1.0 Management Guide to Corporate Identity
The Federal Identity Program (FIP) policy makes each institution responsible for managing its corporate identity within the framework of the government-wide policy and standards. This guide is intended to shift FIP from a compliance/coordination function to one that is management and results oriented. This new approach not only reflects the transition generated by the Government Communications Policy, IMAA (Increased Ministerial Authority and Accountability) and Public Service 2000, but indicates also the growing importance of corporate identity management in institutions that undergo fundamental change in corporate culture.
Corporate identity encompasses much more than symbols and design, it is central to corporate communications and should be part of an institution's management function. This guide outlines the principles of corporate identity and relates them to a public sector institution. It is intended to clarify government policy on the management of corporate identity and to point out links with service to the public. Furthermore, the guide describes how federal institutions can express their own visual identity within the framework of the Federal Identity Program.
This section of the FIP Manual should be used with the following policies:
Communications volume, Treasury Board Manual
- Government Communications Policy
- Federal Identity Program Policy
Concept and purpose
The concept of corporate identity and its management evolved over the last 50 years, and programs are now in place in most large organizations in the private as well as the public sector. Generally defined as a management technique for communicating an organization's unique characteristics in a memorable manner, corporate identity is based on the premise that key publics must perceive an organization clearly and accurately if management objectives are to be achieved.
It can be said that every organization, regardless of size, has a corporate identity, and it can be either formal or informal. The question is whether an organization manages its corporate identity in the most effective and purposeful manner possible.
The function of management is to ensure that all corporate communications reflect the organization and its goals in a consistent and positive manner, reinforcing each other. In the public sector this means corporate identity management based on public policy and service to the public, and consistent with an institutions strategic communications plans.
An identity program is not a "quick fix" to a problem of corporate communications, nor should it be seen as a cosmetic that can represent something the institution is not. In developing an identity one must examine the institution's past, its present situation and where it wants to be. It involves long-range planning and represents an integral part of corporate strategy. Designing a corporate identity is the most complex of graphic design activities and it is essential to obtain the support of senior management both for its creation and its maintenance.
The fundamental idea behind a corporate identity program is that everything the institution does, everything it owns, every service it provides, should project a clear idea of what the institution and its goals are. Managing identity is taking a comprehensive view of an institution's activities, how these are being identified and how the public perceives the institution.
How it is communicated
An institution's corporate identity is expressed in numerous ways, both explicitly and implicitly. When considering identity in a broad sense, the term corporate image is often used. It deals with the general impression of an institution held by various publics, interest groups, including employees, and it touches virtually all aspects of an institution's activities. Corporate image is constantly being communicated internally and externally and its sources can be classified as follows:
- The titles used for the institution, its branches and divisions, as well as the words used to identify programs, services and offices; it includes the titles of personnel.
- The hierarchy of an institution; the degree of relationship between the institution and organizational entities.
- Graphic elements
- The symbols, logotypes, corporate signatures, typestyles, formats and colours; all forms of visual communication.
- Formal statements
- Statements emanating from the institution and intended to clarify its mission, objectives or uniqueness for both internal and external publics.
- Formal recognition
- Awards, certificates and citations presented by the institution.
- Continuous media
- Stationery, calling cards, forms, signage, facilities (interior and exterior), vehicle identification.
- Transient media
- Published material, audio-visual productions, exhibits, advertising, public relations, special events, speeches and presentations.
Although corporate identity focuses on communications with the public, it applies equally to internal communications. An institution would appear confused if clients and employees were to receive different messages. This means that all information material for both external and internal use should clearly convey the institution's corporate identity. The design of this material expresses an institution's personality, its unique identity.
Corporate identity of the Government of Canada
For a public administration as diverse and decentralized as the Government of Canada, the FIP serves as a major unifying element. It promotes visual coherence and helps the public to recognize federal programs and to distinguish them from those of other levels of government. By establishing a visual link between the majority of federal institutions (see note below), the Program also gives public servants a sense of identity as employees of the Government of Canada.
The framework established by FIP policy is intended to maintain a coherent corporate identity of the government as a whole, while at the same time providing scope to individual institutions when expressing their identity.
