Canada Turns 150

En Français

Recently, CBC.ca published an article showcasing and exploring five logos currently in development by the Federal Government for the country’s 150th anniversary, via a report prepared for the Department of Canadian Heritage.

As a Graphic Designer that has been working in the field of Design for 14 years, I was appalled by the quality and standard of the designs being presented. That sentiment was also shared by many other Designers like myself.

As cries of protest and disgust started to fill the digital airwaves via Facebook and twitter, and after a discussion with my colleague Dave Watson (CD Design North America, TAXI), I decided to do something about it. I built this website and went forth and contacted a group of esteemed, professional and award winning Canadian Graphic Designers and Art Directors including Dave, who in-turn went ahead and rallied the Designers at TAXI to the cause. We then challenged them all to create something better than what is currently being circulated in the media, and the response was very positive and supportive.

After the site launched on the 10th of December, There was an impressive amount of requests from Designers, Professional and Junior from all across the country to contribute and be a part of this project.

This website is the culmination of our collective efforts. The whole purpose of this activity is to prove that good design does exist in Canada, and as Canadian Designers we believe that Canada deserves better than what is being offered.

Ibraheem Youssef / email / Twitter



Update: Additional Final 16 submissions opened, email here for more details.

Recently also, Lionel Gadoury, President of the RGD (Association of Registered Graphic Designers) posted an article about our Project, read it here.
In response, after reading his article, we in-turn wrote an open letter, which clarifies
our goals and intentions as a project, which you can read here.
The true north

In an effort to dispel any misunderstanding or confusion regarding the purpose
of this project, here are our main goals:

  1. To have a discussion on a National level on
    what is acceptable as good Design.

  2. To prove that good Design is present as ever in Canada.

  3. Canadian Design & Designers deserve to be recognized
    on a National and International Level for our quality work.

  4. Canadians deserve the best when it comes to a symbol
    that reflects and celebrates 150 years of History.

  5. Most importantly, for Heritage Canada to take notice, retract
    the 5 proposed logos, and hopefully enlist or open the bid for
    reputable Canadian Design firms and agencies to work
    properly on this project.
 
Participants

Design and Identity development is a process, one that often takes a lot of time, sometimes months. In this case however, we had one advantage as Designers that we normally don’t have on a regular basis in our profession, we already all know the brand (Canada) inside out, so it was a matter that was quite personal and a labour of love that demanded immediate attention. The amount of passion and dedication devoted to this project has been amazing.

Since launching, and opening up participation in this project to Designers from all across Canada, the amount of submissions has been unexpected. In efforts of maintaining our message of quality Canadian Design, we are only posting our favourite 16 pieces of work that we have received, out of over of 100 submissions.

We do however, appreciate everyone that has taken the time and effort to send us their vision of Canada's 150th Logo.

The following Designers and Art Directors are the participants in this project:

The 16 New
Participants


The 16 Initial
Participants
Honourable
Mentions
Stefan Dukaczewski
David Bromley
Richard Marazzi
John Tisdall
Greg Mühlböck
Jill Brown
ImagiNation150
Dennis Boyle
Jag Nagra
Devin Wilson
Megan Hunt
Jason Niles
Chris Chartrand
Ross Chandler
Lee Wilson
Jean-Francois Dumais
Jason Fung
Carmel Dias
Ibraheem Youssef
Michael L'Ecuyer
Ruth Ann Pearce
Melissa Agostino
Henry Tyminski
Dave Watson
Andy Slater
Kammy Singh
Andrew Passas

Brooke Hennessy
Theo Gibson
Jonathan Mutch
Adam Lonero
Dominic Ayre
Jason Saunders
Laurie Cochran
Marcello Fontana
Ted Kowalczyk
Steve Beinicke
Mark Ralph
Carrie Devorah
Inga Rumun
Jennifer Eustace
Steven Freitas
Mark Bain
Mark Andre La France
Raymond G
Italo Siciliano
Dikcder Hodge
Mikey Nitsopoulos
 

Stefan Dukaczewski
Ottawa, ON
Art Director / Designer
MSTRPLN®

The direction was to maintain a minimal aesthetic while creating something that would have timeless appeal, evoking a familiar feel while paying homage to past identities representative of the significant milestones in Canada's history.

