DAWN Canada’s mission is to end the poverty, isolation, discrimination, and violence experienced by women with disabilities and Deaf women by engaging all levels of government, the wider disability and women’s sectors, and other stakeholders in addressing key issues.
We were approached by DAWN Canada for a rebranding of their organization. Not only were they looking for a fresh look but their previous logo was based on an Egyptian fertility statue that was on display in a British Museum. In the past DAWN Canada had to pay a fee to use the likeness of that statue within their branding and it didn’t encompass the feeling of the diversity of women and non-binary people that DAWN Canada advocates for.
Working with DAWN Canada we all agreed that decolonizing the DAWN branding was essential. We also needed a solution that would resonate with the disabled and Deaf communities with a story of overcoming a challenge.
We chose the hummingbird because of its universality as a symbol of resilience across many different cultures. To First Nations people on Canada’s Pacific Coast, the hummingbird symbolizes beauty, intelligence, love, and is a messenger of joy. The Aztec’s god of war, Hu?tzil?p?chtli, gets his name from the Nahuatl word for hummingbird, huitzilin. They believed that fallen warriors were reincarnated as hummingbirds. The story “I will be a hummingbird” by Wangari Maathai tells the legend of a tiny hummingbird carrying small drops of water in her beak to help put out a forest fire. When the other, larger animals ask her why she thinks she can put out the fire despite her size, she replied, “I am doing the best I can”.
The new DAWN logo represents the embodiment of the sun, as the hummingbird radiates with the warmth of the dawn. Its wings are rays of sunlight, cascading outwards from the core representing a new day full of hope and strength.
The hummingbird looks towards the bright future ahead.
The brand guide has been used as a basis for many of their upcoming and ongoing projects. The brand guide had to be user-friendly and created in such a way that the internal team would be successful with any of its future branded materials. The brand elements are accessible for those with visual and learning disabilities, making it functional and practical for their organization.