How Canadians Are Discussing the Proposed 150th Anniversary Logos

December 20, 2013

About a month ago I caught wind of our Federal government’s efforts in developing a logo for our 150th birthday in 2017. The initial feedback they were getting wasn’t great, but I’ll admit that at the time I let it go, thinking, what difference will it really make in the grand scheme of our country’s history.

If you haven’t seem them, here are the proposed logos:
150th anniversary proposed logos
Fast forward to today – I saw something crop up in my Facebook Feed. Youssef Ibrahim – a local designer took it upon himself to do something about it. He and a number of other Canadian designers have put together their own versions of what they think the logo could look like. This is one of Ibrahim’s own variations:
Ibraheem Youssef
Circling back on how we Canadians tend to sit idly by while politics occurs around us, I wanted to see how this story has unfolded. So here in the digital lab, deep in the bowels of the Environics Toronto office (10th floor open concept – beautiful view of the city… By no means the bowels of anything), we rolled up our sleeves and got to work and found out just how active we Canadians have become around this issue.






For starters – our team looked at the number of mentions of this story globally – starting from late November through to mid December.

Canada 150 Mentions Globally

As you can see, there are three peaks of activity over the last few weeks, with next to no activity leading up to December 1st. So let’s find out why they occurred.

Canada 150 Mentions by Medium

Looking at the simplest breakdown of our frequency graph – the media breakdown – we can see that the first spike came from “Aggregators”. These are any website that picks up news stories from newswire services like CNW.

The story that they’re all talking about is the first article published by CBC:
Announcement of Focus Testing of new logos

Just below this spike, we can see that Twitter makes up the second largest amount of volume in the conversation. So let’s take a look at a word cloud of this first batch of discussions.
Initial spikes wordcloud
The conversations are made up of audiences commenting on the initial story, and seemingly, the keywords are fairly generic, but with on the outskirts of the story’s key elements like “Logo”, “anniversary” and “150th” we can see that there are some very interesting words like “sorry”, “wow”, “mixed”, “sad” and “c’mon”.

Each one of these “negative” keywords gives us a good sense of the initial reaction to the news.

24 Hours after this spike, and we start to see some momentum building as we see designers emerging to offer up their own versions of the logo.

Toward the end of the day on December 4th, we begin to see mentions of Ibraheem Youssef’s website – from the designer himself, and supporters of the cause:

December 6 – 8 sees a dip in activity, likely because of the weekend, but then returns back to normal on the 9th with more designers and media outlets jumping into the fray:

By the time we reach the large spike on December 16th, we can see a nice change in the tone of the conversation through the “evolved” word cloud:
A happier word cloud
This conversation seems to be far from over, but we’re hoping that the key decision makers in this project take notice of the attitudes of Canadians towards these fantastic crowdsourced logos and opens their selection up to these ambitious and patriotic designers.


  1. […] Environics Communications tracked the chatter around the logo. It started December 3 when newswire’s picked up the CBC story. Twitter got ahold of it. Words being used in association with the discussion included “mixed”, “sad” and “c’mon”. Designers soon spoke up with other logo options. By December 16 the talk included words like “alternate”, “proposals” and “absolutely”. […]

  2. Interesting post. Thanks, Jon. Considering this government is know for micro-managing, it is odd they would not just declare the logo and shut down any discussion. By publishing a short list, they inadvertently ignited a design contest of additional ideas. Now they have the awkward situation of accepting new ideas or choosing one from their own short list. Personally, I like clean and strong looking “Red” but it may resemble the Liberal Party logo too much for this Conservative government. That’s fair enough, since they are in power. I’m sure this issue has legs.