CapU has received many accolades for its 2016 rebrand.

Sign on campus with CapU logo

Brand Story

Creating the logo

Throughout 2016, Capilano University embarked upon a unique engagement project—to define a new brand through the insights of our community of students, faculty and employees.

Thoughtful input from First Nations student representatives, advisors and Elders helped guide the process to ensure that the final result honours the Capilano name with symbolism that is both inclusive and meaningful for all.

The logo features:

  1. A bold and striking colour palette reminiscent of the University's ocean, forest, mountain setting, our place between sea and sky, and the influences of nature universally appreciated by our students and employees. The colours are inspired by the traditional Coast Salish palette and create a powerful and assertive visual declaration of the University. In Coast Salish art deep navy blue represents the darkness that precedes knowledge, while the red reflects the colour of illumination. Multiple shades of blue recognize past symbols from the University's history. Together, these colours give strength to the symbol as a signal of pride of identity, both individual and collective, that honours the rich diversity of our campus community.
  2. The shape of the mark is emblematic of an eagle's wing, in three feathers. The elements are representative of traditional Coast Salish art fused with a modern and abstract treatment to create a wholly unique symbol in the post-secondary landscape.
  3. The white lines represent two pathways of peaceful co-existence, acknowledging all members of our campus community. The arc and angle suggest that someday, the two will meet, and creates a promise of reconciliation and acknowledgement of the social context of our times. The arcs disrupt the traditional crest shape, while the overall form remains whole and united. This progressive disruption is further accented by the rounding of the upper left corner of the mark—the wingtip of an eagle.
  4. The eagle holds special significance to all people of the west coast. In Coast Salish culture the eagle is a symbol of wisdom, friendship and leadership and is seen as a messenger between humans and their ancestors. While collectively signifying an eagle's wing in abstract, there are subtle and intriguing variations to each feather. The top feather emphasizes eagle and its wing of protection for the University; the middle feather suggests raven (creator and teacher) and the lower feather salmon (sustenance and prosperity). Raven is often described as the "bringer of light"—further strengthening the mark as an enduring symbol of illumination.
  5. When combined with the modern, sans serif typeface the entire mark creates a deeply resonant symbol that asserts Capilano University's unique place in the post-secondary landscape and its service to supporting the goals and aspirations of all students who pass through its doors.

Awards and Recognition

The new colours, logo and mark reinvigorated CapU's brand, modernizing the University and strengthening its connection to traditional Coast Salish culture.

In addition to the awards listed here, the new brand received a strong affirmation from Eduvation's Ken Steele, co-founder of Academica Group, who placed it at the top of all new brands based on his survey of 100 higher education brand identity redesigns launched between 2015 and 2017.

In making the announcement, Steele said, "Perhaps Capilano University's new brand can serve as an inspirational metaphor for the potential for reconciliation in Canada."

In 2018, CapU received three silver awards from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) District VIII for the combined work done by ION Brand Design and university employees in creating and implementing CapU's new brand. 

The University's rebranding project, 2018-19 viewbook and program guide and digital viewbook all received recognition for excellence in "process, performance and purpose."

Judges were impressed with CapU's work, saying the rebrand project was "a perfect presentation for how to implement a brand." 

CASE District VIII is geographically the largest of the eight districts, encompassing much of the western United States as well as B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Nunavut. 


In 2017, CapU received the Coup de Coeur award from the Canadian Association of Communicators in Education (CACE) for the brand story. making it the only post-secondary institution in Canada to receive a BRAVO award from CACE that year. 

Originally introduced in November 2016, the logo is a unique symbol for CapU, fusing modern and traditional Coast Salish art styles while standing for diversity, unity and illumination through education. 

The University & College Designers Association (UCDA) gave Capilano University the Integrated Campaign Award of Excellence in 2017 for the advertising campaign launching our new brand across the Lower Mainland. 

This prestigious award was given to CapU in recognition of the standout work by university employees in promoting the new brand in highly-visible locations, including billboards, transit shelters, bus backs and social media. 

In 2017, CapU also took home the Innovative Strategy Award of Excellence from the University & College Designers Association (UCDA) for its inspiring brand.  

Reflecting the collaboration between students, faculty, employees, First Nations student representatives, advisors and Elders, the new logo and brand were appreciated by the UCDA as unique and inclusive for all members of the CapU community. 

Out of more than 1,200 applicants from across North America, CapU was the only institution honoured by the UCDA for innovative strategy.