The framework of FIP consists of:
- three corporate symbols (Coat of Arms, flag, "Canada" wordmark);
- use of the two official languages;
- approved titles of institutions;
- general rules on signatures, typography, colours;
- design standards for key applications (stationery, signage and vehicle markings).
Fields of applications such as advertising, published material, forms, audio-visual productions, expositions, as well as personnel identification, are subject to the general rules on corporate identity but their design is at the discretion of each institution.
Note: Exceptions are institutions that have been specifically exempted from FIP policy or are excluded in view of their legal status.
The government's signature
The "Government of Canada" signature has a broad range of applications, including items intended for government-wide use, activities involving two or more institutions, and facilities occupied by several government institutions. The signature is also used to identify certain boards, councils and committees, and to convey government sponsorship of shared-cost programs (e.g. those involving a provincial or territorial government).
Service to the public
Identification, recognition and access are aspects of both corporate identity and service to the public. The clear and consistent identification of an institution helps the public to find and access programs and services. This means applying corporate signatures and organizational titles in a coherent manner and ensuring that the identification is functional and user oriented. Integral to the government's policy on corporate identity and service to the public is the principle of presenting the two official languages with equal prominence. Design standards help to ensure a uniform presentation of the two languages.
When making an enquiry, citizens contact the government by telephone, mail, or in person and use different sources of information in the process. Such sources include telephone directory 'blue pages", government and private sector directories and indexes, departmental information services, public libraries, Reference Canada (the government's telephone referral service), constituency offices, as well as government publications, advertisements and forms.
The process of making an enquiry can be complex and frustrating because many people don't know which department or agency (or which level of government) is responsible for the program or service they are seeking. In view of the complexity of the federal administration, its dynamics and the multitude of sources of information, a systems approach assists the public when making enquiries. Such an approach entails the consistent use of corporate signatures, titles, keywords, abbreviations and addresses, and involves cross-referencing and indexing. An institution's corporate identity program can provide key elements when designing public enquiry mechanisms.
When developing sources of information or establishing enquiry mechanisms, institutions should ensure they are functional and meet the needs of the public rather than satisfy bureaucratic prerogatives. Government programs and services should be identified and described by using plain language, a functional design approach and a simple, consistent style.
Signage is a concrete example of how service to the public can be enhanced through communications systems and design standards. The FIP signage system is designed to help people find a government facility and locate a particular service or office within. Comprised of primary identification signs, directory boards, directional and locational signs, the system is being applied in federal buildings, regional and district offices, employment and immigration centres, passport offices, customs and taxation offices, ports of entry, health services facilities, schools, museums, passenger terminals and national parks.
The FIP signage system promotes functional communications and the use of plain language. A comprehensive set of graphic symbols, based on national and international standards, forms part of the system. It includes symbols related to health, safety, public facilities and services, as well as the symbol that indicates services in both official languages.
In summary, the signage system provides a uniform visual link among federal institutions and assists the public in recognizing and using government programs and services.
Managing an institution's corporate identity
The management of corporate identity involves the initial phase of selecting a name and adopting a signature and the ongoing activity of implementation.
The need to manage corporate identity is now well recognized. Studies of both the private and public sector indicate that organizations known for innovative management share similar characteristics:
- they create a clear link between corporate strategy, internal and external communications and the management of corporate identity;
- they recognize visual identity and design as a management tool and use if in a planned and coherent manner
- they demonstrate leadership and excellence in their services and products and communicate it clearly and consistently;
- their corporate identity conveys a sense of purpose that is expressed to both employees and clients; and
- they see their corporate identity as an important asset that must be prized and developed.
In summary, the purpose of managing corporate identity is to achieve clear and effective identification of all activities, consistent with strategic plans for communicating programs. An institution's identity should convey a sense of purpose, quality and integrity. It is a task that requires the full support of senior management and the active involvement of those concerned.
An institution's title is key to its identity. The words used help to define and position the institution. The selection of a title is one of the most important decisions and requires the approval of ministers (see FIP policy).
A title that can be communicated effectively and be remembered readily represents a distinct advantage in communications with the public. Choosing a title also means positioning the organization in relation to others. Ideally, a name should be distinctive and not share similarities. For example, when an estimated 5,000 organizations have titles beginning with the word "Canadian", it is evident that recognition can be difficult.
