BlackCAN’s new look and feel to help attract rising Black stars in politics

Black Voters Matter Canada has an important objective to encourage more Black people in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Northwest Territories to get involved in politics.

It’s the kind of organization that Juniper Park\TBWA wanted to help when it launched Trampoline last year. Its goal is to help BIPOC-run organizations with their branding, while also providing work opportunities for young BIPOC creatives. It accomplished both by working on a new name and visual identity for Black Voters Matter Canada that was introduced earlier this month.

Now known as BlackCAN (for Civic Action Network), the new look and feel, led by Juniper Park\TBWA’s design arm Le Parc, is meant to portray the progressive, welcoming and inspirational message at the organization’s core. “BlackCAN has such an important mission in our Canadian political landscape, and we are proud to help equip them with an inspiring-looking image and brand toolkit,” said Le Parc creative director Nathalie Cusson.

This is the second project from Trampoline, which completed new branding and advertising for Neale’s Sweet N’ Nice Ice Cream earlier this year. Part of the Trampoline program includes three-month paid internships to aspiring BIPOC creatives each quarter. Two of those interns have been hired to full-time roles, including designer Vuoni Unuigbe, who worked on the BlackCAN rebranding.

“It was a wonderful project to work on simply because we need more Black voices,” she said. “Everyone deserves to feel heard, represented and empowered in their communities, and in the politics affecting their lives. With this in mind, we approached this project aiming to showcase the welcoming, innovative and progressive nature of BlackCAN.”

Cusson worked as creative director on the project, and The Message asked her to explain some of the ideas and thinking behind the new branding.

The Logo: “When we first met with the clients, one member, Nigel Amenu-Tekaa, mentioned that the black star on the flag of his father’s country (Ghana) represented Black people. We explored a few symbols, but the star was a figure that came up a lot. While crafting the star, designer Vuoni Unuigbe decomposed the form and maneuvered it to naturally fit a compass shape within it.

“For us, it was the perfect symbol for guidance, as a north star, but also for the rising stars of our Canadian political landscape. The star is tipped a few degrees to the left, pointing towards Northwest Canada, a nod to the area where most members of BlackCAN currently operate from.”

“Being open is an important value for BlackCAN. Although the symbol, word-mark and graphics are strong looking, all sharp edges have been rounded for a welcoming, friendly feel.”

Highlighting the people: “Further design deconstruction of the star led us to a unique shape that is now the double corner graphic that highlights people or bold statements in communications. It’s one more tool that BlackCAN has already put to use on their social channels.”

Colour Palette: “In the world of politics, a lot of colours are associated with various parties. Red, blue, orange and green were off the list from the starting point. We presented options in turquoise, and yellow.

“The organization had been using black and yellow up until the rebrand, so this combo felt like some equity was retained for the new identity. Turquoise was kept as a secondary, highlight colour.”


David Brown