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Swimming Canada's Rebrand Fails to Include Beaver

Chris Dickman Tue, 03/17/2015 - 12:36

Sure, Canada's national sport is hockey but what do we do when the ice melts? We go swimming, of course! And this is made all the easier in that we're blessed with generous quantities of swimmable water, if you factor in the oceans on either side, the Great Lakes (admittedly mostly too polluted to swim in), mighty rivers (mostly ditto) and of course all kinds of streams, ponds and pools. In fact, there's a lot of water up here. There's also a lot of maple trees, with leaves that turn red in the fall. To the point where we made one the focal point of the national flag when it was redesigned in a burst of patriotism back in 1967.

Even since then we've been sticking bright red maple leaves on just about everything, a practice that's especially popular when it comes to sports. Just last week, for example, Curling Canada rolled out a rebrand, shown at right, that employed a shiny new maple leaf apparently lifted right off the flag. Now it's the turn of Swimming Canada, which has employed the same agency, Hulse & Durrell, for a rebrand that includes... a shiny new maple leaf apparently lifted right off the flag. But why change a winning formula, eh? The previous logo, shown above, was admittedly rather confusing. Even the media relations rep at Swimming Canada we contacted wasn't clear on what it meant, instead speculating that the blue lower part was meant to indicate water, while the space between the two halves of the leaf sort of looked like an S (for Swimming, get it?).

The rationale for the new look is that it reflects various aspects of swimming in Canada, drawing on imagery that dates back to the London 1908 Olympic Games, which marked Canada's first international appearance and last victory (Just kidding! In fact Canuck swimmers have snagged 40 Olympic medals). There are also obvious nods to earlier logos, as well as the choice of the Ciutadella Bold face, which we're told "reflects the classic, tall letterforms from 1980s-era Canadian swimming uniforms." While rather dull, in the great Canadian tradition, perhaps the only really awkward element of the new logo is the symbol of the swimmer, which by being a reworking of a symbol used on amateur swimming badges from the 1970s — themselves echos of bland international symbols — fails to convey anything uniquely Canadian.

But then, just what is Canadian these days, when even Timbits are being made by an American company? Oh well, we still have the beaver as our national animal, they can't take that away from us. Come to think of it, beavers are pretty good swimmers. Maybe the logo would have been better if it had used a nice, fuzzy castor canadensis?

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