FIP policy requires institutions to adopt an approved title for use in their signature. Referred to as "applied titles", these names have a dual purpose: to express the function or nature of the institution to the public and to identify it as an institution of the Government of Canada. The requirement for applied titles stems from the development of FIP policy in the mid-seventies when existing legal titles were often long and sometimes convoluted. There was no intent, however, to perpetuate the need for both legal and applied titles when naming new federal institutions. This means that legislation establishing the institution should refer to a title that meets the criteria of FIP policy. Similarly, certain departments have made reference to their applied title while amending their Act, thus eliminating the need to distinguish between legal and applied titles.
Based on the criteria set out in the policy, these are examples of applied titles:
- Forestry Canada
- Agriculture Canada
- Communications Canada
- Department of Finance Canada
- Energy, Mines and Resources Canada
- lndustry, Science and Technology Canada
- Medical Research Council of Canada
- National Archives of Canada
- Public Works Canada
- Statistics Canada
- Tourism Canada
The applied titles, legal titles and abbreviations of government organizations are listed in "Titles of federal organizations", issued by the Treasury Board Secretariat as Appendix C of the FIP policy. Here is an example:
Health and Welfare Canada (HWC) Department of National Health and Welfare
Titles of programs and services Referred to as ''service titles'', these are names that identify an organizational unit, program or service and that appear in conjunction with the title of the parent organization. Their creation is at the discretion of each institution. The English and French titles should be developed in parallel and certain principles should be observed when determining the wording. A title should:
- be as brief as possible to promote effective communication;
- begin with a key word and avoid the repetition of words or concepts used in the title of the parent organization;
- respect the linguistic usage in both official languages; and
- not contain an abbreviation or ampersand (&).
Naming a program or service should be done in context with the institution's title. When words (or concepts) such as Canadian, Canada, Government, Federal or National are conveyed by the institution's title, it would be redundant to repeat them in the service title. To achieve brevity, the omission of terms that reflect an organization's structure may be considered (e.g. Administration, Office, Branch or Division). These terms describe an organization's hierarchy but may be of little significance to the public that relies on key words to locate and gain access to services. The example indicates how a title may be modified for purposes of the signature:
Canadian Parks Service
Symptomatic of a bureaucracy, abbreviations are part of its nomenclature. Critics refer to them as alphabet soup because few abbreviations are distinct identifiers or have the potential of becoming widely known. Nevertheless, it would be unrealistic to dismiss them from government communications because they provide a convenient "shorthand". To ensure an abbreviation is understood, it should always appear in the context of the full title.
An organization's structure is expressed through its corporate signatures. In that sense, the "Government of Canada" signature is the universal identifier, whereas ministers, senior officials, departments, branches, agencies, boards, commissions and programs are identified by distinct signatures. The example indicates the relationship between organisational structure and corporate signatures.
Signatures are developed for new institutions or programs, or an existing signature may be modified to meet changing requirements. Institutions may have several variants of their signature, a feature common among departments that are decentralized or that manage a variety of programs and services. The creation of a signature should be based on a clear understanding of the institution's corporate structure, its goals and, of course, the communications objectives. Government programs can be identified by different means, e.g. by a signature that identifies the program together with the parent institution and conveys organizational structure, or by a signature that identifies the program as a separate entity without reference to the parent institution. The different means provide flexibility when linking corporate identity with an organization's communications strategy.
A signature must be functional. The key is to determine a title that best reflects management objectives, is meaningful to the public and communicates the information clearly.
Content and form
The creation of a signature involves words and typography. It is a process that is verbal and visual and consists of arranging, organizing and designing. The goal is to express a signature in typographic terms; to strengthen the significant, or to make the important stand out against the less important. Generally, there are different options to present a signature and these should be compared when choosing the final design.
To meet special requirements, some institutions may need to adopt a short version of their applied title. Short versions are effective when viewing conditions or space restrictions call for a concise signature. For example, the Canadian Coast Guard uses the brief title Coast Guard when identifying its fleet; and Employment and Immigration Canada uses the title Immigration Canada when identifying activities related to immigration only. Institutions that create a short version of their title should register it in the FIP policy.
Dynamics of corporate identity
Public recognition of an institution is achieved and reinforced through the consistent application of its corporate signature. While continuity and uniformity are important factors of corporate identity, it is also clear that corporate identity and visual communications are dynamic and therefore subject to changes in corporate culture and strategy.
