Canadian designer Greg Durrell, filmmaker Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit director of design trilogy Helvetica, Objectified and Urbanized are collaborating on the first ever feature documentary on Canada’s vast design history, Design Canada. The team have launched a Kickstarter in order to raise funds for the film’s completion and release.
The project began as an idea of Greg’s, who began to film interviews with famous Canadian designers during his spare time. In collaboration with Jessica and Gary the project developed into a feature length documentary from alternate perspectives. The film focuses upon the history of Canadian design, a key contributor to Canada’s cultural identity.
The narrative of the film depicts Canada’s creative progress “through historical analysis, beautiful, never before seen archival footage and imagery, and exclusive interviews with current and late graphic designers,” says the team. Interviewees include designer Rolf Harder, Burton Kramer designer of the CBC logo and the late Massimo Vignelli recognised for his signage design of the New York City Subway system.
The documentary additionally analyses significant Canadian logos such as the iconic maple leaf flag, CN Railway logo and many more. The Kickstarter campaign also sheds light on these archival pieces, offering a signed copy of Marian Bantjes’ book I Wonderas a reward. Reissues of posters are also available including Ernst Roch’s Expo67 Canadian Pulp & Paper Pavillion poster and the original Quebec, Canada poster.
“These designs are emotional touchstones of my childhood,” says filmmaker Jessica. “It wasn’t until I started looking at graphic design in a more direct way that I realised how important these icons were to my Canadian identity.”
More information about the campaign and how you can support it can be found here.
About the Author
Lucy (she/her) is the senior editor at Insights, a research-driven department with It's Nice That. Get in contact with her for potential Insights collaborations or to discuss Insights' fortnightly column, POV. Lucy has been a part of the team at It's Nice That since 2016, first joining as a staff writer after graduating from Chelsea College of Art with a degree in Graphic Design Communication.