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Canada’s designers rebel against government-developed national logos

Posted by Tom Megginson | 13-12-2013 18:31 | Category: Design

When Canadian public broadcaster CBC released the logos being considered by the Government of Canada for the country’s upcoming sesquicentennial, people were quick to react.

Canada turns 150 - 150logo

Nobody was quite as vocal as Canadian designer Ibraheem Youssef, who now works as an ACD at Hill Holliday, Boston:

“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, I decided to do something about it. I went forth and contacted a group of esteemed, professional and award winning Graphic Designers and Art Directors and challenged them to create something better than what is currently being circulated in the media.”

Ibraheem’s version, and my three favourites from the first round of crowdsourced logos, follows:

Canada turns 150 - 150logo - Ibraheem Youssef

Ibraheem Youssef, Graphic Designer / Associate Creative Director

I wanted to create a logo for Canada’s Sesquicentinnial 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 internally, as a Country and externally as a part of the global community. This elongated graphic represents all that, while alluding to further continued growth.

Canada turns 150 - 150logo - Carmel Dias

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.

Canada turns 150 - 150logo - Henry Tyminski

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.

Canada turns 150 - 150logo - Jonathan Mutch

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.

You can see the rest of the submissions at the150logo.ca, and decide for yourself if they’re really better than the ones tested. Or, if you’re a Canadian designer and think you can do better, contact Ibraheem before Monday to submit your own.


Ibraheem Youssef

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