Skip to main content

Awards of Distinction

Multiple printed open spreads, photographed from above, layed diagonally on a flat surface

Ryerson at a Glance — Ryerson University

Judge’s Pick

Like its new Student Learning Centre, this Ryerson University publication is built like an architectural multifaceted gem. The stellar photography provides the artistic structural support on which the entire book rests. Each shot is meticulously curated and provides a human narrative that automatically tells the reader what the story will be about before even having to read one word. The typography, overall graphic grid and colour palette pull on all the right strings and are integrated into each spread with the right dose of creativity and technical manoeuvring. The true creative success here is that the book highlights the vibrancy of the Ryerson brand while showcasing the dynamic optimism the institution is pushing forward.

– Eric Pellerin

With key emphasis on an elevated photography style speaking to the university’s dynamism and urbanity, the publication creates a narrative thread pointing to the ultimate mission of Ryerson which is to make a real-world impact through city and community building. Beyond the typical ‘at-a-glance’ style university publication, this book was designed to be both a source of information and inspiration. The project set a new standard for photography at Ryerson and led to the update of the brand photography guideline

Corus Upfront identity in white over a branded green and black background

Corus Upfront Visual Identity — Corus Entertainment Inc.

Judge’s Pick

The ‘All Fired Up!’ sub-brand development is a successful extension of the parent brand, Corus. The colour, type and illustration style choices relate to the Corus brand, bringing a freshness and energy that is somewhat unexpected while at the same time feeling completely natural. It’s a smart choice given this is a brand for an event, with many high-impact opportunities to activate through environmental graphics in the space. The illustration collection works as a perfect backdrop considering that parts of the design might be obstructed by people standing in front. It’s not necessary to see the full composition to appreciate the graphic system. At the same time, there isn’t the monotony of a repeating wallpaper pattern that typically goes unnoticed. Also, the burning chart spot illustrations are pretty awesome.

– Jessica Vitale RGD

To capture the idea of “fresh”, the design was inspired by the historical graffiti around the venue.
The fat felt marker-inspired handwriting tags, typography, fire iconography, dots, lines and
textures were used throughout all the materials. This combination of graphic elements with
a focused brand colour palette created a raw and fun backdrop for the corporate event.
Working with a limited budget and a large venue, the team focused on isolating sections of
the space and creating animation for the video wall.

Two (2) spreads from the Herschel Season Two Classics Catalogues

2018 Season Two Classics Catalogues — Herschel Supply Company 

Judge’s Pick

"This project was tasteful and a clever application of creative intent; it’s the kind of piece that gets the consumer to connect to the brand and not just the product. It gave me an intimate view of the product range and made me feel as if I were actually inhabiting the brand. The impactful photography depicts the Hawaiian landscape and natural beauty; it is an original yet simple spin on the Hawaiian aesthetic without overpowering the product line-up. As a tool for both trade and consumers, this execution shows that trade tools can also be inspiring and tell a story of the creative direction for a brand’s specific collection. Although this is a collection preview look book for Herschel, the look and feel of the catalogue makes you want to discover and really makes the Herschel product shine through its storytelling.''

– David Guarnieri

Hawaii’s landscapes and the idea of boundless exploration inspired a diverse line of products
for the season. The design challenge was to evoke the feeling of Hawaii in a fresh, interesting
and non-literal way. The use of aerial photography, Polynesian-inspired typography and a
foliage-inspired colour palette helped achieve this effect. To establish cohesion between seasons,
the catalogue incorporated imagery shot both locally and in Hawaii.

Pride and Joy book cover

Pride & Joy: Supporting LGBTQ+ Student Success 2019’ — District School Board of Niagara

Judge’s Pick

"This was my top pick due to the importance of the message and its impact on societal and cultural change. Educating people on the concepts and language of LGBTQ+ is new territory and this piece makes a sincere effort to be friendly, informative, respectful and relevant for the intended audience.''

