The Story of CBC
The recommendation of a Canadian national radio broadcast network came to fruition in 1929, from a major concern of American radio influencing Canadians Meanwhile the Canadian National Railways was making a radio network to keep its passengers entertained and offer an advantage over its rival, CP. Wikipedia states, This, the CNR Radio, is the forerunner of the CBC. Graham Spry and Alan Plaunt lobbied intensely for the project on behalf of the Canadian Radio League. In 1932 the government of R.B. Bennett established the CBC’s predecessor, the Canadian Radio Broadcasting Commission (CRBC).
Who Designed the CBC Logo
The logo is most recognized today for the iconic broadcasting corporation, was designed by graphic artist Burton Kramer in 1974, and saw a few iterations over the years. Burton Kramer is a designer who lives and works in Toronto, Ontario and began working in the late 1950s for Will Burtin as an assistant. He’s one of the designers behind the map system used at Expo 67. Kramer also taught as a part-time faculty for the Ontario College of Art and Design for 21 years. Today he’s still active in the design community, showcasing his talent as an artist in galleries across Canada and abroad.
Burton Kramer has been a leading designer, educator and painter in Canada for over half a century. Check out this interview of the leading Canadian designer, educator and painter.
CBC Logo History
The original CBC logo was designed by École des Beaux Arts student Hortense Binette and used between 1940 to 1958. It featured a map of Canada with CBC written across, and a thunderbolt in a V shape to symbolize broadcasting. Under the thunderbolt Radio Canada can be read. All of these elements were surrounded by a circular stroke outline.
In 1958, artist Jean Paul Boileau designed a new identity to mark the end of network programs. Radio Canada CBC was overlaid in a map of Canada.
In 1966, a new logo was designed for The Canadian Broadcast Corporation known as the “butterfly” logo by Hubert Tison. It was used to symbolise the company’s transition from black and white to colour tv and was used until all programs switched to colour.
The CBC Identity Elements
The well known CBC logo is internally known as “the gem”. The gem symbol represents the logo kaleidoscopically morphing into its form while radiating outward from the center of the screen on a blue background, which was to mark the explosion of colour television on the network. The center object is of the letter C, which stands for Canada, and the radiating elements of the C represent broadcasting. Neat huh?
The logo saw many changes since 1974 that simplified it. The logo was updated to a one colour version and was introduced on January 1, 1986. The logo saw additional changes in 1986, with a dark blue symbol on a white background, or white symbol on dark blue background.
1992 marked the iconic identity’s latest and most simplistic update of Kramer’s design, simplifying the radiant elements which surround a solid circle, instead of the letter C. The colour scheme also changed from blue to red, and will sometimes appear in white on a coloured or textured background.
The CBC Brand & Slogans
Here’s an interesting timeline of the CBC Television slogans:
- 1966: “Television is CBC”
- 1970 (ca.): “When you watch, watch the best”
- 1977: “Bringing Canadians Together”
- 1980: “We Are the CBC”
- 1984: “Look to us for good things” (general) / “Good to Know” (news and public affairs)
- 1986–1989: “The Best on the Box”
- 1989–1992: “CBC and You”
- 1992–1994: “Go Public” / “CBC: Public Broadcasting” (to emphasize that CBC is a public broadcaster)
- 1995–2001: “Television to Call Our Own” and “Radio to Call Our Own”
- 2001–2007: “Canada’s Own”
- 2007 to present: “Canada Lives Here”
- 2009 to present: “Mon monde est à Radio-Canada, SRC” (English translation: My world is on Radio-Canada)
- 2011: “Yours to Celebrate” (French: “Un monde à célébrer”) (for the CBC’s 75th anniversary)
CBC is celebrating it’s 76th Anniversary this November and last year for the 75th Anniversary CBC held a survey asking cbc.com viewers to vote on their favourite version of the logo. The winner with 33.97% (259 votes) was the 1970’s version and the current version was runner-up with 19.44% (126 votes).
Check out the results for yourself!
Thanks for exploring the iconic identity of the CBC logo with us. Together, we’ve had a deeper insight into the creation and history of The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, seen the stages of evolution the logo took since 1940 through various identity element changes and enhancements, plus a quick overview of the brand, slogans and we learned who were the designers that created this iconic identity.
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