Now in its 20th year, Canada’s largest graphic-design conference – “DesignThinkers” – is using the country’s $2 coin to explore how “cultural, economic and political forces have affected creative work, for better and for worse.”
The toonie, or more specifically, its multi-ply nickel-plated steel outer ring, is the logo for this year’s conferences, which are held each spring and fall in Vancouver and Toronto, respectively.
“When Canada’s $2 coin was introduced in 1996, a number of nicknames were suggested before the public settled on ‘toonie,’ including ‘bearie,’ ‘bearly,’ ‘doubloonie’ and ‘moonie,’” reads the DesignThinkers website.
“MP Jack Iyerak Anawak suggested ‘Nanuq’ in honour of Canada’s Inuit people. While this culturally meaningful idea was disregarded, the toonie does feature a portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, despite the fact that a 2016 research poll found that more than half of Canadians reject the idea of a British Head of State.”
Part of a designer’s role is to “acknowledge the influence of these factors and try to avoid the mistakes of our past,” adds the website for the conference, which is reflecting on “the complex histories behind other Canadian designs leading up to the 20th year of the DesignThinkers Conference.”