Our Brand Story
All too often, we see the world through one frame. But we recognize the limitless connections that exist beyond it.
Home to the most important collection of contemporary Indigenous, Canadian and European art in the country, and welcoming more than 400,000 visitors every year*, the National Gallery of Canada acknowledges its responsibility to share our collective story through the visual arts.
The works of art that live in the Gallery hold significant power. They are tools to teach us about our different truths and hidden parts of our histories. The collection contributes to our collective learning and growth. Art must also reflect diverse perspectives and cultures, as everyone should see themselves represented in the Gallery.
In 2021, the word Ankosé emerged in conversation with Algonquin Elders and Knowledge Keepers. This powerful Anishinaabemowin word changed everything.
Meaning “everything is connected,” “tout est relié,” Ankosé beautifully symbolizes the Gallery’s vision and purpose. It will inspire all of us to move forward in a good way.
Ankosé is a call to action for the institution and for all who engage with us, to recognize the limitless connections that exist beyond the frame.
Ankosé came to the Gallery during the COVID-19 pandemic, when we were striving to stay connected, with a lot of difficulty, through the visual arts. Ankosé reinvigorated the Gallery’s commitment to the communities it exists to serve. Social justice movements spurred by systemic racism have inspired us to commit further to decolonization within our institution, to create a welcoming and accessible environment for everyone, and to advocate for social equity through visual arts.
Our new institutional purpose – to nurture interconnection across time and place – invites us to have difficult conversations, to see the world from other points of view, and to inspire empathy and humility. It is the foundation of the Gallery’s new strategic plan,Transform Together.
Our new logo takes its cue from the Algonquin word Ankosé, going from a western world view of hard geometry, to a circle, inspired by Indigenous ways of knowing and being. Exploring the idea that art connects us all, sums up the Gallery’s vision to serve all Canadians equally.
Did you know that the colour of the Gallery’s original logo matches the Pantone red of the Canadian flag? Taken from the Gallery’s architectural plans, the outline of the Scotiabank Great Hall became the Gallery’s visual identity when the building opened in 1988.
Strategically designed in collaboration with digital design agency AREA 17, the new logo is alive and in motion, revealing new perspectives and dimensions. Constantly evolving, like art itself, the animated logo is inspired by the glass ceiling of the Scotiabank Great Hall designed by Canadian architect Moshe Safdie. It invites viewers in, and radiates outwards to create a sense of belonging. The colour palette comes from the northern lights, representing diverse voices, ideas, artists, perspectives, times, and places.