Archive for April, 2012

Logo launched for Scarborough Civic Action Network

As described in a previous post about the progress, a new logo was designed for the Scarborough Civic Action Network as a deliverable for the Designing for Good thesis, as an example of what would be produced from the centre. For background information on the logo design process, click here.

Despite the effectiveness of the Scarborough Civic Action Network (SCAN) in extending its reach throughout Scarborough and facilitating civic engagement over the past ten years, the organization did not have a logo to identify their work.

SCAN wanted a logo that represented connecting people and ideas across Scarborough, and the positive growth and change that develops from these connections. They also wanted the logo to reflect that the civic engagement work undertaken in Scarborough has ripple effects throughout our communities, Scarborough and the City of Toronto.

Jessica Roher, Coordinator at SCAN during the process, explained that “the logo developed by Daniel Francavilla reflects the positive impact we can have when we make a concerted effort to contribute to improving our communities.”

“While we wanted SCAN’s logo to be professional and clean, we also wanted to ensure that it reflects that we work with communities at the grassroots level to make civic engagement fun and accessible. Capitalizing the word ‘Scarborough’ while writing ‘civic action network’ in lower case, allowed us to balance the formal and informal engagement that we do.”

In addition, the organization required flexibility because the Scarborough Civic Action Network is known by most in the community as SCAN but has previously been referred to as ‘ScarboroughCAN’.

A logo was developed along with three alternative variations to be used in certain situations. The main logo, displayed above as the finalized design, will be applied to SCAN’s documents and marketing materials, beginning with the website (currently being developed). Along with the logo, a typographic style and colour scheme were provided to the organization for implementation.

“We wanted to make sure that our logo could be adjusted so that variations could be used for different events. Daniel developed a logo that allows for this flexibility but is consistent,” Roher explained, ”We are really excited about our new logo because we know it will help us extend our reach further and be more visible in the community”.

Colin Hughes, Chair of SCAN, stated:

“We are very pleased and excited about the new logo designed by Daniel Francavilla for the Scarborough Civic Action Network and extend to him our gratitude and congratulations! The new logo gives SCAN an unique and fitting visual presence and is especially needed to make fuller use of social media to outreach and connect with the community on civic issues and civic involvement.”

It was a very positive experience working with the SCAN team and developing a logo for an organization that is making real change within Toronto.

Organizations interested in design services can contact


04 2012

Logo Design Process for a Local Civic Action Network

As an application of the Designing for Good project (an example of what the centre would develop), a logo was created for Scarborough Civic Action Network.

The Scarborough Civic Action Network (part of Agincourt Community Services Association), which has been operating actively for over a decade, was looking to develop a logo and defined visual identity for the first time.

The organization is a network of agencies, community groups, and individuals working to improve the quality of life of Scarborough’s diverse and growing population through civic action. They raise awareness and speak out on issues that matter to Scarborough residents as citizens of Toronto, Ontario and Canada.

SCAN was looking for a logo that reflects what they do and that appears interesting. Their coordinator (staff member) lead the process, and their Steering Committee provided feedback and direction along the way.

To begin work on this in a shorter timeframe, an Online Survey for the Steering Committee was conducted, to provide their answers and direction efficiently. Part of the research also came from both new and existing Key Informant Interviews.

In terms of visual style, the SCAN team requested something graphic and not solely typographical. Having a symbol was preferred over a wordmark-only solution.

There was debate and uncertainty in regards to the text or name used in the logo. One example for naming was the logo for the Greater Toronto CivicAction Alliance, which is a very large “CivicAction” with their full name as a sub-caption below it. However, others within the organization preferred the name “Scarborough” as the larger focus instead of “Civic Action”. Currently the organization can be referred to as both: “SCAN” or “Scarborough CAN”, which each work verbally and visually, however the meanings of them as words differ. When thinking about domain names for their upcoming website, the suggestion of was decided upon as part of the survey. Another suggestion was to create a tagline or phrase to use as domain (for example: “” or “”).

For colour, there had not been anything specifically defined or existing. One key note is that they would like to avoid using any of the political party colours (red, royal blue, green, orange). One suggestion was teal, or earth tones, from the SCAN team.

When it came to content and inspiration, a key note is that this organization focuses on larger issues, not solely civic engagement. Some of the key words and terms to consider include: Questions, Education, Network, Thought, Conversation, Ripple Effect, Communities Rising, Change, Bringing People Together. Several other non-profit organizations, governments and civic action-related organizations logos were reviewed and evaluated.

The Scarborough Civic action Network logo is a result of months of research and refinement of five concepts. The final version will be posted online shortly.


04 2012

Interview with Zahra Ebrahim: Creativity Architect, Designer, Community Activist

This week’s Designing for Good interview is with Zahra Ebrahim, a creativity architect, community activist, professor at OCAD U – and the Founder and Principal of archiTEXT inc, a Toronto design consultancy and think tank.

DF: As a designer who has also worked with non-profit organizations and community groups, how has design impacted the initiatives you have been involved with?  

