Established in 1990 as the Canadian Curling Association, the newly renamed Curling Canada is, as its name very much implies, the governing body of the sport of curling in Canada, whose mission is to “encourage and facilitate the growth and development of curling in cooperation with our network of affiliates”. Curling Canada organizes a number of events and championships throughout the year and oversees the national teams competing in the Olympics, where they are currently the top team having won gold at the Sochi 2014 Games in men’s, women’s, and wheelchair curling. In February, along with the name change, Curling Canada introduced a new identity designed by Vancouver-based Hulse & Durrell.
The new emblem was inspired by shield iconography found on provincial badges, club patches, trophies, banners, and most importantly, on the national governing body’s emblem dating back to the mid-1900s. The new emblem conveys the essential information without words — creating an iconic emblem for an iconically Canadian sport. The rebrand also introduces a name change. Formerly the Canadian Curling Association, Curling Canada is memorable, modern and fully bilingual.
Starting with the name change — which now doesn’t require a French and English version or a double-language wordmark — this is a fantastic update. The old logo gets credit for creativity and effort, trying to embed a curler inside the maple leaf but its execution left a lot to be desired. Copperplate Gothic as the name didn’t help much. The new logo is so simple it hurts. The obligatory maple leaf is there as the foundation of the nicely-shaped crest and the stone sits on top, perfectly drawn and balanced in size and placement. There is no high concept, no fancy design moves. It’s just Curling. Canada. Done.
The choice of Hoefler & Co.’s Knockout is interesting. I’ve always thought of Knockout as a kind of primitive-looking font (as it relates to old wood type) so it matches well with a sport that dates back to the mid 1700s in Canada and is a fairly primitive premise: Hey, let’s throw heavy-ass rocks over ice! Using the 49-Liteweight exclusively brings a great level of consistency.
In application, the identity channels the sport’s rink based on a technical drawing of a curling sheet, using thin rules in the layouts and the “house” (target) as a key visual. Just like the logo, this is deceivingly simple — perhaps even “boring” — but it’s just extremely well executed. Overall, this manages to portray Curling Canada as a very serious, top-level, and committed organization while making it look sharp and contemporary.
Thanks to Mel Roth for the tip.