Managing corporate identity means flexibility to respond to new strategies while at the same time preserving the institution's permanent values. Any modification should be carefully analyzed and planned.
Quality and integrity
Managing corporate identity also means being responsible for its quality and integrity. The full recognition value of a corporate identity depends on good quality reproduction which should be monitored in all applications (e.g. forms, published material, motor vehicles, signs and directory boards).
The integrity of an institution's corporate identity can be undermined if the use of other symbols is not controlled. FIP policy restricts the use of other symbols, including those intended for government wide use.
An institution's visual identity is expressed in many ways and is much broader than corporate identity. The purpose of managing an institution's visual identity is to ensure that corporate goals are visualized and communicated effectively. It is based on the premise that decisions on the design of corporate communications should not be made in isolation. In that sense corporate identity and visual identity have similar objectives.
The corporate "look"
Institutions can make their visual communications more effective and coherent by establishing a corporate "look". This means developing a visual identity for those applications not subject to FIP design standards. The need to take such an approach varies from organization to organization and is at the discretion of each institution. A project that defines an institution's visual identity will require the support and approval of senior management and should come under the responsibility of the corporate identity manager.
The benefit of using a systems approach to make visual communications more coherent has been recognized by federal institutions with major publishing programs or significant investments in facilities or equipment. Some institutions developed simple guidelines while others are using comprehensive manuals; among these are: Canadian Coast Guard; Canadian International Development Agency; Emergency Preparedness Canada; National Archives of Canada; National Research Council Canada; Statistics Canada; Supply and Services Canada; and Transport Canada.
Generally, graphic standards establish corporate colours, typefaces, layouts or formats and most often apply to the design of published material. Outlined below is a suggested best practices approach.
Key to developing graphic standards is the design brief that defines the project. It requires research into past practices of designing and producing published material, defining the objectives and writing the actual brief. The design brief should establish a firm understanding of the project, its scope, objectives and restraints. It should provide management with a document that can be used throughout the development phase and against which design proposals can be compared.
A brief that defines the design and presentation of published material should address the following aspects: nature of the information or subject matter; program objectives; communications strategy and corporate identity; user publics; official languages; budget; production; marketing; distribution; and sales. In addition, the design brief should state any objectives related to government-wide priorities (e.g. environmental protection).
Once the most effective design solution has been determined and approved by the institution, all design requirements should be translated into a set of guidelines or standards. Intended for the various specialists involved (e.g. editors, planners, designers, typesetters, printers) the guidelines become a practical tool in the design and production process.
Ideally, graphic standards should create a framework or structure without limiting the creative process. Because visual communications and design are dynamic, a proper balance should be struck between firm rules and guidelines that allow flexibility and encourage innovation.
Advice and assistance
Each institution has named an official (referred to as FIP Coordinator) to manage its corporate identity. All enquiries regarding the guidelines should be routed through the FIP Coordinator of the institution.
The Administrative Policy Branch of Treasury Board Secretariat provides policy interpretation and advice on all aspects of corporate identity management and information design. Such advice includes the development of a visual identity within the framework of FIP but tailored to meet an institution's communications objectives.
For easy reference, certain terms established for FIP purposes are included here.
- the act of applying FIP design standards or general rules to an object (e.g. a sign, a vehicle).
- Applied title:
- the approved name used in the signature to identify an institution, program or activity. See also legal title, service title.
- "Canada" wordmark:
- the global identifier of the government; it consists of the word "Canada" with the Canadian flag over the final "a".
- Design standard:
- the approved rules on the use of design elements outlined in the FIP policy. They prescribe elements such as shape, size, layout, colour, typography and use of symbols.
- Field of application:
- the gamut of items that bear the identifying elements of FIP, e.g. stationery, vehicles, signs.
- Legal title:
- the name that appears in the enabling legislation (act), proclamation, Order in Council, or other instrument used to create a branch of government. (See also applied title.)
- Service title:
- the name that identifies an organizational unit, program, service or activity, and for purposes of a signature appears with the applied title of the parent institution. (See also applied title, legal title.)
- the combination of a symbol and a title. (Also referred to as the corporate signature.)
