Since 1955, the Calgary Foundation has been connecting donors with community organizations for the long-term benefit of all Calgarians. The Foundation, and the city it serves, have come a long way since the 1950s. With its 60th anniversary year taking place in 2015, the Calgary Foundation decided its logo should evolve to reflect that evolution.

Kerry Longpré, vice-president of communications at the Calgary Foundation, says the goal was to refresh the logo while preserving the history and reputation of the organization. “As the Calgary Foundation embarked on our 60th year, it presented an opportunity for us to reflect on how the Foundation’s mission was conveyed in our brand.”

RedPoint publishes the Calgary Foundation’s award-winning magazine, Spur. We know the brand deeply, so we were excited at the chance to experiment with a more contemporary take on the organization’s logo.


The original Calgary Foundation logo.

Preservation and invention

The design process began with the tree icon, an existing element that design director Steve Collins particularly admired and wanted to keep. Collins scaled up the tree to make it more prominent. For the organization name and tagline, he chose Avant Garde, a typeface he felt echoed the tree’s aesthetic. “It’s so curvaceous and symmetrical. I saw it as a sans-serif tree in need of a sans-serif font,” Collins says.

He switched the vertically stacked logo for a more horizontal treatment. “I tried many, many other stacked versions, but ‘Foundation’ is such a long word, and it seemed to balance better this way. And it gave the ’60’ a good place to hook in at the end.”

The Calgary Foundation and RedPoint decided it was time to drop “The” from the Foundation’s name, a decision that helped to tidy up the logo. Collins says, “’The’ was so small in the logo that we had to ask what purpose it was really serving. The only elements in a logo should be those that are doing some work to express the brand.” Similarly, the word “Calgary” was replaced with the word “Community” in the tagline, to avoid the redundancy of having the city’s name appear twice, and to refer more directly to focus of the Foundation’s efforts.

Longpré says the contemporary approach to the logo better aligns with the Calgary Foundation’s public image in 2015. “The updated tagline more accurately reflects our very reason for existing — to serve community, forever.”