Established in 2012, Destination British Columbia is a “Crown” corporation — meaning it belongs to the state — that works with “tourism stakeholders across the province to coordinate marketing at the international, provincial, regional and local levels.” Luckily, British Columbia can market itself to even the most nature-fearing-hating human on earth with its amazing and vast geography. Still, Destination BC must do its job and to do it better they have recently introduced a new identity. No design credit given, other than they mention working with “branding professionals”.
A very lengthy corporate strategy document for the new brand can be found here; if you are into destination branding stuff, this is really good.
Our brand is built upon BC’s true nature, which is vast, diverse, abundant, awe-inspiring and powerful. It draws inspiration from the rugged coastline, the rainforest’s unstoppable exuberance, the haunting beauty of the desert, the mighty rivers, grassy plains and massive mountain ranges.
At the core of our brand is the brand essence: wild at heart. This speaks to a truth about our target audience: they have a deep appreciation of nature and while they may lead successful and accomplished lives, there is a part within them that forever craves a connection to the wild. It is in the wild that they are reminded of what is real and what really matters, and the true nature of beauty and freedom.
After a comprehensive research and review process, we learned that our brand tagline itself — Super, Natural British Columbia — continues to resonate strongly with travellers. However, we came to realise there is an opportunity for the right brand positioning to bring out the emotional strength of this tagline in deeper and more powerful ways.
The previous logo, with poor man’s clip art, was so bad… but a pat on its head for trying. Rather than trying to show sea, mountains, and sun in a logo, the new logo goes for a typographic allegory — I just made that up — of nature in its, well, natural state, with a rough-hewn custom font that looks like something one would carve on a tree… which is kind of a douchebag move to nature, but I think you get the idea. The long wordmark, by the way, is not a logo per se for Destination British Columbia, it’s more the equivalent of New York State’s “I Love NY” tagline/logo. While the PDF informs us that the tagline has good recognition I find it really hard to sound out but I guess research is research. Back to the logo: it’s cool. I definitely buy it as a quick representation of what I associate with BC. The letterforms are interesting and most of the lock-ups of the pairs work well. I also really like the subtle use of the maple leaf and it being the only burst of color in the logo.
To create a magnetic brand, we needed to use every available tool to produce arresting communications that stop consumers in their tracks. With this mandate, selecting a typeface that anyone could use didn’t seem good enough to represent the voice of our brand. So…we created our own. It is a proprietary font of Destination BC, and with the full implementation of the font family, it elevates from the sea of static, traditional typefaces and over-quirky, hand-painted letters to something that encapsulates our positioning of Cultured and Raw.
The custom font I feel like you either love or hate, based on your level of appreciation for rough-edged and/or interlocking letters. I support both, so I find it engaging and a great strategy to build a brand around a destination.
I usually don’t include color palette images but I found it refreshing that the colors are not bright and retina-probing.
There isn’t much to see in application, but the premise is simple: beautiful photographs of British Columbia, endorsing logo somewhere, Great Forest font where possible. It’s hard to wrong and they had me at “Super”. Comma.
Thanks to Harry Olson for the tip.