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BY Armin

Gimme an M!

Greater Montreal Logo, New

Through the Communauté métropolitaine de Montréal, Greater Montréal released in late October a new identity to brand the region, as part of its economic development strategy. The result is a contemporary M monogram that is divided in five parts to represent the five sectors that compose Greater Montréal and, in greater detail: “With its solid three-point footing, the monogram echoes the population’s roots and pragmatism. Its stylized and friendly curves reflect the straightforward and warm welcome offered by the region’s residents. Its modular interior can be easily adapted to display Greater Montréal’s many levels of diversity (geographic, economic, cultural, community, etc.).” The concept of dividing a logo as a patchwork of colors, textures and images isn’t anything new and it can apply to any city or corporation in the world, but in this case it is at least very well executed and handsome. The typography is very nice too and the whole program is cohesive and engaging, and it can all be seen at the web site linked aboved.

Thanks to Yotam Hadar for the tip. And apologies for the extra brevity or apparent hurriedness of this post; still traveling and with limited time and internet access.

Entry Information

DATE: Jan.05.2009|CAT: Destinations| 58


Comments Jump to Most Recent Comment

Remy Overkempe’s comment is:

This is a really beautiful logo, and even though I agree with you that it's not exactly new, it is nicely executed.

On Jan.05.2009 at 10:27 AM

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Darrel’s comment is:

The descriptive quote is BS, but the mark is quite nice.

On Jan.05.2009 at 10:28 AM

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Scott’s comment is:

I do not agree.

On Jan.05.2009 at 10:48 AM

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Josh’s comment is:

*Scratches head, shrugs shoulders, moves along.

On Jan.05.2009 at 10:54 AM

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Willis’s comment is:

I was non-plussed until visiting the website. A) Gorgeous web design work. B) This makes things much more interesting. Very, very nice execution.

On Jan.05.2009 at 11:00 AM

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Lawrence Anderson’s comment is:

I think the divisions could have been done with a bit more variation. Concept seems solid, but in its current form it already looks dated.

On Jan.05.2009 at 11:02 AM

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Kevin’s comment is:

I agree, it doesn't look ground-breaking, but what really does nowadays? The execution on the website looks great though, and gives this mark far more of a reason for being and weight behind the concept. Although I'm afraid this appears very trendy and will be dated rather quickly.

On Jan.05.2009 at 11:46 AM

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Chris DeLorenzo’s comment is:

I remember one of my teachers always told me that when designing a logo always remind myself about what it will look like reduced to black and white inside a phonebook. Although it is tough to part with the wisdom of the pure and true form of the old communication designers. Now, I have to remind myself when designing a logo to not only think about it in a phone book, but also its life on-screen and its level of interaction. As we have seen with Obama's campaign logo last year, it not the age of the rigid, unmovable logo anymore, it is the age of the adapting logo.

On Jan.05.2009 at 12:14 PM

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Rob’s comment is:

being from Montreal, this logo SUCKS!!! it says NOTHING about Montrealers as a whole, it says NOTHING about the island/region/area. I'm seriously disappointed in this "logo". not to mention the fact that it's an UGLY looking M, it's oddly unbalanced in my opinion and it looks incredibily amateurish.

i'm probably being a little bit harsher on it then most being from Montreal, but i honestly feel this is a waste of money that won't stand the test of time.

On Jan.05.2009 at 12:30 PM

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Glenn Sakamoto’s comment is:

Very nice!

On Jan.05.2009 at 12:35 PM

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Paulo’s comment is:

I feel that the font, colors are modern and the segmentation of the letter M gives it a visual interest. But it will look dated and confusing when they use segmented M with images inside of it with a busy background.

On Jan.05.2009 at 12:49 PM

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Kevin’s comment is:

Rob brings up a very good point.

I don't think I hold an opinion of what would represent the city of Montreal and it's inhabitants best, but this isn't it.

On Jan.05.2009 at 12:58 PM

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Jim MacLeod’s comment is:

My agency is currently working on a brand redesign for a city (obviously not as big as Montreal) and we've been using this as an example of what not to do. Especially when it comes to the time (two years) and cost ($487,000) associated with this redesign.

On Jan.05.2009 at 01:01 PM

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Darrin Crescenzi’s comment is:

The letterform itself seems a bit schizophrenic, with the circular endings on the legs and an an oblong vertex on the baseline, very sharp center joins, and three different types of corners at the cap height.

There's a great idea here, but since there's really nothing beautiful or nuanced about that M it makes the whole thing fall a little short for me.

On Jan.05.2009 at 01:21 PM

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Bruce’s comment is:

I agree with Willis that the website helps make sense of the mark, but a good mark shouldn't need that. I'm underwhelmed, especially by the colors--too Caribbean or childish.