 

Greg Mühlböck

Greg Mühlböck
Toronto, ON
Art Director
GEOMETRY Global

From coast-to-cast Canadians live and thrive in ways unique to each region. Our mosaic of land, heritage and culture are not segregated by differences, but bound by a shared hope for the future. In 2017, we'll celebrate 150 years as a nation made stronger by our diversity.

 

Richard Marazzi

Richard Marazzi
Toronto, ON
Creative Director
richardmarazzidesign

A classic and timeless type treatment in an all caps serif typeface, gives a feeling of vintage and history all in a classic way. The leaf in the circle pays homage to our contribution in WWII and as a world leader.

 

Mike Snarjic


Ross Chandler

Vancouver, BC
Creative
RossChandler.ca

My inspiration for this logo is less celebratory and more of a protest statement against the country Canada is becoming these days. Are we to be celebrated as a country which has become short sighted environmentally and politically? In 150 years have we become a country which has let it's fiscal conservative side blind its opportunity for environmental and social stewardship?

It still looks like Canada, but the backward 'D' suggest that something isn't quite headed in the right direction.

 

Italo Siciliano

John Tisdall
Toronto, ON
Vice President, Head of Design
BBDO Toronto

CA' 'NA' 'DA' makes me feel a part of a mass, chanting support of our great nation. The vertical bar reminds me of banners at jousting events. Like a standard bearer, flying the flag so to speak. It is also the dimension of the red bar from our Canadian flag. and, the triple 'A's are kinda sweet too.

 

David Bromley

David Bromley
Ottawa, ON
Coordinator/Professor Graphic Design
Algonquin College

This logo pays homage to Stuart Ash's fabulous logo for Canada's 1967 Centennial with the multiple colours that represent the 10 provinces and 3 territories. The mosaic shapes representing the diversity of the Canadian population and culture coming together representing and forming one unified and whole maple leaf representing all of Canada and Canadians. The modern font, a look and feel for the future.

 

Nuala Byles

Jill Brown
Toronto, ON
Graphic Designer
Universal Program

Celebratory, Diverse and Iconic. These words are the building blocks for this Canada 150 logo. The vibrant colours symbolize the diversity of Canada’s many cultures. The multi-coloured lines represent fireworks celebrating the joyous occasion and collectively form the iconic maple leaf.

 

Lisa Litz

Rick Thomas & Michael Mateyko
Calgary, AB
Graphic Designer
imagiNation 150

An homage to the iconic Centennial logo, this Sesquicentennial logo is formed by 13 segments representing the diversity throughout Canada’s 10 provinces and 3 territories. Its irregular, angular forms represent our dynamic culture and the complex modern nation we’re evolving into. Mark the 150th with a gift to your country or your community – and then sign it with this mark.

 

Dennis Boyle

Dennis Boyle
Vancouver, BC
Graphic Designer
Boyle Design Corp

The Canadian flag itself, is a strong statement. Unique shapes emerge with the kerned numerals: this could suggest community; many cultures and peoples living together; even traces of indigenous mark-making are suggested. The rounded and angular expression of the typography are inspired by the graphic nature of our maple leaf. On a practical note, Canadians will know how old their country is – it does not have to be explicit in a mark – and there is something dynamic and interpretive about reading or seeing the 8 characters in different ways.

 

Jag Nagra

Jag Nagra
Vancouver, BC
Graphic Designer
Page84 Design

Taking context from our National Anthem, "True North Strong and Free" is a sentiment that every Canadian shares. This simplified maple leaf depicts outward growth, while the center pillar remains the anchor that holds us to the roots of this country.

 

Devin Wilson

Devin Wilson
Toronto, ON
Designer
Aster Design

Castor canadensis (the North American beaver) became an official symbol of the sovereignty of Canada after serving as natural bounty and becoming central to our country's beginnings being the most lucrative mercantile attraction during the fur trade. Apart from being essential to Canada's heritage, the beaver is a unique animal, both in appearance and ability, and symbolizes the resourcefulness, determination yet gentle nature of the people of Canada.

