The competition, which requested speculative work from post-secondary students, was met with strong opposition from the national design community including the RGD Student Committee's #MyTimeHasValue protest on social media and a petition created by the GDC voicing the industry's concerns.
"While the Student Committee is disappointed that the Canadian government chose to ignore the overwhelming opinion of the audience they claim to be supporting, we remain excited and enthusiastic about the overwhelming response to the #MyTimeHasValue campaign," says RGD Student Committee Chair Sam Campbell. "The vast majority of design students in Canada have spoken and our commitment to design ethics and excellence will be what shapes the future of the industry."
RGD also reached out directly to Minister of Canadian Heritage Shelly Glover but received no response.
"Unfortunately the government doesn’t seem to value our students’ time, nor do they value the process which is involved in the creation of good design," says RGD President Stussy Tschudin. "By ignoring voices from the design community, this contest has resulted in 300 students putting in effort which will receive no public recognition of any kind, with zero educational benefit to the students."
The response to the logo itself has been mixed. "Some have gone on the record to say they 'like' it. 'Like' isn't good enough. This was an opportunity to create something meaningful and memorable that would resonate with all Canadians for years to come. This was an opportunity to create a rallying symbol for who we want to be the next 50 years," says Adam Antoszek-Rallo RGD. "As a nation, we should be celebrating and promoting our excellence whenever the opportunity presents itself. This was one such opportunity, for international attention and investment in our design industry. The government has revealed $45,000 in spending to date, and there are likely other expenses in administering the program. The contest yielded a reported 300 entries, and if we assume that each entrant spent approximately 2 business days of work, that adds 4800 man-hours drained from the Canadian economy. That’s an extremely high price to pay for a logo decried as mediocre by professional designers, design educators, and design students across the country, and at best, will be ignored by the rest of the world."
The winning entry also shares notable similarities with the mark designed by Stuart Ash, RGD Emeritus for the 1967 Centennial.
"The contest has resulted in a version sameness that falls short of what Canada's design community is capable of," says RGD Past-President Lionel Gadoury. "Just as there are times when our greatest doctors - or lawyers, accountants, engineers or architects - are required, there are times when the focused attention of professional designers is warranted. If, as Canadians, we want to achieve the best, we need to set the mark high and work with professionals capable of delivering to the highest standard. Success may be achieved by a designer who is employed in-house, in an agency, or as a sole practitioner, but not by cutting corners and circumventing professional practices. With the rollout of this campaign, millions of dollars will now be spent on high-priced media buys, public relations and marketing consultants and millions more are at stake for merchandising rights - all on the backs of the 300 students whose time and value has been exploited."
RGD continues to focus on its efforts to educate the business, government and the public on why requests for speculative work does not produce effective design solutions and explain the value of working with professional designers. This includes developing tools for colleges and instructors to respond to business requests for in-class spec competitions and ensure students have opportunities to work with industry in non-exploitative, educational ways.
"I hope this reminds professional designers that we all need to actively call out requests for spec work—not just ignore them," says RGD VP of Ethics Julian Brown. "Don’t participate, encourage young designers to speak out against them and email/tweet RGD to receive the support of the Association to educate and instruct clients on best practices for selecting and working with designers."
For details on on-going advocacy efforts by the Association, go to www.rgd.ca/about/advocacy.php
Join the continued conversation on the Canada 150 Logo Contest by posting your comments to RGD's LinkedIn Group Discussion.