What we've been up to lately.

What we've been up to lately.

Branding a Nation


Consider a country's accoutrement in parallel to branding. There's a flag instead of a logo, an anthem instead of a slogan, and a country does have positioning - we call it national identity. 

In light of celebrations about to take place in North America (the Fourth of July and Canada Day), we want to look at what shapes a country's brand. You could say history is the biggest contributor: policy decisions, international events, and even sports influence a country's character; for example, US is baseball and Canada is hockey. But is there more? Does design play a role in a nation's understanding of itself? 

If you ask Greg Durrel, the answer is a resounding yes - his new movie about the Canadian design industry touches on some of the most iconic design moments of Canada’s history: creation of logos for Crown Corporations and Expo 67, which fall under what he calls the “Golden era” of design in Canada.

One of the most identifiable pieces of a country’s branding is the flag. In Canada, the maple leaf has evolved to hold as much symbolism as a brand’s logo might. It’s no surprise that this symbol is the focus of the country’s flag. In fact, George F.G. Stanley took the leaf’s meaning into account when he designed the flag in 1964.

When proposing his design via a written memo, Stanley claimed that the flag should be simple, recognizable, use traditional colors and symbols and be a “unifying force” for the country. Stanley examined Canada’s key emblems before settling on the leaf, which had already been used by citizens as a signifier for the country.

Stanley proposed two options for the flag, one with a single leaf and one with three maple leaves joined by the stem. Ultimately, Stanley argued for the single leaf design, claiming that the single leaf would have the "virtue of simplicity," being recognizable as "distinctly Canadian," and enabling it to become an iconic symbol.

Brand Love & Big Macs


Bringing a massive restaurant brand to mainstream retail is not only a test of equity, but also a case study in brand loyalty. The more trust you build with consumers, the stronger the foundation to support extensions. For McDonald’s, it’s no surprise that something as iconic as the Big Mac Sauce garnered this level of excitement. Passion for the product carries over to the package design, so the brand must remain consistent to protect its equity and delight its devoted fans.

…A quintessential product and crave-worthy design, guaranteed to keep consumers lovin’ it. 

Chapstick partners with Davis to launch innovation


Customization is a major trend in the beauty category right now. In fact, the degree to which a product is “tailored to needs and personality” is the second most influential factor for consumers buying beauty products (GlobalData 2016 Q3 global consumer survey).

Lip balm is an essential, “never-leave-home-without-it” accessory, for which customization has always mattered. Some people like glossy balms that shimmer; others have a favorite flavor. Chapstick Duos lets consumers bring two-in-one wherever they go. And because you can snap, change and rearrange, consumers can easily find their perfect duo – or keep things fresh with a new flavor every day!

Inspired by luxury personal care, the design highlights the unique appeal of the product. Bright and bold colors cue flavor and function, creating impact at shelf to drive impulse and stand out against competitors. The product’s intuitive nature combines with a bold and clean design for maximum on-trend appeal with its millennial target.

The Power of Storytelling


Communication continually adapts –spoken language turns into slang, written language becomes sound bites and texts. But despite change, there’s something universal about storytelling. What draws us back to stories – no matter the medium?

The simple answer is that stories compel. We remember good ones. They make us think, or at the very least, they help us understand.

Storytelling is a tool of Dramatic Simplicity™ – a way to make the simple remarkable. Take this quote*, for example: “A man’s interest in a single bluebird is worth more than a complete but dry list of all the fauna and flora of a town.” It is the relationship of the bird to man that captivates the reader. But why? Is it the bird’s environment? How it finds resources or shelter? Does the man follow the bird through its entire life pattern? The story of the man and the bird tells us something about the man himself – how he perceives the world and those around him.

The quote illustrates the power of storytelling, because the metaphor of the bird makes the concept tangible. We understand the meaning on impulse, no explanation required.

The aim of communication is to spread an idea, and to have people understand that idea. If your idea is not known and understood by your audience – be it a philosophy, a feeling, or a brand – it will be forgotten. Great storytelling ensures it is remembered.

*Henry David Thoreau

Davis Wins Best of Show at PAC

The Davis Team & Simon Small, VP Marketing of Ultima Foods accept the Best of Show award for iÖGO. 

The Davis Team & Simon Small, VP Marketing of Ultima Foods accept the Best of Show award for iÖGO. 

Linda Ranson-Smith, Designer, and Chris Plewes, VP Creative Director, with the award for Triscuit Limited Editions

Linda Ranson-Smith, Designer, and Chris Plewes, VP Creative Director, with the award for Triscuit Limited Editions

Davis received two Gold awards at the PAC Canadian Leadership Gala, hosted last night, including Best of Show for iÖGO. Davis recently partnered with Ultima Foods to redesign the Canadian yogurt brand’s portfolio. Simon Small, VP of Marketing at Ultima, was present with the Davis team to accept the award.

The PAC Canadian Leadership awards celebrate all aspects of a package – from structure, printing process, all the way to package design.

Triscuit Limited Editions also received a Gold award for Brand Marketing. Triscuit Sriracha and Triscuit Pumpkin & Spice celebrate two unique flavors trending throughout the grocery store, bringing flare to the snacking aisle.

Congratulations to our clients and our studio on these wins! You can view the full online winners’ gallery here