 

Megan Hunt

Megan Hunt
Toronto, ON
Designer / Principal
Aster Design

A lighthearted spin on our charming and stoic national symbol. Let's celebrate!

 

Lee Wilson

Lee Wilson
Ottawa, ON
Art Director, Graphic Designer
Bloomberg Businessweek

Canada is a young country, ingrained with stereotype. I wanted to create something simple yet unexpected, inspired in part by Chris Hadfield's photography from the ISS. My goal with this mark, is to convey that every part of Canada is important, and by unseating the traditional geographic view (by 150 degrees) we gain a fresh perspective on what it means to be Canadian.

 

Jason Niles
Victoria, BC
Urban Designer
Niles.ca

The ‘Coordinates Coloured’ logo celebrates the diverse interplay among all Canadians. The white dot symbolizes the nearest inhabited point to the North Pole. The black dot marks Ottawa. The remaining coloured coordinates indicate our capital cities.

 

Chris Chartrand

Chris Chartrand
Sarnia, ON
Graphic Designer
AOCAD

Canadians are proud of our nation’s heritage and celebrate it as being one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world. Canada promotes equality for all – regardless of age, race, gender, religion or sexual orientation – represented through a mosaic of bold colours. The logo is centred by one of the most recognizable Canadian architectural elements, the Canadian Parliament, with a brilliant array of welcoming arms reaching out, depicting our position on worldly issues as a nation, united as one.

 
Jean Francois

Jean-Francois Dumais
Montreal, QC
Associate Creative Director
jeanfrancoisdumais.com

Canada, it’s your birthday, so let’s celebrate by throwing confettis around that are shaped like the maple leaf’s edges.

But don’t party too hard, 150 years old = horrible hangovers.

 
Jason Fung

Jason Fung
Toronto, ON
Graphic Designer
Fngcreative.com

Canada's 150th celebration mark represents a pillar that was used in the original logo to symbolize pride and strength. The back pillar can be changed to various colours to communicate multiculturalism. The two pillars are married together to communicate unity.

 
Carmel Dias

Carmel Dias
Toronto, ON
Senior designer
Carmeldias.com

To create a logo that represents 150 years of Canada in 4 days is hard. However, after seeing the proposed logos I thought I'll give it a try. Like all good design I wanted to keep it clean and simple. I decided to used the traditional 11-pointed red maple leaf but gave it a modern look to it. A mix of old with the new. Hope you like it.

 
Ibraheem Youssef

Ibraheem Youssef
Halifax, NS
Graphic Designer / Associate Creative Director
Iyoussef.com

I wanted to create a logo for Canada's Sequicentinnial that signified growth.

The Growth that Canada has gone through in the past 150 years, has been in many
areas, culturally, demographically, ethnically, population wise, and growth in the way the nation as a collective thinks, and operates interally, as a Country and externally as a part of the global community. This elongated graphic represents all that, while alluding to further continued growth.

 
Colorveration

Michael L’Ecuyer & Ruth Ann Pearce
Chatham, ON & Oakville, ON
Co-Designers
coloveration

Title: l'Unifolié (The One Leafed) || Slogan: Naturally Refined. || Description:
We respectively reduce our countries identity to its most essential; linear and perfect. We remember yesterday as it has brought today that guides us towards tomorrow.

 
Melissa Agostino

Melissa Agostino
Toronto, ON
Designer, Partner
Sali Tabacchi Inc.

A play on Canada’s anthem “O Canada”, using “Oh! Canada!” to indicate that it’s actually a big deal to be 150 years old and everyone should get excited! Font used: Gibson, designed by Canadian type designer Rod McDonald.

 
Henry Tyminski

Henry Tyminski
Toronto, ON
Designer, Partner
Sali Tabacchi Inc.

150 dots arranged in a maple leaf representing 150 years. The dots can also symbolize the many different cultures that can be found within Canada – to express Canada’s multiculturalism. Font used: Gibson, designed by Canadian type designer Rod McDonald.

