Canada's redesigned brand: Know Canada

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Canada's redesigned brand: Know Canada

From Bruce Mau Design

Just in time for Canada’s 145th birthday (July 1 is Canada Day, in case you forgot), Studio 360 gives our northern neighbor a brand makeover. For the last several weeks, we’ve been looking at theimage challenge Canada has here in the United States.

To get beyond hockey, beer, and Mounties, we asked the international firm Bruce Mau Design to come up with a visual rebranding. As part of its research, the BMD team talked with Scott Thompson of the sketch comedy group The Kids in the Hall who summed up the issue simply: “We know you, but you don’t know us.”

“Canada didn’t need to be rebranded or redesigned,” explains BMD President and CEO Hunter Tura. “America needed to be educated. And that is the basis for our campaign: Know Canada.”

BMD uses the two red bars of the Canadian flag to showcase the country’s dynamism, using them to frame open landscapes, famous Canadians — from Arcade Fire to Pamela Anderson — and inventions like the walkie-talkie and the Wonderbra. “We kept the red bars as a nod to the past,” explains associate creative director Sarah Foelske. “We wanted to introduce what Canada is now but also embrace where it came from.” And as a logo, the red bars can be used as passport stamps, t-shirts, and, of course, beer mugs.


Not everyone is a fan, though: 

BMD Studio dumbs down Canada for America. America yawns.

Issues Pages: 


Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

That 20th Century "icon" list doesn't mention Tommy Douglas, French Heritage, Gordon Lightfoot, Leonard Cohen, Anne Murray, and a whole lot more.  And - socialized medicine and Wayne Gretzky should have been in the 20th century list - not the 21st.

ps: who the heck is "Justin Bieber" and why is he a 21st century icon?


My over-arching objection is that countries are not brands.

autoworker autoworker's picture

Caissa wrote:

My over-arching objection is that countries are not brands.

I agree. Who is being sold this confection?


I imagine it`s to promote tourism.

I rather like the idea of the red bars as icons that can be used in a lot of different ways. You  need something iconic like "I Love NY" campaign.

The latest USA tourism ads featuring Johnny Cash's daughter are really great.


Caissa wrote:

My over-arching objection is that countries are not brands.

Well, I agree, but who are we two compared with those communities in this country who appear to think otherwise?  For example:

Municipality of Port Hope Community Branding Project FAQs wrote:

The Municipality [of Port Hope] issued a request for proposals in October 2011 for the creation of a brand position and implementation plan. . . .  A strong Municipal brand will be developed through a comprehensive consultation and research process both in the community and with external audiences to offset negative and misinformed perspectives of Port Hope and put Port Hope on the map with a strong, positive identity.

Branding is a long term investment in the positive promotion of our community. If Port Hope does not control its own brand, our image will be left up to what others say about us. A strong public image will build confidence within our community and distinguish Port Hope as a unique, appealing destination. . . .

A strong brand will enhance our capacity to attract people and investment more easily and cost efficiently. It will make it easier for audiences to understand who we are and how we differ from competitors.



Boom Boom wrote:

ps: who the heck is "Justin Bieber" and why is he a 21st century icon?


He's a [url= about what it means to be First Nations[/url], which makes him an appropriate icon for 21st century Canada.

Justin Bieber wrote:

I’m actually part Indian. I think Inuit or something? I’m enough percent that in Canada I can get free gas.

ETA: He's also indirectly responsible for [url= admission to the Museum of Inuit Art[/url].