Nova Centre is something Halifax hasn’t seen before. It’s a one-million-square-foot, mixed-use development in the heart of our entertainment and business district. Housing a new convention centre, boutique hotel, business towers, restaurants, shops, and public space, it is one of the largest and most ambitious projects Downtown Halifax has seen in a long time.
We needed to create a timeless brand that was flexible enough to embody Nova Centre’s multifaceted nature, a brand that would resonate and be embraced by the community. The centre balances community & business, productivity & happiness, sophistication & playfulness—and we wanted to represent this spirit in a cohesive way.
When developing Nova Centre’s vision, we structured it so it could be distilled down to a simple and impactful brand spirit.
Not only does the brand spirit represent Nova Centre’s duality, it is eminently flexible. Where a tagline could become stagnant, a brand spirit lives free as an aura. Tenants are encouraged to add words in front of the brand spirit, to be creative with its use, and to make it their own. This recognizes the fact that Nova Centre houses diverse businesses and venues, and it contributes to the overall feeling of community created by the centre.
More than just a structure, we aspire to bring our tenants and community together by creating an urban centrepiece—a crossroads where industry and culture flourish.
Where industry and culture flourish.
We were inspired by the centre’s nautical architecture and Nova Scotia’s seafaring heritage—rich naval brass, the ocean, misty skies, twilight, the colours and shapes of maritime flags—and we looked at this inspiration from a modern perspective, wanting to create an identity system that is as multifaceted and future-focused as the centre itself.
Look & Feel
With a brandmark that is abstract, bold, and playful, paired with type that is refined, modern, and understated, Nova Centre’s identity mirrors the centre’s dual nature.
Since we have extensive experience in both print and digital, we recognize the importance of flexibility and the need for multiple logo variations to suit every use. We think our Primary identity is the most impactful, but we’ve created a Stacked identity for responsive websites and smaller applications as well as an Alternate identity that is a fun spin-off of the Primary. We’ve also created a Horizontal variation, which does double duty as a usable logo when vertical space is limited or as a call to action for the website.
In order to represent the centre’s multifaceted nature, we created two distinct colour palettes for the brand: a corporate side and a playful, community focused side.
The corporate colours are rich, creamy, and luxurious, exuding professionalism. In contrast, the vibrant playful side is a modern interpretation of the blues, reds, and yellows used on nautical flags—setting the tone for the more casual and community-focused aspects of the centre. The gold and taupe are universal colours, ideal for representing Nova Centre as a whole.
These colours were chosen to work seamlessly in both online and offline worlds, ensuring a consistent brand experience through all mediums.
Pattern & Design Elements
We designed Nova Centre’s identity to be incredibly versatile. The brandmark is able to thoughtfully house photography or video, and it can be cropped or the individual shapes can be organically mixed to add visual interest. The ‘V’ and ‘A’ in NOVA perfectly transform into arrows and are a great twist on bullet points. And the ‘N’ works well as a favicon and forms the basis for the brand’s pattern—which can be used as a background or design element in branded designs, as decals for windows, or as an accent on photography or signage.
Typography & Photography
We chose Facit for its modern edges, playfulness, and slightly unconventional face. We like the elegant and refined look of the lighter weights for body text, and used the heavier weights for headlines and one-liners.
Domus Titling has rounded features that give the font a friendly feel and complement Nova Centre’s identity nicely. It contrasts well with Facit and is perfect for headers and sub headlines.
While the look and feel of a font is extremely important, we always choose fonts that are available as web fonts, ensuring the brand is uniform in both print and digital form.
Since the interior of the centre is not yet complete, we chose lifestyle photography shots that allow tenants to imagine themselves in the centre, illustrating what it can become. These shots create a fresh, modern, upbeat atmosphere, and we chose photography with interesting details and angles that create impact and a sense of vibrancy.
Nova Centre’s website is the first glimpse the public has of the centre’s new brand, and we combined several brand elements, animation, lifestyle photography, building renders, and a lot of clean white space to make this an impactful, simple, and informative platform.
As it gets closer to completion, Nova Centre’s website will evolve. For this first stage, the website’s goal is to attract tenants and lease space within the centre. As this objective is so heavily business driven, we used the corporate colour palette, with small, understated splashes of the playful colour palette.
Nova Centre’s desktop design uses maximum space for maximum impact. Using the Primary identity as a mask on the landing page, an inset video of the ocean captures the user’s attention and cultivates the centre’s nautical theme. The side drawer navigation coupled with the scrolling text panels let the images and renderings take centre stage. And tabs provide easy transitions through each section, allowing the reader to stay on the main page.
The mobile design is a simplified, yet effective variation of our desktop design. Every consideration has been made for a quick and user-friendly mobile experience. The side drawer navigation becomes a top drop down, filling the entire screen to maximize space and usability. And brand photography has been scaled accordingly to become more mobile friendly, with the copy and tabs retaining the same easy transitions as the desktop version.
We set out to create a timeless, all-encompassing brand that represents the centre’s multifaceted nature and reflects its professionalism and sense of community. Nova Centre’s new brand is in its infant stage, and we’re excited to see how it evolves with the centre.