If you haven’t already heard about the controversial logo design contest hosted by the Department of Canadian Heritage, the controversy stems from the contest rules outlining only submissions from students were allowed, restricting any firms or freelance professional graphic designers from submitting their own design. University of Waterloo Global Business and Digital Arts student Ariana Cuvin created the design that was chosen. For her piece, she focused on the maple leaf, adding in subtle effects to represent the ten provinces and three territories. As for the multi-coloured aspects, they were used to reflect Canada’s diversity.
“I like the research she’s put into creating it, the 4 provinces of confederation, and the 9 more to create a total of 10 provinces and 3 territories. Although without reading her brief, I wouldn’t immediately clue into the reason behind the number of diamond shapes. Some of the things she could have worked on a bit more would be the kerning of the type (notice how the ‘0’ in 150 seems a bit too far to the right), and the use of colour. Perhaps red could have been used more prominently (and in the type?).” said Chauntel Perry, one of the lead designers at Henderson.
Beyond the design itself, we asked Perry how she felt about it being strictly submissions from students. As a once graphic design student who is now working within a graphic design firm, she felt as though they shouldn’t necessarily have only allowed students since it takes away from freelancers’ opportunity. It also could potentially allow for negative repercussions on the graphic design students themselves when looking for positions post-graduation.
“I'm on the fence about whether student should be allowed to take part in these types of projects. On one hand it gives them a chance to show their work and get their name out into the public; BUT they also aren't completely trained, so any 'mistakes' they make will then follow them,” explained Perry.
As most professional graphic designers in Canada can agree, it would have been beneficial to hire a graphic designer for the appearance of the piece and also for the knowledge they have about the cost to design and print. As Chauntel explains strictly speaking from a print-perspective; this would be a costly logo, assuming the colours would be Pantone to ensure colour consistency, because of the (at least) 11 colours used.
“Creating a design that is ‘friendly’ to work with by both web and print professionals (and thereby saving money in the long run) is something that professional graphic designers take into consideration when creating each piece they develop,” said Perry.
All in all giving students the opportunity to showcase their work should always be encouraged, but for a design holding this much importance, similar to a design used to represent your business, hiring a professional graphic designer is the way to go.