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national identity. | February 22, 2010

“The closer we got to the States, the more maple leaf flags we saw. Then the federal buildings with the Canada logo. Such a weak typeface for a national identity.”
– Michael Winter, The Architects Are Here

I just finished reading this novel and it’s great – Michael Winter is quickly becoming one of my favourite Canadian authors.
It also got me thinking about federal design strategies, national identity and government typeface.

My research found that “apparently the government adopted a typeface variant based on Helvetica Medium, yet decidedly incompatible with original.”

In this image, Helvetica Medium is overlaid in red. More musings at the Canadian Design Resource.
And more still at the “signage typeface” section of the Federal Identity Program’s Usage Manual.

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