Athletics Canada rebrands to inspire all of its athletes

A new look aims to bring a youthful and edgy feel that a big group of multidisciplinary competitors can feel proud about.

Screen Shot 2021-03-24 at 9.49.38 AM

Athletics Canada has refreshed its brand identity to reflect the full breadth of activities it covers – and in a more contemporary way that Canada’s track and field athletes can feel good competing under.

The new design, which was developed with 123w, is intended to address Athletics Canada’s greatest challenge: reflecting the many sports that fall under its umbrella.

athleticscanadalogo“With the old logo (pictured, left), if you took away the words ‘Athletics Canada,’ nobody knew what the brand stood for. A lot of people thought it looked like a maple leaf in a swimming pool,” explains Athletics Canada CEO David Bedford. “And we have such a diverse group of sports that, even if they figured out it was supposed to be a track, it didn’t speak to all of the other aspects. We wanted people to understand it’s a multidisciplinary sport.”

Unlike sports such as basketball, hockey or curling, athletics includes activities as varied as pole vaulting, sprinting and the decathlon. Representing all of them the way an organization like Curling Canada reflects its sport – with a single icon – would be “impossible,” according to Bedford.

So instead, the new logo uses a number of stylized shapes that could be interpreted in several different ways, according to Bedford: as Canada’s maple leaf, the Olympic torch, a podium, and even the tracks that many Athletics Canada athletes compete on. To some, the new logo also simply looks like a stylized capital “A.”

“We really wanted something that all of our athletes could see themselves in, in some way,” says Bedford. It’s also a look that all of the athletes could feel was “edgy” and “youthful,” and the new branding also includes a typeface with the geometric shapes breaking up the letters and creating a more energetic and active look.

Screen Shot 2021-03-24 at 9.48.53 AM

Pierce LePageAccording to Scot Keith, co-founder, CEO and president of 123w, the new design, at its core, is meant to inspire the athletes wearing it, the fans who are watching and potential future competitors for Athletics Canada.

“Athletes  put on this uniform to compete, and if we can do anything to give them even 0.001% more power or speed, that’s a good thing,” says Keith. “We want people to want to be a part of this and think, ‘That looks really cool!’ Sometimes, it’s really that simple.”

The new logo is part of a larger push by Athletics Canada that includes a video narrated in both official languages by Olympian 400-metre runner Micha Powell. Clothing emblazoned with the logo is also now available for sale through Athletics Canada’s shop.

In the near future, and ahead of the postponed Tokyo Summer Olympics beginning in July, the organization will be releasing a public service announcement featuring sprinter Andre De Grasse, pole vaulter Alysha Newman and wheelchair racer Trystan Smyth. The athletes will showcase their various disciplines, showing what each of them is capable of to inspire future generations of competitors and further address the challenge that the organization has in communicating the sports it competes in and oversees. Additionally, athletes will continue to be featured alongside the new branding when the organization launches its new website this spring (the logo has rolled out on a new front page for the website today).