Bruce Mau Design was recently asked by Studio 360 with Kurt Anderson, an arts and culture radio program, to help redesign/rethink/rebrand Canada. The rethink, dubbed Know Canada, was an effort to get Americans to understand Canada better and to shed the cultural stereotypes many have about the country.
Canada has an image problem in the US. When Americans think of Canada, stale and often cliché ideas come to mind; such as maple syrup, hockey, snow and lots of it. These images don’t pay homage to the intellectual, creative and social contributions that Canada makes as a country on a global scale. These clichés do not accurately depict the 21st Century Canada.
In our redesign, we began with an assertion that Americans simply don’t understand Canada. Our view is that Canada doesn’t need a redesign; rather, Americans need to be educated. To that end, our new Canadian brand highlights the country’s potential, and addresses the dynamic exchange of ideas, creativity, natural resources and people.
To express the country’s openness, flexibility and diverse points of view, we’ve created a visual language that leverages the two red bars on either side of the Canadian flag. These red bars act as a container for a rich array of viewpoints, imagery and ultimately, understanding.
I think the approach they’ve taken is rather clever. The “flag as visual design” device is used well here, framing iconic people, places, monuments, and even bits of pop culture. I didn’t know that both peanut butter and Trivial Pursuit were both Canadian.
I honestly wish this wasn’t only a concept, I think Canada could easily benefit from such an ad campaign. The branding is simple, it’s iconic, it’s easy to reproduce, and most important in my mind: it feels fresh and contemporary. How can two red bars and a bit of text ever go out of style?
You can see more imagery by visiting Bruce Mau Design.