Dave Watson
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.

Adam Lonero
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.

Ibraheem Youssef
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.

Henry Tyminski
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.

Brooke Hennessy
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.

Dominic Ayre
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.

Theo Gibson
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.

Michael L’Ecuyer & RuthAnn Pearce
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
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.

Jason Fung
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
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.

Kammy Singh
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.

Andy Slater
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.

Jonathan Mutch
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.

Andrew Passas
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.

Co.Create

How A Bad Logo Moved Canada’s Creative Community To Action

When Heritage Canada released five possible logos to celebrate the country’s sesquicentennial, Canada’s design community responded with a resounding "hell, no." Now, professional designers have taken it upon themselves to show the country how designing a commemorative mark is done.

Canadians have an international reputation for being a pretty mild-mannered lot (one headline-grabbing, logic-defying mayor notwithstanding). We’ve got intense national pride; we just go about it a little quietly. Messing with matters of national identity, however, has turned out to be a surefire way to raise ire—of the design community, at least. Here’s what happened.

In early December, the CBC, Canada’s national broadcaster, ran a story that encouraged Canadians to vote for one of five logos to represent the country for its upcoming sesquicentennial in 2017. The Department of Canadian Heritage hoped that the designs would evoke "pride, celebration, unity, youth and multiculturalism." Instead, the elicited yawns of boredom at best, and cries of disgust at worst. The public has deemed the marks pitiful, outdated and "the worst ever" (according to one commenter).

The five official logos.

The design industry was more pointed in their critique. Shortly after the poll was made public, the country’s Association of Registered Graphic Designers (RGD) issued an open letter to Heritage Canada condemning the poor quality of the designs, and criticizing the decision to hand such a high-profile design task to a firm that runs focus groups.

The RGD’s hope was that its members would raise objections to their local politicians. Instead, designer Ibraheem Youssef, who himself reacted with "shock, disgust, disbelief" took matters into his own hands. Rather than get sucked into the vortex of political bureaucracy, he and a group of likeminded designers did what they do best: design.

The result is The150Logo.ca, a site created by Youssef, an ex-pat living in Boston, that invites designers to offer their best visual representations of Canada. Within a matter of days, he’d received 15 designs that are fresh, inspired and totally unboring—a stark demonstration of how effective professional design truly is.

Youssef says he was driven to create the site after he indulged in Facebook discussions about how "horrible" the logos were. In talking with Dave Watson CD Design, North America at TAXI, Youssef mused about creating a site with one logo from award winning, reputable Canadian Designers. "He said, ‘Build it,'" says Youssef. "From there I garnered my first esteemed industry supporter." Indeed, Watson himself contributed a commemorative mark to the exercise.

The chief criticism of the five official marks is unoriginality, says Youssef, noting that they all use the same typeface, Impact. "They all looked the same. There is zero thought behind the obvious and literal put into these logos. It's like someone thought of a bunch of words associated with Canada and spent five minutes on Photoshop and zapped these out." Instead, he says in cases like these, it’s best to keep it clean and simple. "Minimalism is key. When dealing with a symbol that represents millions of people, less is more."

Since launching the site, Youssef has been overwhelmed by responses. The site received over 300,000 hits in the first two days, and he’s received so many submissions that a second wave of designs will be launched on Monday, December 16.

His goal, beyond promoting the talent of Canadian designers, is for Heritage Canada to take notice, retract the existing logos and open the bid to Canadian reputable design firms. "If Heritage Canada chooses one of the logos from this site, that's nice, but it isn't our main goal as a collective."

Still, in all of this Youssef has not heard from any officials about his counter-designs, but the CBC has reported that the Department of Canadian Heritage will take into account all feedback it’s received when it finally chooses the logo. Whether or not that includes opening up the design process to new ideas is unknown.

[Image: Flickr user Faungg]

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2 Comments

  • Richard Ballermann

    "The chief criticism of the five official marks is unoriginality, says Youssef, noting that they all use the same typeface, Impact."

    Uhm, just glancing over the new entries, I'm seeing a whole lot of Gotham in there.

    "His goal, beyond promoting the talent of Canadian designers, is for Heritage Canada to take notice, retract the existing logos and open the bid to Canadian reputable design firms."

    I'm glad this was said. I do hope the gov't changes tactics on this but I fear the actual message to pick a single, reputable company might just be lost in the added touch of throwing a bunch of quick suggestions for improvement into the mix. If he said the new logos weren't meant to be seen as replacements but merely to illustrate how much better it could be, why on earth would he need to open up a second wave of entries?

  • ibraheem youssef

    Richard,

    First of all regarding the Type, Like you said, you "glanced" I suggest you take a closer look, just by saying a typeface is gotham, doesn't make it gotham, I wish design worked that way.

    As I mentioned, 4 out of 5 logos used IMPACT, Check it out, every one of those logos, imported into illustrator, then overlayed "IMPACT" on top of each from Left to right, top to bottom:

    1) http://www.coloveration.com/th...

    2) http://www.coloveration.com/th...

    3) http://www.coloveration.com/th...

    4) http://www.coloveration.com/th...

    5) And the fifth one is a warped version of Garamond just so you know:

    http://www.coloveration.com/th...

    Second, I opened up a second wave of entries because there was an overwhelming request from Designers all around Canada to be a part of this, they too shared the same sentiment of the project and wanted to display solidarity. As well as a second wave means a second wind of media attention and more spotlight shed on our project and message. The second wave went up, and we're making our point, interviews with CBC/SunTV/TorontoStar all after the 2nd wave.

    Thank you though, for appreciating our site and efforts.