Included here are selected titles on the management of corporate identity and design. Additional references, including corporate identity manuals of other government organizations, may be consulted in the reference library of the Federal Identity Program at the Treasury Board Secretariat.
- Bernsen, Jens (ed.), Design Management in Practice, European/EEC Design Editions, Danish Design Council, Copenhagen, 1987.
- Blackburn, Bruce, Design Standards Manuals, National Endowment for the Arts, US. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC., 1977, (44 pp.).
- Blake J., A management guide to corporate identity, Council if Industrial Design, London, 1971.
- Editions du Centre Georges Pompidou, Images d'utilité publique, Paris, 1988, (151 pp.).
- Gerstner, Kari, Compendium for Literates, MIT Press, Boston, 1974, (180 pp.).
- Gorb, Peter (ed.) Design Talks, London Business School, The Design Council, London, 1988, (311 pp.).
- Gorb, Peter (ed.), Living by design, The partners of Pentagram, Lund Humphries Publishers Ltd., London, 1978, (300 pp.).
- Heude, Rémi-Pierre, L'image de marque, Éditions Eyrolles, Paris, 1989, (186 pp.).
- Hurlburt, Allen, The design concept, Watson-Guptill Publications, New York, 1981, (157 pp.).
- Leblond, Jean-Claude, Gouvernement du Québec - une nouvelle image de marque, Antennes, numéro 13-14, 1979, pp. 44-49.
- Mollerup, Per, The Corporate Design Programme, European/EEC Design Editions, Danish Design Council, Copenhagen, 1987, (117 pp.).
- Murphy, J. and Rowe, M., How to Design Trademarks and Logos, North Light Books, Cincinatti, Ohio, 1988, (144 pp.).
- Nakanishi, Motoo, Corporate Design Systems, PPC International, Inc., New York, 1985, (125 pp.).
- Olins, Wally, The Corporate Personality, An inquiry into the nature of corporate identity, Mayflower Books Inc., New York, 1978, (215 pp.).
- Olivetti, Design Process, Olivetti 1908-1978, Ing. C. Olivetti & Ca., Italy, 1979, (278 pp.).
- Selame, Elinor, The Company Image: building your identity and influence in the marketplace, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1988, (230 pp.).
- Simpson, Maria (ed.), Corporate Identity: Name, Image and Perception, Conference Board Report No. 898, The Conference Board, Inc., New York, 1987, (46 pp.).
- Schmittel, Wolfgang, Corporate design, ABC Edition, Zurich, 1984, (168 pp.).
- Wurman, Richard S., Information Anxiety, Doubleday, New York, 1989, (356 pp.).
Federal Identity Program
As with corporate identity programs generally, the Federal ldentity Program (FIP) is based on the use of corporate symbols applied in conjunction with organizational titles. The corporate signatures serve to identify institutions as part of the Government of Canada rather than as separate, independent entities. The origins of the government's corporate identity can be traced to the following events.
1921 The Canadian Coat of Arms was adopted by royal proclamation and introduced on government stationery. The colours red and white were declared to be Canada's official colours.
1965 The Canadian flag was adopted by royal proclamation. The maple leaf was confirmed as an official national symbol.
1969 The Official Languages Act was proclaimed, establishing the principle of equality of English and French.
1969 The Task Force on Government Information reported that the government was failing to make its presence known and that important federal programs were being carried out without the public being aware of their sponsorship.
In its report "To know and be known', the Task Force observed that organizations did not project a uniform, clearly identifiable image as functional parts of the same government. Many organizational titles failed to distinguish clearly public from private, or federal from provincial. Furthermore, through the use of different and uncoordinated symbols - many of very poor design - each organization identified itself as a separate entity.
1970 The creation of the Federal ldentity Program was announced in the House of Commons. Standardization and clear identification of federal activities were cited as main objectives. Information Canada, a new agency, was made responsible to develop and implement the program.
1974 Treasury Board approved the first policy guidelines that included the use of the two official languages and a management system for the development and implementation of the program.
1976 Following the demise of Information Canada, the Treasury Board Secretariat was given responsibility for FIP.
1978 Treasury Board issued a comprehensive policy and design standards.
During the 80s, FIP underwent several reviews that resulted in changes to the use of symbols. In 1980 the "Canada" wordmark was established as the global identifier of the government. In 1987 the federal emblem (bar and maple leaf) was replaced by the Canadian flag. This means that the Coat of Arms, the flag, and the "Canada" wordmark are now the corporate symbols of the government.
