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Urgency & Opportunity: The Visual Identity of 6 Degrees

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For its 10th anniversary, the Institute for Canadian Citizenship (ICC) is launching 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.

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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 team secured the use of world-class, iconic photographs for the campaign, with prominent Canadian photographer Edward Burtynsky and global Pulitzer Prize-winning photographers donating image rights use, a testament to the importance of the subject. The use of images alongside the mark provides flexibility as 6 Degrees moves from year to year, and helps to differentiate the various events within the brand’s overall umbrella.

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The visual branding underscores the 6 Degrees initiative, commanding attention by balancing urgency with opportunity, though 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.