Centennial emblem from 1967, left, and the country's 150th birthday logo.
A bell rang when I laid eyes on the new logo for Canada’s looming 150th birthday bash.
Where have I seen that multicoloured maple leaf before?
At a Leafs game, after fans threw up on it? No, though the colours are similar.
Wait, it’s coming back to me — 1967. Last time the Leafs won the Cup. Centennial Year, Canada’s first century, Expo 67, “one little, two little, three Canadians,” a wall-to-wall patriotic party, a multicoloured maple leaf emblazoned on everything.
Aha! That’s where I’ve seen that logo. The sesquicentennial emblem, newly unveiled, is really the centennial logo — just fluffed up. It’s perkier. Like someone plugged it into a 150-volt outlet.
Take a look.
If you are well-seasoned, if you’ve heard of the Beatles, likely you need not be reminded. The 1967 emblem is imprinted on your saggy-assed grey cells.
That graphic was everywhere. On flags, classroom walls, books, souvenir plates, stickers, stamps ... I think I had it shaved into my noggin. Oh, for the days when I could do that.
The centennial logo is as iconic a Canadian emblem as a Tim Hortons cup or the loonie.
Will the Canada 150 logo measure up? Well, the nation’s graphic artists are not impressed.
They’re ticked because the feds chose the logo from a contest open only to post-secondary students, which drew 300 entries. The pros wondered, ‘What are we, chopped poutine?’ A design of such national importance should involve, well, designers, they said.
Not to mention, the contest with its puny $5,000 prize exploits students and their intellectual property.
The winner, Ariana Cuvin, 19, a business and art major at the University of Waterloo, says the leaf’s sections in her entry represent Canada’s original provinces, the symmetrical shapes mean unity, and the many colours symbolize diversity.
Or at least that’s what a government website says she says. Ms. Cuvin tells Postmedia’s Don Butler her design really has no hidden meanings. “I just wanted to go with something very simple,” she says.
Whatever. I’m no artiste. I can barely draw my breath. But what do the pros think of the new logo?
“We have no comment on it,” Graphic Designers of Canada (GDC) executive director Melanie MacDonald tells me. “We don’t want to contribute to cyber-bullying.”
Ouch. Safe to say, they hate it. They just don’t want to pick on kids.
But GDC president Adrian Jean has issued an “open letter.”
“I am deeply disheartened that our government would choose to exploit students in this manner despite our efforts to educate the government that contests like these are unethical, detrimental to students, to professional graphic designers, and to Canada in general.
“Let’s stand united once again and commit to not discredit or criticize the students who participated in the contest, but rather to strengthen our resolve for professional, ethical and fair business practices ...
“The fight is not over!”
I can picture Stephen Harper rolling his eyes. Just what he needs. Now graphic artists are pissed at him.
They have a point, and precedence. The 1967 emblem was first left to a contest but that failed and the gig was opened to design firms. A young Montreal (and later Toronto) graphic designer named Stuart Ash gave us that omnipresent leaf.
It is forever part of Canada’s fabric. I don’t hate the new one. Good for Ms. Cuvin. But I doubt we’ll ever call it iconic.
What do you think?
The new logo will soon be in your face, and in your head. Canada 150 starts in barely 18 months, and the hoopla will begin before that.
Our chests will swell with sesquicentennial pride, but it won’t be 1967 all over again. That magic year will never be topped.
Unless, of course, the Leafs finally win again.
Canada 150 logo: Love it or hate it | Strobel | Canada | News | Toronto Sun