ZE: There are a few dimensions. In my work, I get to use design (architecture) as a tool to introduce kids to what the idea of being a creative is. It opens them up to the idea. For example, my studio is currently facilitating a project where kids are building a building right now and they’re seeing community come together through the design process, bringing architecture to inner suburbs, exploring models of economic development, and enabling them access to a traditionally inaccessible discipline. If you give the responsibility of design to people that would not necessarily have access to it, you are making the seemingly impossible possible. Design is a tool to enable people, and is also a mobilizer.

DF: What are your thoughts on how your organization or project (or one you know of) would function with poor, default, unthoughtful design and branding?

ZE: The problem is people are willing to accept mediocre design. Over the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to be involved with ReThink Breast Cancer. When I was asked to get involved initially, I was impressed by their attention to design. By valuing good design, they invest in an authentic representation of their organization. A designer clearly did their due diligence, because a visual was created, that I (an outsider to the organization) can connect with. So when I interface with them visually, it helps establish a stronger relationship.

DF: Do you feel that non-profits, social enterprises and grassroots initiatives can survive and compete for attention with the visual branding of large companies?

ZE:  Yeah. There are some really great examples. In a perfect world, a Graphic Designer doesn’t give better work to the corporation. What comes out is a representation of the process of engaging with the organization. A designer creating for “Not Far From the Tree” vs. “Ford” should have the same quality. There’s no competition. Design is supposed to be consistent.

DF: In your opinion, should all designers have some sustainability or social conscious in their practice and philosophy?

ZE: It’s like acting – if you have it, you have it. For some of us it runs in our blood stream, so to mandate it would be counter-intuitive. For those that need to develop a socially conscious thread to their work, it is about finding an authentic connection to something that deeply affects them. What’s also changing is that people are more scrutinizing. There’s more choice. A client may not be looking for a socially conscious twist, but to have it makes you more attractive to work with. Now, that’s what gets the edge. A colleague of mine always says: “Volunteering is to the 90s what going to the country club was to the 70s…”

DF: Do you think that a physical storefront (or space or studio) dedicated to offering design services for “good” would be a useful idea? 

ZE: Organizations need good visual identities. What a storefront does is provides access to it. How do these organizations find out about this plea? How do they find you, how do they interface with you? Go into communities that don’t have any access to design. It’s all about how they find you. It’s about access. Bridging the design community with those in need of good design.


04 2012

Quote Poster Series: Designing for Good

A series of posters based on the quotes from both the Interview Series and the Designing for Good Video for new graphic designers.

The above gallery consists of JPG files. To view the full-size poster or download the file, simply right-click and choose Save Linked File as.


04 2012

Interview with Jay Eckert, Innovative Graphic Designer

This week’s Designing for Good interview is with Jay Eckert, R.G.D, the Principal and Art Director of Parachute Design, who believes good design is all about creating the most positive user-experience.

DF: As a designer, or someone who has worked in the non-profit industry, how has design impacted your design business? 

JE: The quality of the design used to marketing our business is two-fold:

  1. We are designers, so showing a high level of design which is thoughtful, current and showcases visual strength we set ourselves apart from the melting pot of average design studios.
  2. The simple and clear communication of our online and print material provides to-the-point, direct information to the viewer and generates action.

DF: What are your thoughts on how your organization or project (or one you know of) would function with poor, default, unthoughtful design and branding?

JE: With poor design representing our business we would not convey strong talent and experience in the service we provide to our clients.

We would not stand out from the crowd.
We would not portray professionalism.
We would not instill confidence in our clients.
We would not be taken as seriously.

DF: Do you feel that non-profits, social enterprises and grassroots initiatives can survive and compete for attention with the visual branding of large companies?

JE:  Without strong branding and clear and effective communications the message can be lost or not effectively delivered to the audience. Without a memorable and effective brand, the organization is not as easily remembered, or taken as seriously.

DF: In your opinion, should all designers have some sustainability or social conscious in their practice and philosophy?

JE: In my education (post secondary) working in partnership with non-profits was a great exposure to the working world of design and good practice for working with a client for the first time. This experience is very important and should be provided to new designers. The positive for the non profit is free work, however, the quality of the work rarely compares to that of a professional studio (very good example of “you get what you pay for”). For non profits in startup mode this is a great solution, but once up and running, considerable effort and resources should be put into furthering or refining the brand if not from the very beginning. I don’t believe all designers should have some sustainability or social conscience in their work as its a personal choice and should not be forced.

DF: Do you think that a physical storefront (or space or studio) dedicated to offering design services for “good” would be a useful idea? 

The owners of “Designing for Good” are colleagues of mine and their mission is to provide full service solutions for non-profits. There are studios out their already following this mantra. I do think it is very useful though.

DF: Are there any non-profits or social causes that you would identify as examples of good design having a positive impact overall?

JE: YMCA, Salvation Army, United Way, World Wildlife Fund


04 2012