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Urgency & Opportunity: The Visual Identity of 6 Degrees

For its 10th anniversary in 2016, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) launched its most ambitious initiative to date: 6 Degrees Citizen Space, a three-day event that gathers international cultural influencers in a dynamic environment for discussion on the world’s most pressing issues. For a venture of this scope, the ICC and its founders knew they needed a bold identity. The end result of the branding project undertaken by Toronto’s Puncture Design is a mark that can stand on its own without text, a call to action in a universal language. The combination of the circular icon with a photograph communicates the urgency of the complex subject in a global visual manner.

The ICC retained Puncture Design to develop a brand strategy that would define the visual spirit of the 6 Degrees experience. The ICC’s co-founders, The Rt. Hon. Adrienne Clarkson and John Ralston Saul along with the rest of the ICC team helped define the inclusionary and progressive tone of the brand in the early stages of collaboration and research, providing several ideas for the design team to work and play with, including the concept that inclusiveness is an ever-expanding circle.

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Urgency and optimism are prominent aspects of the 6 Degrees logo.  Those ideas are at the core of the visual language, anchored with influence from the traditional indigenous medicine wheel as well as historic warning symbol vernacular. The traditional medicine wheel expresses the connectedness of everyone, everything, and all time, while the language of the warning symbol is intended to be highly visible and clear. Combined, these two influences act as conduits for the underlying themes of inclusion and urgency central to 6 Degrees. The resulting mark acts as a visual alarm bell, paired with a photograph to contextualize that feeling. (Read more about the selection process for this year’s hero image.)

Photography features prominently in the identity, with images selected for their ability to convey an undercurrent of solution-focused forward momentum – rather than strife and despair – despite the difficult nature of the subject.

The visual branding underscores the 6 Degrees initiative, commanding attention by balancing urgency with opportunity, through an optimistic and unapologetic lens. This September, when hundreds of the world’s leading thinkers attend 6 Degrees, that identity will be on display across Toronto, calling on the world to act.

PUNCTURE is an independent design studio operating in Toronto, Canada. With access to Toronto’s top designers, we deliver the best and most relevant creative work from identities to motion/video to digital innovations.