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Overlaying it on Thick


(Est. 1968) “Capilano University is a teaching-focused university based in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, with programming serving the Sunshine Coast and the Sea-to-Sky corridor. Capilano University is enabled by the University Act, enrolling its first students in 1968. The school was established by local school boards and residents of the North Shore and Howe Sound on the need for a public institution serving the local communities. Initial enrollment was 784 students in 1968, and as of 2016, has grown to enroll approximately 11,600 students per year. Under the direction of its then president, Greg Lee, Capilano University was re-designated from a community college to a university, in 2008. Capilano University’s academic offerings include liberal arts, professional and career programs, leading to certificates, diplomas and degrees at the primarily undergraduate level.” (Wikipedia)

design by

Ion (Vancouver, BC)

related links

Ion project page
Capilano University Brand section (lots of explanation here)

This emblem, using multiple facets, represents the character of Capilano University and its connection to the land on which it stands and the people who live, work and learn here. Two parallel arcs signify peace and friendship, with bands of colour depicting the natural environment – from water to shore to mountains. A third arc intersects the others illustrating connection and communication, while the round form suggests a celestial body. The combination of linear and circular organic forms, defined by the vibrant colour palette, speak of diversity and collaboration, with the separate elements creating a vibrant whole. Ultimately, the emblem creates a universal symbol defending the virtues of Capilano University as a place of higher experiential learning.

Beyond the logo itself, the brand story and language have been developed to help Capilano University staff work with the brand on a day-to-day basis. This includes photographic subject matter and style, brand tone and speaking points in addition to dozens of templates and guidelines.

Ion project page


As wonky as the "CU" monogram was in the old logo, there was something I liked about it and that could have perhaps been rescued for the long run. Not the Trajan wordmark, though, that can stay behind for sure. The new logo has a wildly befuddling icon further exacerbated by its rationale. (Big words for a Friday!) The one thing I do get from the icon is some kind of allusion to nature, which makes sense because the university is located in a lush nature setting but, beyond that, the icon is overly and needlessly detailed in weird ways. It's almost like a clipped butterfly's wing. I mean, it's sort of pretty, but not as a logo. Removing the color leaves a very odd shield just sitting there. The wordmark typeset in black and in (I'm fairly sure) Brandon Grotesque feels too informal. The applications with the icon as a watermark make it look like a 1980s bank brochure… Maybe a bank with branches in a forest (pun and burn!). Overall, fairly confusing and not inspiring (in terms of making potential studies go "I want to go to THAT school") in any way.

New Logo and Identity for Capilano University by Ion
New Logo and Identity for Capilano University by Ion
Logo, single color.
New Logo and Identity for Capilano University by Ion
Key messages and brand essence.
New Logo and Identity for Capilano University by Ion
New Logo and Identity for Capilano University by Ion
Business card.
New Logo and Identity for Capilano University by Ion
New Logo and Identity for Capilano University by Ion
Style guide.
New logo introduction.