A logo worth 1,000 words - and then some
October 13, 2011

 One of the horizontal versions of the 125th anniversary logo.

The challenge to designers was to create a logo for NSCAD’s 125th anniversary that reflected the past and going forward, tradition and potential, pride and celebration. And, oh yes, it should capture a sense of all of NSCAD’s disciplines, from textiles to ceramics to media arts.

It was, as the architects of this particular competition admit, a pretty tall order. But, as it turned out, not impossible.

And the reason? For Olson/Tyagi Consultants of Design who came up with the winning design, the impossible presented not only a challenge but a labour of love. And making it extra interesting is that they collaborated from opposite sides of the globe: Harry Olson (BDes 2008) from Vancouver and Akshay Tyagi (BFA 2008) from Mumbai, India. Given the time difference, they did their best thinking after midnight (Pacific time) over Skype.

“As alumni of NSCAD University and not being natives of Nova Scotia, we felt a strong connection to the years we spent during and after our education,” says Harry, who met Akshay, a fashion designer and stylist, when both stepped up to organize the Wearable Art Show in their third year at NSCAD. 

"We both had a very positive experience with our alma mater and wanted to embrace the legacy of NSCAD in the biggest way we could outside of ourselves," adds Akshay, in an email. "We saw that through the opportunity to materialize the joyous celebration of our time there in this logo."  

The logo they developed features pixels arranged around the number 125 and floating, like balloons being released, confetti thrown in the air or a burst of sparks. The design is versatile and can be used vertically or horizontally, in association with the university’s distinctive logo or without. In 2012, the anniversary year, the hope is to see it everywhere: on websites, posters, giant banners, buses and billboards.

Through the process of development, the pair conferred regularly with Peter Wünsch and Siobhan Cleary on the Alumni Association executive, and Linda Hutchison, director of University Relations, Alumni and Development. Other ideas that never came off the drawing board hinged on Queen Victoria, who celebrated her Golden Jubilee in 1887, and the school’s founder Anna Leonowens, immortalized as the governess to the King of Siam’s children in The King and I.

“There was a lot of back and forth and involvement from all sides,” says Harry. “It was so positive and stimulating.”

NSCAD Alumni President Peter Wünsch (BFA 1989) is delighted with what the team came up with.

“The first thing it says is celebration,” he says. “But we think it’s open to all kinds of interpretations.”

“Every square can tell a different kind of story,” adds Linda Hutchison. “The squares can be different colours, textures, or people’s faces. The flexibility of use is really important.”

NSCAD’s Alumni Association has recently been revitalized in the lead up to the 125th anniversary. Peter says the association is spearheading an ambitious program of events that includes a NSCAD homecoming, art exhibitions, parties and art on the waterfront.

“We want to connect with the citizens of the province about what this place NSCAD is,” says Peter, creative director and partner of the Halifax design firm Breakhouse.

 125-logo-down 12logo-230-up
The 125 logo was designed to be versatile: working up or down, horizontally starting right or left.