Canadian Flag Connection at BSL

Sometimes the best design is design that doesn’t get noticed at all. With Canada Day only a few days away, it occurred to me that the Canadian flag was a great example of “invisible” design. 

To be clear, I’m not saying that the maple leaf is not recognizable or that Canadians will not display it proudly all over the country this week. 

Rather, it’s just that the red and white design is so seamless – so effective – that people often take it for granted and never really learn about the creative process that brought it to life. 

So I decided I would share some of the history behind the design of our national flag. 

A Brief History of the Canadian Flag 

First, I should start by mentioning that Canada did not have its own national flag until 1965. After Confederation, Canadians used a hybrid flag that combined elements of the Union Jack with symbols of each province. This flag, known as the Canadian Red Ensign, served as Canada’s unofficial national flag. 

In the early 1960s, with the Canadian Centennial approaching in 1967, Canada’s government decided to adopt a new and distinctive national flag. Canadians were invited to send in their ideas and a committee was established to determine the best design. 

After reviewing hundreds of options, and sparking a national debate in the process, the Committee finally settled on a design by George Stanley, a professor of history in New Brunswick. And the new flag was officially inaugurated on February 15, 1965. 
But there’s more to the story. 

The maple leaf, which had already been used to represent Canada since the 18th century, was chosen to appear on the flag over other Canadian symbols to celebrate the country’s nature and environment. 

The stylized image of the red leaf with eleven points was selected by the committee over other proposed images of maple leafs after wind tunnel tests showed it to be the least blurry when tested under high wind conditions. 

As for the combination of red and white, it was favoured over more colourful designs to reflect the official colours of Canada as proclaimed by King George V in 1921. 

Design Has Deep Roots at BSL 

Personally, I find that reading about the creative process and the reasoning behind certain design decisions can really influence the day-to-day work I do as a graphic artist for BSL. But there’s another reason why the history of the Canadian flag is so fascinating to me. 

Recently, my family and I were going through old photos and documents at my parent’s house and we discovered a drawing done by my grandfather. 

To our great surprise, we realized that it was a design that he had submitted for The New National Flag competition back in the early 1960’s. 

His design (right) may not have won, and its detailed multicolour look might not fit the modern criteria for “invisible” design, but it’s obvious that it shows the pride my grandfather developed for his adoptive country after emigrating from England. 

And by the way, that’s another key to great design: passion. 

Happy Canada Day everyone!


Alcatel-Lucent and Banfield-Seguin challenge telecommunications service providers to rethink their core beliefs.

Alcatel-Lucent and Banfield-Seguin made May 22, 2012 a day for re-thinking the status quo. At its annual technology symposium, this year hosted in Silicon Valley, Alcatel-Lucent announced the launch of its first core router portfolio, the 7950 XRS. Banfield-Seguin worked intensely with Alcatel-Lucent to produce key launch marketing elements, including teaser and launch videos, web page designs, online banners, and the launch presentation for the event, presented by Basil Alwan, President IP Division and Head of Network Strategy. The campaign creative was all centered on the theme “Rethink Your Core Beliefs”. To watch the launch video, click here

Banfield-Seguin developed the theme to highlight the Alcatel-Lucent core router’s unprecedented ability to deliver scale, efficiency and versatility – without compromise. Traditional core routing approaches force telecommunications providers to choose between optimal scale and functionality on a single platform. Alcatel-Lucent’s powerful and innovative new core router combines scale and capability with flexibility, to address future needs. The campaign brought that unique advantage to life through eye-catching metaphorical imagery, balanced with hard-hitting facts and data. 

Thank you to our clients at Alcatel-Lucent for working with us on its bold and innovative entry into the core router market.