Manitoba Rebrands.

I never heard of Manitoba until 2000. That was when I met my incredible wife and learned about Canada, Canadian culture and politics, and a place called Winnipeg. Actually, I had known about Winnipeg because I had been a huge of Guy Maddin since 1995. (He was and still is my favorite director, believe it or not.)And when I saw the first show of Marcel Dzama‘s work in New York at David Zwirner, I saw Winnipeg on the map again. (Dzama became and still is one of my favorite artists, believe it or not.)
Manitoba generally, and Winnipeg specifically, to me, has a tendancy to breed unusual characters, kind travelers, and a spiritually committed group of people.
Two days ago, the province revealed its new brand identity, a process which took two years and $2.1 million. Needless to say, the naysayers are out with their knives sharpened. In just one day, letter writers and columnists have said that the branding was alternately a waste of money, a process in futiliy, an act against the province of Manitoba, a slap in the face to design firms in Manitoba (the branding was provided by Interbrand’s offices in Toronto and New York). Others say that the brand, consisting of a complicated and flowing type treatment, bright colors and references to native symbology, should have a bison in it.
I’ll cut to the chase. I like the logo. I like the branding work that Interbrand did in conjunction with the Economic Advisory Council, organized by the premiere here. I like the way the beautiful type flows from one letter to the next, like the rivers connecting the various parts of the province. I like the weight of the text, which is blocky and bold but unpretentious and pretty. I like the way that different colors and patterns are shown behind the knocked out text and provide a sparkle, an energy that is like that of water meeting land. I like the tagline: “Spirited Energy” or, en francais, “Vibrant d’Energie.” Not all energy is spirited; most visible energy that we see these days is either generated by artificiality or is spent on the unnecessary. Spirited energy, to me, calls forth a feeling of bounty, brevity, clarity, and friendliness and these are all of the things that I would like to associate with this province, Manitoba.