Mica is a Montreal-based design studio.
As we hope you’ll find in these examples of our work, our approach is to understand the character of our clients, and to draw inspiration from their purpose.
It’s through that understanding that we can communicate visually in an authentic way, and can truly contribute to our clients' goals through design.
The SSC promotes the development and application of statistics in Canadian public life.
The organization’s leadership wanted to revitalize its visual identity and website with a contemporary, and lasting aesthetic.
The new design expresses the SSC’s vibrant, active, and engaged role in the field of statistics in Canada.
The SSC facilitates connection among academic and professional statisticians through its conferences, and other in-person gatherings.
It so happens that a group of SSC members are capable photographers who devote a great deal of effort on high-quality photography of SSC events.
Since they are consistently available, and depict a primary mission of the organization, the home page is built around these images of the SSC’s national and international gatherings.
The SSC’s most recent visual identity was based on its coat of arms, which had been serving as its logo.
The SSC’s mandate includes bringing a statistical perspective to public policy, and to encourage statistical thinking for all Canadians. The leadership hoped for a new logo that would resonate in those outreach activities.
They also wanted to bring forward two elements of its coat of arms: the imagery of the snowy owl, and the colour red.
Incorporating the owl image was a tricky proposition. While a coat of arms is understood to be full of metaphorical images, a literal depiction of an owl would inevitably prompt the question: “why the owl”?
The solution was the most impressionistic rendering possible while still being recognizable.
With vibrant colour, and a more energetic flying profile, the first experience of the logo is sensorial, and the literal question recedes.
In print, perhaps surprisingly, red is produced by mixing magenta and yellow inks.
This is mimicked digitally with a “multiply” transparency.
This is the basis for the three colours of the logo, which, perhaps also surprisingly, work well together.
Mica produced a design style guide, which articulates an aesthetic vocabulary for the SSC, and inspires future designs.
Along with technical specifications, the guide helps create continuity across projects, and over time.
It also describes the brand's relationship to the organization's ethos, and provides design instances and explorations.
ProducedLogo designVisual identityWebsite design
The challenge of these designs was to communicate with both healthcare providers, and parents of children with autism.
Instead of a common (and arguably over-used) “kids' drawings” aesthetic, the communication was empathetic, but nonetheless had a fundamentally adult tone.
In this way, it connected with parents, without failing to represent the scientific foundation of the project.
(Above: family enrolment website, and researchers’ presentation of study findings.)
This study was faced with a difficult task, with a nearly impossible deadline: to recruit 40 participating families — 20 in the treatment group, and 20 in a control group receiving enriched community services.
Radio interview, guest columns in community newspapers, posters in community centers, and overall cohesive communications — all contributed to filling those challenging requirements remarkably quickly, and in time.
ProducedLogo designVisual identityWebsite designWritingCommunications
The art featured in this invitation was expansive — up to 24 feet across. A goal of this design was to give a sense of that scale. To accomplish this, the print size was quite large, and its images spanned folding panels.
As well, the panels were cut at differing widths so as to reveal the art inside, further conveying its size.
Zygote was a magazine published by the AOE Arts Council in Ottawa, Canada.
Along with the content itself, the aim was to give the reigns of editorial direction to young artists.
In consensus with its editors, the approach was to express this youthful and eclectic art in an uncluttered and clear design context.
The low-res or grainy quality of many supplied images was merged into the overall style.
For example, this cover image was scanned from about 3 square inches of a 4x6 photo. The logo was "embedded" into the grain of the photo, and the blur was contrasted with sharp overlaid text.
The magazine won an Ontario Arts award for best new publication.
A “zygote” is the first, single cell formed by a fertilization. That metaphor of combination is expressed in the wordmark’s “o”, and in the magazine’s tagline.
ProducedLogoPublication design & productionProduction management
The goal for this new brand was to create a tone that is simultaneously energetic, and cordial.
For this Québecois company (speaking in very general terms), there was also a goal of merging a North American boldness with European concision.
Since the company has a fleet of vehicles travelling in and around the community of Lanaudière, Quebec, particular attention was paid to the design of vehicle wraps.
Each side features the company’s cool (summer) and warm (winter) colours.
These vehicles highlight the importance of a visual identity that is both memorable, and approachable.
ProducedLogo designVisual identityVehicle design
Among the ideas to be expressed in this design are the organization’s role of connecting people in the field, and enabling them to share ideas.
Also to be expressed is the organization’s Canadian identity. This presents two challenges:
1) There are thousands of Canada-esque logos. Given that, to overtly express the maple leaf image is to join them in obscurity, and saddle the client with a logo that may itself be pleasing to the eye, but is anonymous and forgettable.
2) As a Canadian icon, the maple leaf is packed with referrents and literal meaning. It would therefore be easy for these to overshadow the other ideas to be represented.
This problem can be expressed in text form: “The Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society”, which is obviously excessive in its emphasis.
The familiar silhouette of the maple leaf is transposed subtly. In this way, the motif is more sensed than seen, and it allows other concepts to shine through.
Among those concepts are the organization’s roles of providing a professional hub, and of facilitating "reaching out" into new idea spaces. Visually, these might be thought of as opposite, but they are nonetheless unified in this design.
The content of the CAIMS website is primarily text — which its readership is entirely comfortable with.
Given that, it’s fitting that the design provide a clean and distinctive foundation, while generally staying out of the way of the written content.
To give some flavour to the site, images and graphics relating to the mathematical subjects at hand were produced.
ProducedLogo & Visual IdentityWebsite designIllustrationWeb developmentMembership database
The group brings to the chess world a unique combination of irreverent humour, the vibe of the electronic music scene, and elite-level play.
Their goal is nothing less than to create a shift in the chess world, and to inspire the next generation of players.
Expressing particular layers of the group would be straightforward, but the more representative goal is to capture all of them.
Twitch is popular among millennials, and gamers in particular. The Chessbrah stream draws 100,000 views per month, making it a major broadcast in the chess world.
To give the stream a branded design, the online chess competition, the custom elements, and the player’s webcam are composited into a single broadcast.
The brashness of the identity is modulated through design variations, and through inclusion or omission of the name.
As a matter of emphasis, the name Chessbrah can be a genuine expression of a vibe, or more tongue in cheek.
ProducedLogo designVisual identitySocial media brandingStream designProduct design
Founded and directed by Paul DuVernet, Mica Design brings together flexible teams of designers and developers that best fit each project.
If you have a project you’d like to discuss with us, we’d love to hear from you.