Located on the Eastern side of Canada and the capital of the province of Nova Scotia, Halifax is a modestly-sized and well-regarded location to live, work, and travel — home to 400,000 people across 200 urban, suburban, and rural communities. Officially known as the Halifax Regional Municipality (HRM) since 1996 when the cities of Halifax, Bedford, Dartmouth, and Lawrencetown merged into a single governmental entity. Now, after a consultation and review process with over 20,000 people, the public name representing HRM will be Halifax with a new brand promise to “Be Bold” and a new identity, all led by Bedford, Nova Scotia-based Revolve. A microsite with more information can be found here.
The brand promise within the strategy reflects a very clear and common sentiment amongst residents — that Halifax must be dynamic, optimistic and, ultimately, bold in its approach to welcoming visitors, newcomers and business investment to Halifax.
“Be Bold” is the brand promise — not a tagline or slogan.
The new Halifax logo is bold in its simplicity. Like our region, the logo is not cluttered, over-embellished or contrived. Its strength is in its simplicity, and its simplicity makes a bold statement. Clean, geometric lines bring quiet strength, energy and balance. It has subtle nods to upward momentum and forward progress. While the colour palette is based on bright colours from our local environment and nature, the base colours are shades of blue, which represent our many lakes, the ocean and the sky.
The previous logo clearly alluded to the harbor-centric nature of Halifax with the lighthouse “i” and wavy lines underneath; not a terribly exciting logo but it was fairly clear. The new logo is far more abstract in that regard, opting for the subtle color cues of the “ocean, lakes, and sky” to trigger associations with its sea-side location. Other than that, the logo follows the new trend of destination branding to be as ambiguous as possible and look more like a corporation than a community. Execution-wise, the logo is sort of okay when applied with the half-colored approach but when used as a single color there is not much of interest in the wordmark — and that poor “X” will forever be left floating on the far right side.
To complement the identity — two overlapping X’s from the Halifax logo create a unique geometric design feature similar to a compass rose — and nod to our historic nautical past. This design feature produces multiple configurations of angles and colour combinations for a variety of applications with and without the logo — each time creating a unique, undeniable energy that gives a sense of direction and forward movement.
Not to be outdone by fellow Canadian destination, Mississauga, Halifax also sports a faceted, geometric shape and pattern that looks like almost every other faceted, geometric shape and pattern. It’s fine, really, but it’s also well-trodden territory. Overall, the identity is a proper utility for unifying the region but replace “Halifax” with any other city name and you get the same results.
Thanks to Kyle Evans for the tip.