– Vishu Mahajan

The design of the document celebrates the message of inclusion without relying on stereotypes
or overusing the rainbow flag iconography. Combining educational topics and corporate
branding, the document speaks to the subject matter and can still be read as part of the school
district. Many aspects of the document will be turned into standalone teaching tools, and the
document has been presented to the Ministry of Education to be showcased as a best practice
for school boards in Ontario

"I Count Homeless" Enumeration Campaign outdoor bus shelter advertising and indoor transit advertising

'I Count Homeless' Enumeration Campaign —District School Board of Niagara

Judge’s Pick

"This project is highly empathetic and a great example of human-centered design around a deeply stigmatized and challenging issue. Bravo to the team for avoiding the ‘one size fits all’ solution for addressing each of the stakeholders. Each video was gripping and, though dramatized, felt authentic and impactful in its intensity and simplicity. ''

– Grace Hwang

''What an incredible cause and effort. I chose this project for the creativity of the message and the way it captures the reality of homelessness. Simply beautiful.''

– Evan Scronce

The campaign required three promotional streams: one aimed at encouraging participation, one for recruiting citizen volunteers and one aimed at increasing awareness of what homelessness looks like in York Region. Each component was approached separately to target relevant audiences and tied together with a common look and feel. The campaign reached more than 75,000 people on social media with messages of homeless awareness. Videos depicting stories of homelessness in York Region were viewed over 116,000 times.

an iced drink with a lemon over multiple custom brand coasters

'Summer Haze’ Campaign — Cactus Club Cafe 

Judge’s Pick

"This was my top pick due to the importance of the message and its impact on societal and cultural change. Educating people on the concepts and language of LGBTQ+ is new territory and this piece makes a sincere effort to be friendly, informative, respectful and relevant for the intended audience.''

– Vishu Mahajan

The design of the document celebrates the message of inclusion without relying on stereotypes
or overusing the rainbow flag iconography. Combining educational topics and corporate
branding, the document speaks to the subject matter and can still be read as part of the school
district. Many aspects of the document will be turned into standalone teaching tools, and the
document has been presented to the Ministry of Education to be showcased as a best practice
for school boards in Ontario

On the left, a brand pattern. On the right, branded self service snacks+sundries vending machine signage; and a mobile screen showing what the app looks like

Drake Motor Inn Visual Identity — Drake Hotel Properties

Judge’s Pick

Drake Motor Inn stood out to me as the best of the best. It is an extensive, consistent, fun and beautiful execution of a marketing need and creative strategy with a strong design eye. It feels consistent with the established Drake aesthetic while differentiating the look and feel in alignment with the concept of the Inn. It is a successful update of a “vintage” feeling that mixes the best of the old and new elements, and I loved the whimsical elements that were engaging and fun. Great work!

– Karuna Scheinfeld

The team created an irreverent relationship between text and image, using some typefaces
from the overarching Drake style guide combined with new fonts to communicate the specific
character of the property. Pastel colours contrast darker, punchier shades to create an effect that
calls to mind sun-bleached nostalgia without feeling too soft. As the property renovation was
happening simultaneously with the design process, the team sourced vintage images that were
used in conjunction with typography and illustrations to represent the spirit of the property.

Digital spread showing a quote, a short introduction and table of contents of the miyo wahkohtowin publication

Miyo Wahkohtowin: Indigenous Student Success Strategy — Saskatchewan Polytechnic

Judge’s Pick

This project is an elegant design solution that gives the document substance with a clear, considered layout, clever use of beautiful photography and the important integration of indigenous illustrations and languages. I found the publication informative, easy to digest and an attractive document due to its creative use of colour, considered balance of photos and text, quotes and illustrations. The design is not over complicated and makes good use of white space and colour balance. The extra treatments on the cover, including foil and embossing, are enticing and respectful. Well, done! The elements of the core design, with the inclusion of Indigenous languages and appropriate representation, will easily transfer to all future collateral.

– Gay Cross

The team created a substantial print piece to highlight the material which included a glow-inthe-dark dreamcatcher on the cover symbolizing the power of education, as well as interior
illustrative artwork by Cree artisan Kevin Pee-Ace. With the launch of this piece, Saskatchewan
Polytechnic is committing to further Indigenization of the institute which will include Indigenous
languages and appropriate representation on all collateral, including learning material.

wayfinding signage for Camp PwC

Camp PwC: Salesforce World Tour Afterparty Experience — PwC Canada

Judge’s Pick

The Camp PwC campaign has a strong theme and creative concept that is carried throughout the numerous collateral pieces. I especially enjoyed the tactile pieces like the patches and photo simulated textures. The combination of illustrations and real photography brought depth and visually exciting results.