The program's policy objectives are:
- to enable the public to recognize clearly federal activities by means of consistent identification;
- to improve service to the public by facilitating access to programs and services;
- to project equality of status of the two official languages, consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) and the Official Languages Act (1988);
- to ensure effective management of the federal identity consistent with government-wide priorities, and to achieve savings through standardization;
- to promote good management practices in the field of corporate identity and information design.
Although not prepared for that purpose, the rationale for FIP was well expressed in the 1981 report of the Parliamentary Task Force on Federal-Provincial Fiscal Arrangements. The following statement could apply to all aspects of federal identity:
"...spending without federal presence is not just frustration for the politician, it is also a denial of the citizen's right to see the government's work and to judge it. When the federal role is not evident, it cannot be assessed. Visibility involves a search for the chance to take the credit, but at the same time, a willingness to shoulder the blame. As politicians, therefore, we reject the simplistic view that a concern for visibility is no more than public relations for its own sake. Answerability of federal MPs to the public is the other side of the coin from accountability of ministers to Parliament, and a government that is not visible cannot be answerable".
In summary, federal programs, services and contributions should be recognizable to the public in order for the government to be accountable. From a practical point of view, FIP represents an important aspect of service to the public. The program's guidelines are based on the use of plain, non-bureaucratic language, functional graphic design and a systems approach in identifying government services.
The Federal Identity Program is considered to be one of the largest corporate identity programs undertaken by a national government. An estimated 18,000 facilities, 16,000 government vehicles, and a multitude of forms, stationery items, published material and advertisements are identified in accordance with FIP guidelines. The program is being applied by over 100 federal institutions in all regions of Canada as well as abroad.
A global viewpoint
An aspect worth noting is the relationship between the visual identity of the government and that of the century. The report to the 1969 Task Force on Government Information first referred to this aspect. The report said:
'A great deal of the responsibility for the image of a country rests with government. There are scores of ways in which government is instantly recognized. They range from the flag and the appearance of government buildings the stationery and letterheads, advertisements, insignia on government vehicles and so on. Abroad, the distinction between government and Canada merges into a single image". The report called it "l'image Canada".
In 1988 this concept was addressed at an international design exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Under the theme "Images d'utilité publique", the exhibition examined how the state and public authorities and organizations communicate with people and how information design directly affects the functioning and quality of society. The Federal ldentity Program was among the case studies from different countries that demonstrated national, civic and cultural visual identities. Internationally, the Program is well recognized among corporate identity and design consultants.
1.1 Design: Symbols, typography signatures, colour
The symbols and signatures of the government should be presented in a consistent and uniform manner. These guidelines and design standards describe the use of symbols, typefaces, signatures and colours, and are intended to assist all those involved in designing or applying signatures.
This edition of “Design”, which supersedes the version, includes new guidelines for signatures that identify a program or service (compound signatures), as well as information on electronic formats to reproduce symbols and signatures.
This guide should be used with the following policies and guidelines:
Communications Volume, Treasury Board Manual
- Chapter 1, Government Communications
- Chapter 2, Federal Identity Program, and its Appendices
- Official languages
- Application schedules
- Titles of federal organizations
Federal Identity Program Manual
- 1.0 Management guide to corporate identity
These guidelines and design standards describe the use of the government’s corporate symbols, standard typefaces, signatures and colours. They apply to federal institutions using either the Coat of Arms or the flag in their signature.
Each institution has named an official (usually referred to as FIP Coordinator) to manage its corporate identity. All enquiries should be routed through the official designated by the institution.
Enquiries about the guidelines and design standards should be directed to:
Federal Identity Program
Administrative Policy Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat
The Coat of Arms, the flag and the “Canada” wordmark are the corporate symbols of the government (Fig. 1). Their consistent application helps to project the Government of Canada as a coherent, unified administration.
- Coat of Arms
The Coat of Arms is used to identify ministers and their offices, parliamentary secretaries, institutions whose heads report directly to Parliament, as well as institutions with quasi-judicial functions. When applied in the context of the Federal Identity Program (FIP), the Coat of Arms is always used with a bilingual title.
