CANADIAN NATIONAL

Allan Fleming,Cooper and Beatty1960

Media theorist Marshall McLuhan called it ‘an icon’ and it remains virtually unchanged after more than five decades in use. Allan Fleming’s 1960 logo for the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) was created when the designer had just turned 30 and was working at typographic firm, Cooper and Beatty.

In 1959, CN had carried out a survey which revealed that people thought it an ‘old-fashioned’ and ‘backward’ organization, hostile to innovation. Dick Wright, CN’s head of public relations, commissioned New York designer James Valkus to investigate the problem. Valkus proposed a complete overhaul of CN’s visual identity, which would include everything from building exteriors to colour schemes, ...

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