McGill introduces ‘Made by McGill’ brand platform marking 200th anniversary

Who: McGill University and Sid Lee

What: “Made by McGill,” a new brand platform and “rallying cry” marking the Montreal university’s 200th anniversary, while at the same time outlining its vision for the future.

When & Where: In addition to videos and a dedicated website, there’s also a wide-ranging design system featuring apparel, brochures and exterior signage. Sid Lee worked with Montreal type foundry Coppers & Brasses to create a new typeface, as well as Harris Made to design an original McGill scarf, and Format on its new brochures.

Why: Intended to unite students, faculty, staff alumni and donors around the world, the platform and its campaign elements celebrate the school’s history. There’s also a large fundraising component—part of an effort to raise $2 billion.

How: The campaign is built around two videos, including an anthem spot that opens with a series of quick-cuts of McGill graduates—described as “dreamers and risk-takers,” and “makers and big thinkers”—who helped shape the university’s identity during its first two centuries. The group includes Leonard Cohen, Montreal Canadiens goalie Ken Dryden and basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith.


The video then transitions to the present day, juxtaposing images of McGill’s students and teachers with life in Montreal, before concluding with the tagline “We are made by McGill.”

The fundraising video, meanwhile, opens with a voiceover stating that “The future is waiting to be made.” It features testimonials from McGill students and professors, and concludes with the tagline “Made possible by you” and links to a dedicated microsite. Both videos were made by and exclusively feature “McGillians.”

And we quote: “Made by McGill is an invitation for McGill’s trailblazers, dreamers and innovators to come together to make it theirs. It embodies the resilience, strength, determination and optimism that is core to the character of McGillians past, present and future.” —Professor Suzanne Fortier, principal and vice-chancellor, McGill University.




Chris Powell