The first documentary chronicling the history of Canadian graphic design and how it shaped a nation and its people.
About this project
The story of graphic design in Canada has never been told. Until now.
Greg Durrell of Hulse&Durrell in Vancouver, Canada and Jessica Edwards and Gary Hustwit of Film First in Brooklyn, New York have teamed up to produce the first documentary about Canadian graphic design.
Where did the idea come from to make Canada’s symbol a maple leaf? Who were the creators of this visual language that brought Canadians together in a time of great change and growth?
Design Canada brings this little known history to the world. Join us!
Design Canada is a feature length documentary examining Canadian history through the lens of graphic design, detailing the creative processes and icons that defined generations and created a sense of unity in the 50s, 60s and beyond.
The film tells the story behind some of the most familiar visual design elements in contemporary Canada. We examine symbols like the maple leaf, the CN Rail logo, the CBC logo and many more, to explore how graphic design changed the face of Canada and how it continues to influence us today. In celebration of the 150th anniversary of Canada, Design Canada reconnects the country with this unique aspect of its heritage.
“The Surprising History of Canada’s Most Iconic Designs” – Wired
“The Golden Age of Canadian Graphic Design” – Fast Company
“Vancouver designer Greg Durrell’s new documentary aims to celebrate one woefully underrepresented area of Canadian creativity: graphic design.” – Globe & Mail
“Design Canada: the documentary exploring a nation’s design story” – Design Week
“Here’s something we can really get behind. Greg Durrell…producer Jessica Edwards and design documentary maestro Gary Hustwit have teamed up to produce a film focused on Canadian Design. And boy does it look good.” – It’s Nice That
“It’s the untold story of the images that shaped Canada’s identity — and it’s not just for design nerds” – CBC Arts
“This needs backing. Hard!” – Under Consideration
Who’s in the Film?
We’ve shot in-depth interviews with Canadian design legends like Burton Kramer, Rolf Harder, Fritz Gottschalk, Pierre-Yves Pelletier, and Raymond Bellemare, as well as contemporary Canadian and American designers. The film also features one of the last interviews with the late Massimo Vignelli, who helped put Canadian design into an international context.
Our team has amassed a vast collection of design objects over the years, including archival posters, manuals, books, and more. We couldn’t think of a better time to release them than through this campaign, and want to offer them exclusively to our backers before anyone else.
To honour Canadian history and make sure its influence will be here for years to come, we’ve reissued some of its most iconic posters from designers like Burton Kramer and Ernst Roch, that you won’t be able to get anywhere else.
Where We Are Now
We’ve been filming Design Canada for over five years now, and have collected hundreds of hours of interviews, historical archives, and amassed a treasure trove of the rarest examples of Canadian graphic design.
We began editing the film at the end of last year and we’re committed to getting the film out to audiences before 2017 comes to a close. That’s where you come in.
We’re deep into our edit, and need finishing funds for post-production, sound mix, colour correction, and music licensing. We’re anticipating a World Premier this fall, followed by a limited theatrical rollout in Canada, and then a broadcast as well as an online and digital release worldwide this winter.
In 2012, Design Canada began with a genuine curiosity about where the designs and symbols of Canada originated from. Director (and graphic designer) Greg Durrell began shooting the film on a Canon 7D in his spare time, if only to have a record of these designers’ stories before they passed away. A year later, Greg met Jessica Edwards, a Canadian filmmaker living in Brooklyn, and Gary Hustwit, who directed the Design Trilogy (Helvetica, Objectified & Urbanized).
The three of us have come together, from different backgrounds, over the unifying force of film and design. It’s been an incredible ride so far––and we can’t wait to share this rich, hidden history with you.
Our team has five successful Kickstarter campaigns under our belts. Over time, Kickstarter has helped us not only bring our dream projects to life, but also build an incredible community. With each project we’ve done, the community we find on Kickstarter has been paramount to our success, and has lived long after the campaign is funded. We’re happy to be able to return to these communities to share something new and exciting.
Ultimately, design is communication, and it is with that ethos that we’re returning to this platform to help us share this unsung history with the world.
Greg, Jessica & Gary.
Risks and challenges
We’re happy to share that there will be minimal risks here––we have a lot of experience in film, and with Kickstarter, so we’re confident we’ll be able to deliver our project on time.
Of course, there are always uncalled for challenges with any project, and we will be completely transparent about our progress and keep everyone in the loop through our updates.