On Jan.05.2009 at 01:35 PM

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damon’s comment is:

I don't really feel this one.

and it sure doesn't say Montreal to me (I'm from toronto, and go there pretty often)

On Jan.05.2009 at 01:43 PM

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Garrett Moon’s comment is:

Beautiful and simple mark, I think. Maybe not revolutionary by itself, but it certainly provides a valuable example of how a good mark can adapt to it's surroundings. The website really breaths a lot of life into this.

On Jan.05.2009 at 02:17 PM

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jRod’s comment is:

ummm... i like the 3rd one down in Willis' comment. those colors on grey are outstanding. would have worked fine for me...

On Jan.05.2009 at 02:21 PM

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Dylan ’s comment is:

Looks like a logo for a 1970's educational films company.

Not progressive and ugly.

On Jan.05.2009 at 02:28 PM

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Darrel’s comment is:

"being from Montreal, this logo SUCKS!!! it says NOTHING about Montrealers as a whole, it says NOTHING about the island/region/area."

You're asking a logo to do a lot. Logos don't necessarily do that. The overall brand should, to some extent, but the logo isn't meant to do that. It's merely the icon to represent the overall brand once established.

On Jan.05.2009 at 03:14 PM

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Dale Campbell’s comment is:

I really like how versatile it is, but then again I suppose you could put any of that content in any sort of shape.

The logo alone - I tend to think it's mediocrity at best.

On Jan.05.2009 at 03:40 PM

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Paddy C’s comment is:

I live in Ottawa (2 hours' drive from Montreal).

I agree with Rob. This doesn't say Montreal to me and, from a visitor's perspective, doesn't give much of an idea of what to expect.

This looks like a 1970s reject that needs to go on a diet. Or a hangover from the '76 olympics.

Montreal is a vibrant, historical, and cultural centre. I would have expected something more avant-garde like the 2012 London logo.

On Jan.05.2009 at 04:41 PM

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Kodie’s comment is:

I don't like it. I don't like the round bouncy short fat legs of the M, and I think the color patches enhances the "Partridge Family" theme sequence indicated by the points at the top, especially the left one. I'm always hearing about what a great city Montreal is, and this logo doesn't make a tight match with that information. Maybe I would like it better for public transportation signage.

On Jan.05.2009 at 05:00 PM

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Andrea’s comment is:

My first thought was The Partridge Family.


The bird illustrations remind me of this logo.

On Jan.05.2009 at 05:08 PM

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Darrel’s comment is:

I've never branded a city. Not sure that I'd want to.

I have to imagine that the design brief for nearly every city redesign project ends up with the same exact requirements. It must be 'vibrant' and communicate our 'progressive community' and the 'varied citizens and business' and 'cultural heritage' and 'ideal geography' and...

Sans a very specific geological or man-made landmark, I can't say I expect a logo, by itself, to tell me everything about a city. For if that's what you want, you tend to end up with the 'seal' designed by a committee:

Now, seals have a purpose, but they're not logos. And logos shouldn't have to do what a seal does. Use the right tool for the job.

On Jan.05.2009 at 05:08 PM

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Jun’s comment is:

May i check with you guys the principle typeface in this identity? it looks like sauna or something, elighten me please. Btw i like the overall design of this identity, though the logo still looks a lil clumsy to me

On Jan.05.2009 at 10:23 PM

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Scott’s comment is:

It's fun. But the fuschia has to go!

Though, it doesn't compare to the city's most famous (and beautiful) logo:


On Jan.06.2009 at 01:03 AM

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Nate’s comment is:

Do the rounded edges on the "M," mean that Montrealians cut a lot of corners?

On Jan.06.2009 at 01:36 AM

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designscene’s comment is:

there doesn't seem to be any cultural context. it does not reflect anything about the city, or country.

On Jan.06.2009 at 06:06 AM

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Bruce’s comment is:


I've always admired the economy of the bird figures in the Partridge Family mark. Elegant.

Back to our regularly-scheduled discussion.

On Jan.06.2009 at 08:45 AM

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Andrew Harrington’s comment is:

A logo shouldn't have to tell you all about what it represents; it simply needs to represent it. Does the Apple logo tell you at all about what the company does? No, but it has represented the company so successfully for so long that when you see this Apple, you associate it with the electronics company we're all familiar with. Likewise, this logo has no equity at this point, but if Montreal hits a growth spurt, many people will associate this mark with Montreal because this is the image that represents it.

On Jan.06.2009 at 01:45 PM

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gagp’s comment is:

IMHO you can tell a logo is well executed when it "means" ou "tells" something without its creator's quote explaining what it is...

And when I first saw this one I thought: «What the ... is this ugly patched M?"

Not inspiring, very confusing and abstract.

If you HAVE to explain it then there's something wrong...

