpant generation has to be dispatched to a remote destination, the same certification process may be required. This is in particular true for large orders : customs will want to see the certification profile again.

As for that, it is possible to request for a separate certification at the factory level. This will come as an extra set of document, which, in turn, may be transmitted to any authority. This will save the process of certifying again the elephpant, after the delivery.

Shipping the elephpants

Folklore of the elePHPant generation

A large part of making an elephpant generation lies in the folklore around it. Planning it, making it, receiving them and shipping them is a long process, with its own specific silly traditions. Here are some of them.


In English, the same word is used for both assisting baby birth and reception of goods : delivery. So, an elephpant generation has a date delivery to the happy Phpathers and PHPothers : by extension, this is the date the elePHPants are born.

PHParents : PHPathers and PHPothers

Just like elePHPant is build as a porte-manteau from elephant and PHP, a wide range of words are porte-manteau-ed the same way in the PHP world : P’s and F’s are replaced by PHP, leading to a new, strange yet vaguely familiar word.

This applies to the family : whoever is taking responsability of the

The first elephpant

The first elephpant goes by the name of ‘Trisaïeul’, a French word meaning great-great-grand-parent. Although, this first elephpant also goes as the ‘grand-father of all elephpants’. Also noteworthy : there are currently over 50 elephpants generations, which would make that name a long long repetition of ‘great’.

The elePHPant mother

Elephpants are known to have one great-grand-father, aka Trisaïeul, the first elephpant ever. NO ONE asks who was the partner of that first elephpant, carrying about 6000 cubs in one pregnancy : just NO ONE.

Dedicated elephpants

Each generation may dedicate elephpants to some outstanding members of the community. For example, the first generation of elephpant was offered to the members of the PHP group, in 2006. Nowadays, Release Master get a PHP 8 inphpinty elephpant, as a token of gratitude.

Vincent Pontier is requesting 3 elephpants for his own museum.

Besides the last one, there are no special rules to distribute the elephpants : they may be

Unloading the elephpants

The delivery of elephpant is an important moment. There are several large and cumbersome boxes to take out of a truck, and store them in a dry and safe place.

It is a tradition to bring everyone involved in a PHP generation to help unload the boxes. It comes from the first delivery of elephpants, where 54 boxes where unloaded by thrown them from one to the other. Even with the right rythm, it ended in a messy pile of card boards.

Later, several generations where unloaded manually, with everyone remotely involved with PHP giving a hand. The legendary level was when the delivery truck parked next to the warehouse, but 60 developers showed up to help. In the end, they lined up across the parking, and the elephpants boxes went the really long way into the warehouse. Also, it rained, that day.

Of course, there may also be a warehouse dock and a forklift available, and it will do the job fast and clean. It’s just not fun, but go ahead.

Washing the elephpants

It is possible to wash the elephpants, using every day appliance. Make sure to use a very gentle washing program, and low temperature.

Also, after drying, you may have to work the plush inside the elephpant to spread it around its body : no need to open the sewings, pressing and massaging the content from the outside is sufficient. Long, but sufficient.

Customizing further the elephpants

Once the elephpant have been delivered, they might be further processed. Being material and thread, it is possible for a skilled couturier or seamstress to add extra features, or an accessory.

By experience, it becomes quickly an expensive endeavour, as each of the elephpant has to be processed manually. Besides, even if they are industrially produced, their plush and fabrics nature makes them all distinct.

Simple operations, such as adding a sticker on the elephpant, or pairing it with a hat are possible and reasonable.

Shipping the elephpants

Miscellaneous info

elePHPants and elePHPants

ElePHPants actually have two meaning :

  • The original drawing by Vincent Pontier, and all its derivatives
  • The plush toy elePHPant, based on Vincent Pontier drawing, and produced by Damien Seguy.

Although both notions are close, they are two distinct art productions.

Special cases and accomodations

Of course, each elephpant generation is different, and may be prepared in a slightly different way from the others. Half production by boat, and half by plane? Biological fur or multi-colored toe-nail? Each in a box or all under a vacuum ? Local factory or remote one? Extra certifications ?

While this guide get you through a lot of details, some of those have to be discussed directly with Vincent Pontier or the production facility. Some are possible, others cost more and some are not possible : if you have a special idea for your elephpant, come and discuss it, we’ll do our best to have it done or find an alternative.