An independent archive of typography.

Canada wordmark

Contributed by AJ Kandy on Feb 2nd, 2021. Artwork published in
circa 1965
Canada wordmark 1
Source: Government of Canada / Jim Donoahue. License: All Rights Reserved.

Originally designed in 1965 to promote tourism to Canada, the wordmark was later adopted as the official logo of the Government of Canada in 1980, and appears on all official signage and advertising.

The wordmark uses a customized version of Baskerville Old Face [or a related Baskerville, see comments] that thickens the thinner strokes, with a Canadian flag hanging from the ascender of the lowercase d.

Designed by Jim Donoahue while he was working at MacLaren Advertising.

Canada wordmark 2
Source: Government of Canada / Jim Donoahue. License: All Rights Reserved.


  • Baskerville Old Face




Artwork location

1 Comment on “Canada wordmark”

  1. From Donoahue’s biography on Canada Modern:

    It was at MacLaren that Jim developed his most famous work – the identity for Canada. Working on a project for Tourism Canada he remarked to his copywriter Peter Bonner that there was no logo for the bottom of the ad. Peter replied “well, do one!”

    Jim completed the logo in an afternoon, setting the wordmark in Baskerville and then modifying the weight to make it bolder. Over time, more and more departments began using it in their communications, until it finally reached a tipping point and was adopted as the official emblem. In order to legally take ownership of the design, Jim was sent “a nice letter and a cheque for one dollar.” And in the years that followed that $1 logo has been featured everywhere, even venturing into space on the robotic arm that was used on the space shuttles as well as the ISS (known as the ‘Canadarm’).

    I don’t know under which name the specific Baskerville version (that served as the basis) went in the 1960s. In regard to digital Baskervilles, Matthew Carter’s Big Moore probably comes closest. The image below shows Big Moore (top), Fry’s Baskerville (middle), and URW’s Baskerville Old Face (bottom).

    The version shown on Donoahue’s portfolio website unfortunately appears to be autotraced, with botched curves.

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