Greg Durrell was working as part of the design team for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics when he first noticed a dearth of Canadian graphic design history.
Durrell had been inspired to take the job in the first place by Georges Huel's elegant symbol for the 1976 Montreal games, but sourcing other symbols of Canadian identity was proving difficult.
"We were just falling flat in terms of finding that information," he says of the research that started their three-year design project.
After the Olympics were over, Durrell started to look back on the country's design history in earnest and decided that it was time to anthologize designs from the 1960s and 1970s that influence Canadian design to this day.
Over the past five years, those efforts have culminated in the documentary film project Design Canada, featuring interviews with the country's leading design talent at the time.
Durrell's film is launching on Kickstarter, and is being produced in partnership with design doc master Gary Hustwit and Jessica Edwards of Film First.
Though not as well known as Swiss design or American corporate design, Canada does have a rich history of modernist graphic design.
For example, Burton Kramer's 1974 Canadian Broadcasting Channel logo is often grouped in with ABC's logo—created by Kramer's professor at Yale, Paul Rand—as one of the iconic symbols from the golden age of corporate identity design.
Allan Fleming's celebrated Canadian National Railway logo is still in use today. And several designs from Rolf Harder of Design Collaborative Montreal Ltd. are part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
So why is the Canadian design scene so often overlooked? "Canada is a large but very small country," says Durrell.
While slightly larger than the U.S. in terms of land mass, Canada's population is 35.16 million people—nearly one-tenth of the U.S. population. "The media machine behind us just isn’t as large as in the U.S. or the U.K."
With his film, Durrell plans to showcase the country's achievements and design heroes who have been overlooked.
Read more on Wired, Globe & Mail and CBC Arts.
The Kickstarter campaign has been successful.