In 1966 Stuart Ash of Gottschalk + Ash designed the keen Canadian Confederation Centennial logomark, a maple leaf comprised of 11 equilateral triangles to represent the 10 Canadian provinces and the territories.

Centennial logo

It was used to celebrate Canada’s big birthday across all collateral and commemorative pieces in 1967. 1967 Canada Post Centennial | Harry Canary Co 1967 Canada Post Centennial | Harry Canary Co

With Canada’s 150′s approaching, the government, showing zero faith or appreciation for Canadian designers (or design in general for that matter), held a contest, spent $40,000 testing, and later presented the following five (completely embarrassing) logos.

1967 Canada Post Centennial | Harry Canary Co


Canadians, usually polite, have not been so much. Media including CBC and Huffington Post have all chimed in.  As well as design blog Brand New.

Then this happened. Halifax-born graphic designer Ibraheem Youssef saw the angry response to the proposed logos he decided he could do better. He got in touch with other designers and put together a website with an alternate slate of designs. – Huffington Post

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. -

Maybe it has something to do with the great response and coverage that the Vancouver’s Olympic branding got. Or maybe Obama’s Change – Ground breaking or not, professionals were hired, thought and effort was contributed (graphically speaking anyway).  But the 5 logos presented look more like they should be on a flyer for a Community Centre Canada Day Pie Sale, than on anything actually representing our country.

So, Canadian designer, Youssef, launched a website and gathered the support of 30+ award winning and well known designers. They are just examples and will not actually be used, but really, he and all designers that submitted just wanted to show ‘em what we’re made of, and that if it weren’t for the their flawed and lazy process, what they could have had. What these designers have produced FAR exceeds any and all of the government’s clipart and word art logos. Round of applause for them.

Canadian 150 logos