– Cris Jaw RGD

Using pre-existing creative and a strong story, the team developed assets to immerse attendees
in a real ‘Camp’ vibe. The event package was also co-opted by PwC teams in the US and the
UK to deliver similar experiences at their own events, strengthening PwC Canada’s relationship
with other territories and positioning the Canadian marketing team as ‘ones to watch’ within
the global network.

People engaging in the "Gift the Code" Hackathon space, branded with original signage and merchandise

‘Gift the Code’ Hackathon Branding — Capital One Canada

Judge’s Pick

This project is an elegant and sophisticated use of the brand’s core elements of space, typography and colour. It cleverly integrates these elements so the branding, environmental signage and swag give the conference attendees a visually engaging experience from start to finish. The project demonstrates originality and creativity through a simple yet clever solution and creative use of resources. Well, done.

– Patrick White RGD

The team created inviting decor and warm branding to make sure participants had an enjoyable
and comfortable place to work during the event. To brand the space, the team created assets and
floor plans to execute creative placements, such as individual areas for speakers and breakout
sessions. The third year of the event saw more participants than ever before and provided tech
solutions for six charities, who made connections that they can continue to leverage going forward.

four (4) "Dont Assume Yes" posters

‘Don’t Assume Yes’ Consent Awareness Poster Series — Conestoga Students Inc.

Judge’s Pick

The clever and clear messaging supported with the flat illustrative style really drives the point home. It’s clear that a lot of thought went into this piece, not only in what creative direction to take but also in what language to use. As this subject is important, the clear and concise language and a clean design all work together to communicate the message quickly and efficiently. This allows for quick consumption and retention for the demographic.

– Ian Scott RGD

The design uses illustrations to portray clear scenarios in a muted colour palette with pops of bright green to highlight the key message. Special care was taken with the use of language for the posters to best explain the narratives being depicted, which represent a diverse range of gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. The launch of the campaign coincides with the time of year during which the College receives its largest student intake to reinforce the importance of consent to the community at large.

branded on-site delivery van parked in front of the National Concrete Accessories building

On-Site Delivery Van Branding — National Concrete Accessories

Judge’s Pick

The on-site delivery van hits all of the criteria of creativity and strategy. The design is very interesting and I assume if I saw it on the street I would take time to really look at it. I thought it was a great execution on the problem and also a great way to introduce brand awareness for NCA.

– Jamie Myrold

To promote the brand and products that are offered at National Concrete Accessories branches,
the design of the van was approached as a mobile billboard. Each section of the shelves was
photographed separately and combined together using Photoshop to avoid distortion and
maintain visual integrity. The van is currently being used for several deliveries and it is considered
the “17th Branch” of National Concrete Accessories, which currently has 16 branches across Canada.

Crave Streaming Platform brand overview, including logo, wordmark, photography, typography, patterns and colour palette

Crave — Bell Media Agency

Judge’s Pick

Absolutely stunning. This is a huge step up from Crave’s previous branding and really serves to elevate the brand. The palette and gradients are unique. It meets the challenges and more. Bravo!

– Amanda Parker

An intuitive digital experience was created by restructuring Crave’s information architecture and upgrading the user interface. The brand refresh is a reflection of the elevated, premium, personalized experience of the product with a design system born from lines, minimalist typography
and a monochromatic blue colour scheme that is modular and interchangeable. Cross-functional teams accomplished milestones to achieve this large-scale project leading up to the release of
the new app, the introduction of the rebrand and the switch to the new channel redesign.

