New Vancouver Convention Centre Identity

Mark Busse – 6 Comments

Last night I visited the the brand new Vancouver Convention Centre for the first time. While there I took special notice of the convention centre’s new identity and its applications. At first I must admit the logo baffled me a bit as group of us stood looking up at the huge colourful logo on the wall. Someone asked me what the violent-looking slash of colours hanging beneath the photography-based wordmark meant. I found myself struggling to find the right words.

Designed by Vancouver-based Karacters DDB—in fact the entire brand and integrated marketing program has been developed and rolled out by DDB Canada, with their local partners Tribal DBB creating the website component—the logo is meant to represent “the inspiring play of light and water one experiences” when in the nearly all glass building surrounded by mountains and water, according to Karacter’s Creative Director James Bateman.

While I understand that the design team wanted to avoid any literal references to the city, mountains, or even the building itself—which I think could have been done quite subtly actually—I found my initial reaction kind of mixed, feeling that the graphic language was rather busy and not entirely feeling the connection to the inspiration of nature. Either way, it’s certainly a brave use of visual language to use dynamism in an attempt to capture and communicate the inspirational feeling of the location of the conference centre.

I’ve already heard various opinions being bandied about—some positive, saying they think it is a fresh expression of the Vancouver experience not seen previously. Others have been more critical, claiming it looks sloppy and already dated—my favourite being the comparison to a blood splatter pattern (which seems almost apros pos these days). But what I’d really like to know is what the public think—they are the target audience, not a bunch of design wonks.

Sometimes I think that some of us with designers’ eyes get distracted by issues like complexity of a graphic (ie. a logo made with photographic elements) and the difficulty of its application when flat vector shapes are commonplace, rather than enjoying the clever underlying layers of meaning. I will say that struggling for words as I did trying to explain the identity might be OK. Doesn’t that happen sometimes when we’re awe-struck by nature’s beauty, the very thing that inspired the logo in the first place? I’m just saying.

So? What do you think of the new Vancouver Convention Centre identity? We’d love to receive your thoughts as comments below.

PS – Readers of this blog seldom agree on all things design, but I think we can all agree that this was a huge project for the team at Karacters and we offer our congratulations on its launch and offer our best wishes of luck that it becomes an enormous success for them!