Record-breaking student voting across Canada

with Canadian Federation of Students

What we did

  • Print Design
  • Campaign Design
  • Digital Media
  • Illustration
  • Website Design
  • Development
  • Print Design
  • Campaign Design
  • Digital Media
  • Illustration
  • Website Design
  • Development

What they needed

Student voting in Canada was at an all-time low, with fewer than 40% of students casting a ballot in most provincial and federal elections. 

The Canadian Federation of Students wanted to change that. So they looped us in to redesign their materials and share complex topics in ways that everyone can understand—and act on. In short, they wanted to spark a movement.

An icon of a non-descript person wearing a graduation cap. They are holding traditional scales in each arm. Their left arm is higher than the right one, and there is an illustration of a house on the scale. On the lower arm's scale, there is an illustration of a rolled up diploma. This icon illustrates that the persons student debt is more of a burden on them than purchasing a home.

How we helped

So we got moving and designed appealing campaigns for two key groups. For decision-makers, we created a lobby document that highlighted key stats and issues facing today’s students. For students, we launched a campaign to encourage them to get out and vote. And we made this extra easy for them, by pointing them to advanced polling stations now available on their campus.

A record-breaking result

Their new campaigns moved mountains. Thanks to the clarity of the document for government officials, CFS was invited to a government roundtable to discuss their ideas to resolve student issues. That same year, 57% of students voted—the highest number in Canadian history.

Fighting for fair tuition

On average, international students pay four times more tuition than Canadian students. We worked on a campaign to highlight this fact, with a focus on Saudi students. Due to government changes, they were being forcefully deported mid-education. In this campaign, we were inspired by mosaics, which represent people coming together to support fairness for Saudi and other international students in Canada.

An internal spread of the "Fairness for International Students" book. The interior spread features the semi circle graphics that represent this campaign. The left spread features the title "This isn't fair" and goes on to describe some key points about the books mission. The right spread features two subtitles, the first reading "Tuition Fees", and the second reading "Healthcare". The text below each subtitle goes on to describe the key points for each subject.
An iPhone mockup of an Instagram feed, featuring posts by the account CFSMB. Each post features designs similar to the cover for the Fairness for International Students book. The top post reads "Fairness for International Students" with a green bar below the title text that reads "Healthcare Without Borders" following this text is details about an event being held for Student Healthcare for International Students. The second post is cut off, but the "Fairness for International Students" graphic is mostly visible.
The cover of the "Fairness for International Students book. The cover features many coloured semi circles layered with each other. Each semi-circle has a grid following the shape inside of it. On top of this imagery is the title, reading "Fairness for International Students"
An icon inside a diamond shape. The icon features two non-descript students shaking hands in front of a school. The school has a Canadian flag on top. This represents students coming together.
An icon inside a diamond shape. The icon features an old fashion scale with places for weights on either side. This is representing the balance needed in post secondary education.
An icon inside a diamond shape. The icon features a book in the bottom left, and a diploma in the top right with a sunburst around it. This is representing studying and working towards a diploma.
An icon inside a diamond shape. The icon features a non-descript person on a computer who appears to be communicating with someone via a video chat service.
An icon inside a diamond shape. The icon features a school building, with a Maple Leaf behind it, representing Canadian Schools.

Knowing their rights

Too often, Muslim students at post-secondary institutions face discrimination or harrassment. To help them understand their rights, we designed a guide with tips for asking for religious accommodation and more. The layout uses beautiful Middle Eastern patterns and a green accent, a colour that is revered in the Muslim world.

The cover of the "Know your rights" book. The cover features a geometric pattern in many colours, with a green to yellow gradient overlay. The right section of the cover with a white background reads "Know Your Rights" as the title. Below the title reads "A Guide for Muslim Post-Secondary Students". In the bottom right quadrant of the image there is the CFSFCEE logo, and the logo for the National Council of Canadian Muslims.
The interior of the "Know your rights" book. It features a two page spread, with geometric graphics along the tops of each page. The title on the right page reads "Asking for religious accommodations".
The interior of the "Know your rights" book. It's a two page spread, and the main title featured on the right page reads "What you can do when you are faced with islamophobia." in all caps.

Arming voters with the facts

With bold creatives inspired by redacted government documents, the It’s No Secret campaign exposed issues students face, such as rising debt. The visually arresting designs helped spur more students to vote at the next election.

A postcard for CFSFCEE. It features a black background with white text about student loans. Towards the bottom of the postcard is a green stripe, reading "It's no secret, students need to vote." and "The last election was decided by 6,201 votes. 1.8 million young voters didn't go to the polls. Image what would happen if all youth voted." Below that is the CFSFCEE logo, social media handle @CFSFCEE, it's no secret .ca, and icons for facebook, instagram, and twitter.

Branching out

When the Manitoba branch of CFS saw our designs, they reached out for work of their own. We worked with them to recreate their website and design campaigns on the cost of textbooks.

An iPad mockup of the CFS Manitoba website, detailing "Your Provincial Executive Team". In the image you can see two women, Alexandra Koslock (She/Her), and Sanjam Panag (She/Her), with their descriptions next to them.

View more projects