On the left, a hand unboxing copies of The Journal issue 10. On the right, an open spread showing the table of contents

‘The Journal’ Issue 10 — Herschel Supply Company

Judge’s Pick

In a time where our attention span is measured in clicks and scrolls, it’s refreshing to see a brand that understands that not all mediums need to be reactive or responsive. As a brand with an ethos revolving around travel and taking the time to appreciate the more meaningful moments in life, the Herschel team has done a great job of considering how the choice of ‘medium’ helps to evoke and amplify their message. The format of the piece allows you to sit, digest and connect with the brand at a slower, more deliberate pace. It also doesn’t feel commercial or product driven, which creates a more authentic connection with the brand’s values. The overall aesthetic is clean and minimal, bringing together modern type and design elements with tasteful, FOMO inducing imagery in a considered layout with ample negative space, providing room for the photography to breathe. Overall, a solid piece!

– Pat Young

Through a photographic narrative, The Journal represents the seamless coexistence of tradition and modernity on the Hawaiian Islands, visually celebrating the utopian archipelago and the products it inspired. Issue 10 of The Journal was produced as large format newsprint instead of a printed bound magazine to better indicate to consumers that it is a free publication. It effectively presents the brand ethos and highlights the organization’s appreciation for travel and exploration.

Close-up preview of the African Heritage Month timeline

African Heritage Month Timeline — Halifax Public Libraries 

Judge’s Pick

The African Heritage Month Timeline is a noteworthy piece of visual communication. It beautifully combines content and imagery from differing sources in a cohesive and visually appealing format while remaining simple and informative. The typography honours the subject matter and is elegant and understated. The piece also integrates aspects of the Halifax Public Library’s branding in a subtle and appropriate manner. Those elements, combined with its production method and the consideration of the environment in which it was installed, make it a perfect example of effective, compelling in-house design.

– Chris Govias

A timeline of significant events was designed to educate the public on the achievements and contributions of African Nova Scotians starting at the year 1605 and continuing to Present Day, with research compiled by African Nova Scotian community members. The inclusion of both photos and graphics in the design helped bring the subject matter to life and the display was adapted into a printed takeaway available across all 14 libraries.

still shot of the We Are U Calgary video. Shows two women looking at paintings in an art gallery with the caption "we are creativity"

‘We Are UCalgary’ Video — University of Calgary

Judge’s Pick

The UCalgary video has the perfect combination of graphics and footage. The music is punchy and upbeat which makes it very engaging from start to finish. It gives a real glimpse of what it’s like to be a student at UCalgary in 45 seconds. If I was a student I would be very proud to be a member of that community!

– Donna Graffi-Smith RGD

To capture UCalgary’s bold, youthful and vibrant spirit, inspire pride within the community and drive engagement with the University, the team created a story around five of the institution’s key attributes: Curiosity, Discovery, Creativity, Community and Energy. The cadence of the video was customized to create a quirky and energetic vibe and inspiring images were chosen to communicate the breadth of experiences at the university. Using existing video footage from the university’s homepage, the video uses dynamic, punchy cuts and playful animation to set the tone.

still shot of the "See Yourself Outside" Video. Shows a woman sitting on a couch in the woods, looking to her phone

‘See Yourself Outside’ Video — Mountain Equipment Coop

Judge’s Pick

This is a timely project that highlights one human’s story in a ‘humans centered approach to impactful communication design. The simple message of inclusion is multi-faceted, recognizing people of colour, women and outdoors-people who contribute to the massive outdoor recreation industry. The video highlights a business opportunity and invites the audience to engage in a broader conversation about changing social norms, gradually planting the seed towards movement-building. It touches both the head and the soul, apropos of the content itself — the magic of the great outdoors. This duality is evident throughout the video. The images of technology and urban landscape vs the forest and trails; the images of the current mono-culture marketing vs the reality of the polychromatic outdoor recreation market. The abruptness to which these elements are introduced well serves the tension that is the basis for this important work. I have so much respect for Judith Kasiama and her courage to recognize and challenge the norm. Bravo to MEC for reaching out and seizing the opportunity to help the world see and act differently. “See Yourself Outside” is the type of storytelling and purpose-driven communication that showcases the incredible power of design.

– Grace Hwang

The video challenges the viewer’s perception of indoors and outdoors, breaking down walls to tell the whole story and showcase people of colour living active lifestyles without tokenizing specific activities or moments. The video was timed prior to the holiday season to avoid hitting an oversaturated market and ensure that the message would receive the attention it deserves.
The team continues to receive feedback from members about their excitement at seeing representation and inclusion in the outdoor industry.