- Flag symbol
The flag symbol is used to identify all departments, agencies, corporations, commissions, boards, councils, and other federal bodies and activities, unless they are authorized to be identified by the Coat of Arms. When applied in the context of FIP, the symbol is always used with a bilingual title.
For purposes of the FIP slight modifications were made to the flag, particularly to the stem of the maple leaf.
- “Canada” wordmark
Referred to as the global corporate symbol of the government, the wordmark is used always in association with the appropriate signature.
The wordmark has an established relationship between the elements which may not be altered in any way. Its letter forms originated from the typeface Baskerville but were modified for purposes of the wordmark. This means that the design of the wordmark is unique and an appropriate master is required for reproduction.
Use of other symbols
In cases where another symbol is used in conjunction with the corporate symbols of FIP, care should be taken to ensure a clear, uncluttered display of the federal identity. The FIP policy does not permit the use of other symbols on standard applications (stationery, signage and vehicle markings).
A signature is the combination of a symbol and a title. The symbol is either the Coat of Arms or the flag (as appropriate) and the title, in both official languages, identifies an institution, program or individual (Fig. 2).
To achieve uniformity of all signatures, the size and spatial relationships between symbol and typography are specified.
The approved titles of institutions are listed in “Titles of federal organizations” (see Appendix C of the FIP policy).
For titles occupying more than one line, the words should be arranged in logical groupings or reading phrases, and an attempt should be made to achieve visual balance between the two language columns. A typographic layout is often a compromise between concerns for logical line breaks and the need for a pleasing presentation. Generally, an institution adopts one signature layout and uses it consistently. Nevertheless, different layouts may be used to meet special needs (e.g. a one-line as opposed to a two-line signature, or a variation in the way the lines are broken).
A consistent typography is fundamental to corporate identity, and three faces from the Helvetica type family have been adopted for purposes of the FIP. They were chosen for their versatility, excellent legibility and contemporary design.
The three typefaces (Fig. 3) are designated Helvetica light, regular and medium throughout this manual. When specifying a typeface, it should be noted that these are not standard designations. For instance, the three faces are also referred to as Helvetica 45, 55 and 65 respectively. Since the designations used by industry vary, the type specimens shown here should be examined for comparison with specimens shown in the catalogues of suppliers.
The use of the standard typefaces is mandatory for all signatures. Helvetica is also specified for words accompanying the signature in applications that are subject to design standards, e.g. stationery, signage and vehicle markings.
Although slight variations from the illustrated specimens are acceptable for individual items, care should be taken to avoid the mixing of composition from different sources on any one item. Variations in the letter forms are noticeable when typesetting from different suppliers or a variety of composition equipment is combined.
This typeface was developed for purposes of the government’s signage system as well as vehicle markings. Details on the design of the signage typeface and its spacing system are provided in section 4.5 of this manual.
The rules for presenting a signature are:
- Use of upper and lowercase characters;
- Use of accents with uppercase as well as with lowercase letters in the French text;
- Use of appropriate line breaks when a signature is to be typeset in more than one line (i.e. an effort should be made to break the lines into reading phrases avoiding articles or prepositions at the end of a line and to achieve a visual balance between the two language columns);
- Ampersands (&) may not be used in a signature.
The basic specifications for signatures are: upper and lowercase, solid, normal spacing between letters, with selective kerning applied to awkward combinations of letters.
To compensate for different viewing conditions, variations from normal spacing between letters may be required when signatures are set in large type sizes (display type) or are intended for audio-visuals, posters or outdoor advertising. Selective kerning should be used in all cases to improve letter-fit and to enhance visual appearance (Fig. 4).
Quality of typesetting
The quality level for the typesetting of signatures is specified as “Prestige”, which is defined in the Supply and Services Canada publication Typesetting Quality Levels (latest issue, 1987).
Signature incorporating the Coat of Arms
Government institutions that use the Coat of Arms in their signature have discretion to choose between two presentations, the symmetrical or the asymmetrical layout. For functional reasons, the asymmetrical layout is recommended for applications such as signage and vehicle markings.
The layout specifications for signatures used on ministerial stationery are described in section 2.1 of this manual.
