• Transform magazine
  • October 21, 2018

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Big, bold and brave approach for Canadian team rebrand

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In whichever way a rugby uniform is designed, it will inevitably be covered in mud at the end of 80 minutes. That doesn’t mean those uniforms, and the team brand that comprises the wider brand system, can’t look good, even when covered with mud.

For Rugby Canada, the fresh approach is just that. A good-looking, simple brand. Using big, bold type and strong statements, Vancouver agency Hulse & Durrell approach Canada’s rugby tradition with a no-nonsense, tough exterior. Within the brand lies, “courage, tradition, honour, perseverance, and straight up fun,” according to Rugby Canada.

The design is simple – a red maple leaf on a white field, bounded by a diamond-like red shield and bearing the word ‘rugby’ in white. The system is pretty much just that, plus a sans-serif typeface. But what it is is big, bold and brave, while still maintaining a link to the team’s heritage.

Greg Durrell, partner at Hulse & Durrell, says, “Nothing says ‘rugby’ like the word itself, so we put it at the heart of the brand. Rugby is bilingual, crystal clear and only five letters. It’s a rare opportunity for a national sports brand.”

For Canada, sport is a core part of the national identity. The country has two national sports – lacrosse and ice hockey – and has hosted the Winter Olympics as recently as 2010. This rebrand follows a few shifts for Canadian sports teams and leagues in the past year or so. Canada Snowboard, the national governing body for snowboarding, also received the Hulse & Durrell treatment in November 2017. Canada West, the university sports association, opted for a maple leaf-ed red and grey logo in August 2017. Finally, Volleyball Canada worked with Hulse & Durrell on a modern rendition of its maple leaf logo.

But for Rugby Canada, the focus was individualised on the sport of rugby and its unique values. “Canadians have signaled that rugby is now and forever-more a rugby loving nation, and their support has inspired us to reach for even greater heights – that’s what this new brand represents,” says Allen Vansen, CEO of Rugby Canada. “This design pays homage to our heritage, while pointing to a future where Canadians intuitively connect to our brand and its values – because they share them with us as Canadians – and it is a critical component to growing the sport’s profile, participation, and sustainability.”

The result is a premium-feeling brand that fits within Canada’s sporting tradition, while still standing out and standing up for its sport, teams and community. It even embraces a little mud.

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