AToMiC 2019: The art of design

Striking design work by Rethink, Cossette, Lg2, The Local Collective, Sid Lee, Grey Canada and Leo Burnett.

This article appears in the March/April 2019 issue of

Way-finding by design
The Wins: McDonald’s “Follow the Arches” by Cossette
Gold Design; Gold Print/OOH; Silver AToMiC Idea
No two McDonald’s way-finding billboards looked the same and many had weathered considerably. The design challenge for Cossette was to transform the OOH boards to be as recognizable as the brand’s Golden Arches. The answer lay in using those famous yellow arches . The “Follow the Arches” boards displayed short copy that told people McDonald’s could be found “On Your Left,” “On Your Right,” at the “Next Exit,” or that they “Just Missed Us.”

Get inside

The Wins: Gender Creative Kids Canada’s “The You Inside Project” by Lg2
Gold Design; Gold AToMiC Diversity; Silver AToMiC Idea
Trans youth still struggle with acceptance and understanding, especially at school. Advocacy group Gender Creative Kids and Lg2 needed to stop transphobia before it begins. So it created Sam. The toy – which is based on Russian nesting dolls – was designed to help youth understand what it’s like to grow up transgender. The “You Inside Project” colour palette and facial expressions of the dolls’ convey different emotions at each stage, allowing children to understand what Sam is feeling at each step, and why.

notvanillaNot such a bore now 
The Win: Ottawa Tourism’s “Not Vanilla” by Rethink
Bronze Design
Many Canadians see Ottawa as “vanilla.” To change perceptions for Tourism Ottawa, Rethink decided to break the mould of tourism advertising and launched a brand of ice cream: Not Vanilla. The team created five flavours that represented some of the experiences Ottawa has to offer, like “Rideauculous,” which was inspired by the Rideau Canal. The packaging also worked to counter misconceptions. Plain, white and boring on the outside, each box of ice cream actually contained colourful designs inside – showing that a world of excitement can live just below the surface, if you’re willing to discover it.

fontSafety first
The Win: The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board of Ontario’s “Typefaces of the Fallen” by Grey Canada
Bronze Design
Workplace safety signs are a legal requirement at job sites in Canada. However, many are seemingly disregarded. So the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board and Grey redesigned them to be unignorable. Working with the families of deceased workers, they crafted a typeface that memorialized workers who had died on the job. Each letter was inspired by the likeness of a fallen worker and told their story. The typeface was then used to recreate common workplace safety signs and placed close to potential hazards, giving workers a more powerful reason to rethink safety.


More than meets the eye
The Win: Raising the Roof’s “More Than a Toque” by Leo Burnett Toronto
Silver Design
Many Canadians don’t believe homelessness can be solved. Many are pessimistic, so the challenge for Raising the Roof and Leo Burnett was to get them to see the organization’s fundraising toques not as ordinary hats, but as symbols of homelessness prevention. So the team designed new packaging for the toques. Four different transparent wrappers were overlaid with graphics that demonstrated how donations contribute to preventing homelessness. The wrappers depicted a shower, a meal, education and even a home – the things that their donations contribute to.


For the record
The Win: Just Tom’s “Website on Vinyl” by The Local Collective
Bronze Audio Branding
With over 30 years in business, audio production facility Just Tom decided to introduce itself to a new generation of agency creatives. Knowing that they’re often inundated with cold calls and meeting requests, breaking into the “inner circle” can often be a challenging task. Most agency creatives are audiophiles, and as an audio company, playing in this space was a natural fit. So, working with The Local Collective, it created a “Website on Vinyl” where all of the company’s information on its site was recorded, pressed and printed as a record. The “About,” “Work” and “Contact Us” sections were read aloud by president Tom Thorney, complete with background music.


To the good ‘ol days
The Win: “Molson Salutes the Dépanneurs” by Sid Lee
Bronze ROI
Dépanneurs (Quebec’s version of a convenience store) are often neglected. To enhance Montreal’s urban landscape and celebrate its cultural heritage, Molson returned to its Export’s glory days. Working with Sid Lee, it developed unique branded identities for 25 storefronts, all inspired by the vintage look of the stubby bottle. Custom-made shop signs were created for each point-of-sale, and the buildings themselves were refurbished with. The team also created visuals that paid homage to the ’70s “blue collar” aesthetics, style and architecture of Molson Export’s heyday. Locals responded by buying more Export stubbies after the dramatic makeovers of their city’s beloved dépanneurs.

Standing together
The Win: Fondation Émergence’s “The Pride Shield” by Rethink
Silver Online Video; Bronze Idea
Fondation Émergence wanted to promote the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia with something a little more ambitious than ads. Many people in developed countries tend to forget that the LGBTQ+ community still faces violence and discrimination. Working with Rethink, the non-profit used the pride flag to create a “Pride Shield” art piece that highlighted the power of standing up against homophobia and transphobia together. The team aligned 193 (the number of UN member countries) flags on wires and shot through them with a .45 calibre bullet, travelling at 9,000 feet per second in a 400-yard warehouse. The Flag eventually stopped the bullet Museums are looking to exhibit the installation in 2019 and the shield will soon travel the world, raising awareness about the plight of the LGBTQ+ community.