Layout in typographic measures
For both the symmetrical and the asymmetrical layout the relationship between the size of the type and the size of the Coat of Arms is as follows: 6 and 7 point type with a 12 mm Coat of Arms; 8 and 9 point type with a 14 mm symbol; 10 and 11 point type with an 18 mm symbol. The sizes of the Coat of Arms are based on its height, measured in millimetres (Fig. 5).
The bilingual title appears on either side of the Coat of Arms. Depending on its length, a title may be laid out in one, two, or three lines. The lowest line of the type is horizontally aligned with the tip of the shield in the Coat of Arms. The left-hand column is set flush right, while the opposite column is presented flush left. The two columns are separated by a space of 7 ems of the type size being used. The Coat of Arms is centred in that space (Fig. 6).
The bilingual title appears to the right of the Coat of Arms. Depending on the length of the title and the horizontal space available, a title may be laid out in one, two or three lines. The lowest line of the type is horizontally aligned with the tip of the shield in the Coat of Arms. Both columns are set flush left. The space between the Coat of Arms and the left-hand column, and the space between the language columns is 1.5 em of the type size being used (Fig. 6).
Layout in “x”
The asymmetrical layout is used for the signature. Titles may be laid out in one, two or three lines. All measurements are based on the x-height of the character size being used. The size relationship between the Coat of Arms and the type should be based on the number of lines being used. The object is to establish a good visual balance between symbol and typography. This principle is reflected by the examples shown (Fig. 7), where the two-line signature has a ratio of 1:6 and the three-line signature a ratio of 1:8. For example, the design of a two-line signature using a ratio of 1:6 and an x-height of 10 mm would require a Coat of Arms measuring 60 mm.
As a general rule, signatures require a space of 4x between the Coat of Arms and the left-hand column, and between the two language columns. The minimum space is 3x.
Signature incorporating the flag
Described here is the basic layout for signatures incorporating the flag. The bilingual title appears to the right of the flag symbol. Two-line signatures are most common; for lengthy titles, a three-line signature is used (Fig. 8).
Design standards apply to the size and spatial relationships between symbol and typography. Signatures for printed applications are specified using typographic measurements (point and em). Signatures for signs or vehicle markings are specified in millimetres with respect to character size; the layout measurements are expressed in number of “x”.
Layout in typographic measures
The size relationships between symbol and typography and the standard spaces are as follows.
Two-line and three-line signatures: The ratio between the type size and the height of the flag symbol is 1:1.7. For example, a signature set in 12 point type requires a symbol which is 20 points in height (Fig. 9). Table 1 shows the type size with the corresponding height of the symbol. The measurements are in points.
One-line signature: The ratio between the type size and the height of the flag symbol is 1:1.5. For example, a signature set in 12 point type requires a symbol which is 18 points in height (Fig. 10). Table 2 shows the type size with the corresponding height of the symbol. The measurements are in points.
Horizontal alignment: The base of the symbol and the base line of the type are aligned horizontally as indicated in Figures 9 and 10.
Standard spaces: As a general rule, the space between the symbol and the left-hand column, as well as between the language columns is 1.5 em of the type size being used (Fig. 11).
Layout in “x”
The size relationships between symbol and typography and the standard spaces are as follows.
Two-line and three-line signatures: The ratio between the character size and the height of the flag symbol is 1:3.4. For example, a signature using a character size of 20 mm requires a symbol which is 68 mm (or 3.4x) in height (Fig. 12). Table 3 shows the character size with the corresponding height of the symbol. The measurements are in millimetres.
One-line signature: The ratio between the character size and the height of the flag symbol is 1:3. For example, a signature using a character size of 25 mm requires a symbol which is 75 mm (or 3x) in height (Fig. 13). Table 4 shows the character size with the corresponding height of the symbol. The measurements are in millimetres.
Horizontal alignment: The base of the symbol and the base line of the type are aligned horizontally as indicated in Figures 12 and 13.
Standard spaces: As a general rule, a space of 4x between the symbol and the left-hand column as well as between the language columns is used. The minimum space is 3x (Fig. 14).
Flag symbol (modified)
Users of large signatures should note that a modified version of the symbol was developed to compensate for irradiation, an optical effect whereby white elements appear to spread into surrounding dark areas. The modified version is used for all large signatures that appear in white on a dark background, e.g. signs. (See “Enquiries”.)