On Jan.06.2009 at 01:50 PM

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Darrel’s comment is:

"If you HAVE to explain it then there's something wrong."

Which goes way back to my first comment.

There's the execution of the logo, and then there's the marketing team's press release flowery and bullshitty language. It's frustrating to read the latter, but I don't think that's necessarily a fair attack on the former.

Again, a logo rarely needs to literally say something concrete. As Andrew states, it's a representative. Sometimes literal, but more often than not, just 'in spirit'.

The brand does the heavy lifting. The logo keeps it together.

On Jan.06.2009 at 03:13 PM

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the macho man’s comment is:

i like the m. it shows good symmetry. that m could be the macho man's new logo. thumbs up to the designers

On Jan.06.2009 at 04:58 PM

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Nate’s comment is:

…or does the patchwork of colors mean Montreal is racially divided?

On Jan.07.2009 at 12:19 AM

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Mark’s comment is:

cool M what was the previous logo?

On Jan.07.2009 at 12:21 AM

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Manolis Gerasidis’s comment is:

by Pentagram

On Jan.07.2009 at 09:35 AM

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chris d’s comment is:

Garrish colours. The letter is composed of ugly, fat, unbalanced shapes. The rounded top-left corner of the M is all the more distracting because it is not repeated on its parallel stroke.

I don't like it.

On Jan.07.2009 at 11:05 AM

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gagp’s comment is:

"Again, a logo rarely needs to literally say something concrete. As Andrew states, it's a representative."

Maybe not necesseraly "concrete" but nontheless SOMETHING! And what does it "represent" without the explanations? Nothing for me. That's my "non-professionnal", consumer, targeted audience point of view...

On Jan.07.2009 at 01:06 PM

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Brad’s comment is:

Chameleon's are fun.


On Jan.07.2009 at 01:58 PM

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Kuratowa’s comment is:

Funny, when you added the eyes I see birds drinking, not chameleons.

gagp, again, this m is an absract icon in one of its most pure forms. There are icons that are literal translations of an attribute, and ones that are not. How does an Apple convey computer products? How does a swoosh represent running shoes?

On Jan.07.2009 at 04:48 PM

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Kodie’s comment is:

The apple and the swoosh are both attractive. Apple doesn't say computer per se, but knowledge, fiber, A is for (this is where we begin). Swoosh doesn't say running per se, but it suggests movement in a way the Adidas stripes don't. Even before there was Air Jordan, it suggests air. When you run, you can fly, not like those Pumas that hold you back. Plus, they're attractive.

This M is so ugly. It's just an M. A lot of things start with M. Montreal, you are five sections. Montreal, you are like a caterpillar. Montreal, your name starts with M. What does this say that's attractive about Montreal? That is how it differs from Apple and Nike. This doesn't make me want to find out more about Montreal. This does not make me think Montreal is all that good a place to visit or live. It's adequate like most cities, but not as good as I had heard. Has it gone downhill? Will I be sorry I planned to go there now? Did I miss the good days? That's what this logo suggests to me. I'm sorry for Montreal that their city bought this logo because it's hideous.

On the plus side, I wasn't going there anyway, anytime soon, so this logo had no absolute negative alterations on my traveling plans vis-a-vis Montreal.

On Jan.07.2009 at 06:25 PM

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meeeems’s comment is:

I Agree with Kodie's comment above...The logo looks like a last-ditch effort to demonstrate that the city is not going 'down-hill'.

Montreal however, is a great city; a simpler logo might have played on the actual mountain peak that the city is already known for. Instead this looks like it's trying to re-invent the wheel; casting the city as a sleek Modern Metropolis... or Monorail.

On Jan.08.2009 at 12:06 AM

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Ted’s comment is:

Yes, I really can't stand the logo either. What I find strange is that there's so much tasteful design coming out of Montreal, and then this comes along.

On Jan.08.2009 at 10:36 AM

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Darrel’s comment is:

Logos can say a lot about the company/product/service, but they don't have to say anything, either. And something as broad in scope as a brand for a major metropolitan area is perhaps better served with a representative who can then connect all the various brand elements targeting all the various demographics.

On Jan.08.2009 at 10:52 AM

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OMEN’s comment is:

I really like this logo. One of the best I've seen in a while. I feel that it's quite bold, contemporary, and approachable, without feeling cliche. The execution actually reminds me of the NYC logo; but I really like that one too.

On Jan.08.2009 at 04:14 PM

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Neil’s comment is:

I think this logo does work, actually. I love the idea of putting other visual elements within the logo. A similar idea to the London 2012 Olympics.

What I've found with that particular logo is that I hated it when I came out, but that over time, I've begun to enjoy it. I think it'll be the same with this logo too.

