Located 16 miles and about 25 minutes (in current traffic as of this writing) from downtown Toronto, Mississauga is one of Canada’s most fledgling cities having tripled its population to 745,000 since its formation in 1974 becoming the sixth largest city in the country while hosting “54,000 businesses, 62 leading Fortune 500 companies, 2 leading community hospitals, and 2 post-secondary institutions”. A vibrant downtown, outdoor space to frolic, diverse population, and great media coverage have all contributed to Mississauga’s desirability. Last month, the City of Mississauga introduced a new identity designed by its own Communications Creative Services team with the brand’s goal to “help build civic pride among residents and communicate to key audiences why they should choose Mississauga to live, work, invest, play, study, and visit.” A microsite for the brand story has plenty of background and information.
In order to communicate and promote this compelling brand story to audiences — both locally and globally — Mississauga needs a bold fresh new logo and visual identity. The new Mississauga logo is a strong, open and bold logo that will communicate the excitement, diversity and promise of Mississauga’s story in an innovative and unique way. The three triangles form an open, bold, modern and future focussed ‘M’.
Our logo is deeply rooted in the idea of growth. We are a young City and are on the cusp of something big, of finding our voice, our identity. The open spaces in the design embody the spirit and possibility of a young city that continues to build and shape its story and future.
Comparisons to the City of Melbourne identity are inevitable: both feature an extended “M” made up of connected vertices, both utilize “facets” in its application, and both, well, they look alike. This is by no means an implication that the team at the City of Mississauga set out to appropriate or steal the Melbourne identity; the groundwork in their research and all their rationalization makes perfect sense and you can see how they arrived at the solution but you can’t help but wonder if in all that research about branding and specifically about city branding no one saw the Melbourne stuff and thought “Wait, this looks similar, don’t it?”. For better or worse, Landor and Melbourne have pretty much ruined this approach for everyone else, since that’s the project we all think about when we see similar solutions. With that out of the way, let’s move on…
The previous logo, designed in 1987, made Mississauga look solely like a industrial port town. Not an overly exciting place to want to live, work, or study. Plus, how about that “G”? They don’t teach you that in design school. The new logo is clearly for a contemporary place — it doesn’t quite communicate all the ambitious messages that the city outlines but it’s definitely in the appropriate realm of city branding. The connected “M” makes for a nice monogram; it would have benefitted from some ink-trapping in the upper corners to avoid the condensation of vector points. The typography solves the counterspace issues with the “A”s by replacing the uppercase letters with lowercase “a”s. It works visually, but I have always hated the unicase approach on logos.
Mississauga’s brand expression comes to life in its new identity system. Its versatile colour palette echoes our rich diversity. The custom typography adds both warmth and distinction.
Multiple colour facets and shades reflect our communities and our vibrancy. This approach will allow more playfulness and flexibility to the brand.
In application the faceted approach comes in full force and we’ve seen this so many times now, not just on the City of Melbourne stuff but projects like NETGEAR, that there is simply no pleasure in seeing it again. Overall, it’s a competent identity that places Mississauga in the 2010s but comes up short in some visual innovation.
Thanks to Stanley Huang for the tip.