 
Dave Watson

Dave Watson
Thunder bay, ON
Creative Director Design, North America
Taxi Canada

I have always loved logos with hidden gems in them (see Hartford Whalers logo).
So for my mark, I attempted to create the flag out of the letterforms. If you see it great… if you don't, it still reflects the pride we all feel as Canadians.

 
Andy Slater

Andy Slater
Toronto, ON
Senior Designer
Taxi Canada

This logo focuses on Canada's bright multicultural canvas. With each colour
connecting, unity is ever present, showcasing Canada's strong backing of
multiculturalism and acceptance. 

 
Kammy Singh

Kammy Singh
Toronto, ON
Designer
Taxi Canada

Canada is a country that is a mosaic of many different cultures, traditions and climates. All the diversities share the Canadian spirit of compassion, acceptance and pride.

 
Andrew Passes

Andrew Passas
Toronto, ON

Designer
Taxi Canada

The maple leaf is one of the most iconic symbols of Canada. It represents our colourful landscape, the team we cheer for, the flag we fly and the diverse people who stand beneath it. It is our symbol of pride and strength that welcomes many and represents all. 

 
Andrew Passes

Brooke Hennessy
Kitchener, ON
Designer
Taxi Canada

A country that is largely defined by lack of an agreed upon national identity has few
symbols that can adequately represent it. This mark depicts one aspect of our nation that is universally understood: the pride we feel for – and the inspiration we draw from – our natural environment and the unique creatures that inhabit it. 

Oh, and I made a 5 look like a loon.

 
Theo Gibson

Theo Gibson
Etobicoke, ON
Art Director / Designer
eyeamtheo.com

150 years is a significant amount of time to create anything great. In this instance it's Canada, So I found a visual way to represent some of the important facts. I went with a simple design in order to create a logo that used the design elements and overall vibe of our national flag. The three leaves represent each fifty year interval of this anniversary as well as the three British colonies that formed together to create this country on July 1, 1867.

 

Jonathan Mutch

Jonathan Mutch
Winnipeg, MB
Graphic Designer
John St.

When I started thinking about Canada Day, and how I’ve celebrated this great country on this day all my life – I instantly thought of standing amongst thousands of fellow countrymen and women to watch the spectacle that is the Canada Day fireworks show. The logo is meant to represent that feeling – the obvious connection to the explosion of colour while watching the show, and the unity you feel amongst friends, strangers, relatives and neighbours as you stand in celebration of this great country.

 

Adam Lonero

Adam Lonero
Cobourg, ON
Production Artist
Salt Branding

Not much to say on this one. Simple, graphic, and leveraging the iconography of the most recent ad campaigns by which Canada has been identifying itself to Canadians and the world. Could use significant development, but stands as it is.

 

Dominic Ayre

Dominic Ayre
Windsor, ON
Senior Associate Designer

After seeing the submissions that the government presented it got me thinking about what Canada means to me. I started to think about the land mass of our great country, the varied environments and how even though we are all spaced out that we are connected as individuals, as Canadians. My thought was to create a mark that really played off that idea. The citizens create the country.

 

Glowing Hearts

I would like to thank all the Creatives that contributed to this project, whether by creating a Logo or simply spreading the word and message.

The project has been featured on the following sites:

Communication Arts
CBC TV Video Reportage

SunTV interview
The Toronto Star
The Huffington Post Canada
Azure Magazine
Under Consideration
Strategy Online
Virgin FM Edmonton
EscapeKit
Design Taxi
680 News
Métro Montréal
Creative Review
Creative Review Part 2
FastCo.Create
Global News
Toronto Life
Marketing Mag
Yahoo News Canada
City News
Applied Arts
AdRants
La Cuisine du Graphiste
MTL BLog
 

I'd especially like to thank Shannon Stephaniuk from Glossy PR, who significantly helped to spread the message of this site in the media and I'd especially like to thank Merewenn Nero and Paul Jutras for their help in translating the entire site into French.

Working on this initiative has made me feel prouder than ever to have been born in this wonderful country and surrounded and embraced by such kindred souls.

Ibraheem Youssef