On Jan.09.2009 at 04:06 AM

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Jose roseva’s comment is:

It´s a wise and professional work, although it doesn't convey any of the substantial qualities of Montreal, is a letter M clear enough to represent the whole concept? I would like to see other alternatives less dated and more edgy

On Jan.09.2009 at 10:22 AM

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Darrel’s comment is:

"Montreal, is a letter M clear enough to represent the whole concept?"

(sounding like a broken record...) NO! It is not. That's not the purpose of the logo. That's the purpose of the overall brand system and marketing initiative.


On Jan.09.2009 at 10:35 AM

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chris d’s comment is:

Montréal is such a beautiful and distinct word, while the letter 'M' is so generic. I think a wordmark of the entire name would've worked so much better...

On Jan.09.2009 at 04:46 PM

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Sinoun’s comment is:

A lot of Montrealers actually do not like this logo. They (or we) feel that it was way too expensive, and completely missed the mark. Shortly after the unveiling, The Gazette featured a story on alternative logo designs that might have better represented our city - done by elementary school kids, for free.

On Jan.10.2009 at 10:32 PM

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Andre’s comment is:

I think a few distinctions need to be made regarding the intended use of this mark. It is not, as many have assumed, a new logo for the City of Montreal. The city already has a logo for its own municipal affairs, (one I and many Montrealers have a particular fondness for: the rosette) as well as a wordmark/campaign used to promote tourism.

As Armin stated, this 'M' was commissioned by the CMM, which covers an area that stretches beyond the Island of Montreal itself to municipalities from the south shore to the north shore, as part of its economic development strategy. It's meant as a unifying mark for a very large and disparate area. As I understand it from the website's FAQ section, it will accompany a municipality's existing logo, presumably to show that each individual burrow is strengthened by its close ties with the other burrows that form the CMM. As such, its audience is likely to be potential investors and partners outside Montreal and around the world, and not the public at large. And from what I know of municipal politics in the area, the M-mark is probably expected to fullfill the difficult mandate of helping the entire region benefit from Montreal's higher profile, without obliterating each municipality's unique flavour and identity.

Unfortunately, we won't get to really see it in action just yet. The website states that full implementation will only come in 2010.

On Jan.11.2009 at 01:59 AM

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darrel’s comment is:

"They (or we) feel that it was way too expensive, and completely missed the mark. Shortly after the unveiling, The Gazette featured a story on alternative logo designs that might have better represented our city - done by elementary school kids, for free."

That seems to sum up the reaction to every single community/college rebranding project posted on Brand New, it seems.

In summary:
- people hate change
- people assume the entire cost of the brand design and implementation went to the actual designer holding the pencil
- my kid can design way batter than these silly professionals


On Jan.12.2009 at 01:06 PM

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Andre’s comment is:


Please forgive my previous post's (lagomorphic) typos.

On Jan.12.2009 at 03:08 PM

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T-Bone’s comment is:

I remember reading about the local outrage following the launch of this. I like it, it's simple and flexible – and like OMEN said, similar in execution to the very cool NYC logo.

On Jan.13.2009 at 07:44 PM

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AJ Kandy’s comment is:

I was a bit unsure about it when it first launched, but it's quite grown on me. As a logo for the metropolitan region, it's fun, playful, colourful, and modern -- all characteristics you'd associate with Montrealers.

The city proper adopted Univers around the time of Expo 67, and reinforced that in the '76 Olympics - it's the official Metro signage font, and for years was also the municipal typeface -- probably picking up from Otl Aicher's use of it on the 72 and 76 Olympic graphic designs. The city spent a couple hundred thousand dollars to redo the civic logo (the rosette) -- they kept the rosette but changed the font to Rotis. Nice reference back to Aicher (who designed it) but...really?

On Jan.14.2009 at 04:30 PM

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Martin L'Allier’s comment is:

I'm also from the city.

The monogram M can work. In French when we say love, we use the word “aime” which phonetically is the same as the letter M.

That being said. I feel the visual communication we see only says one thing about Montréal: fun. It's not bad, not at all. But when promoting a region we also might want to say that it's efficient, gets the work done, … These elements might have been communicated with a more rationnal accompanying text and heading font. Right now it's a rounded, childish font, a bit tight and closed, not very nice to look at.

Again, to me these are nuances. It's not timeless, but this logo can work -- even if a few years down the road somebody else will bill another insulting $487,000. A normal fee for, I guess an international corporation, but for a regional organisation, such an amount for a branding is just out .

Is it just me but this background http://www.brandinggreatermontreal.com/documents/images/Entetes/Actualites.jpg looks like a copy of the designs of the H&FJ printed catalog?

On Jan.28.2009 at 09:35 PM

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Robert Cantin’s comment is:


On Feb.12.2009 at 11:22 AM

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As we move into a new chapter of Brand New — and a new commenting mechanism — all posts published before June 2009 have been closed for comments.

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