19 May 2017
Being Canadian, I particularly like this instalment of "Classic Logos." Creative Review here in London polled their design experts and of all the classic logos, this was the overwhelming favourite!
A good sign of a classic is that it is in use for a long time unchanged and this is true of the Canadian National Railway Company logo, designed by Allan Flemming in 1960. At the time he said, "I think this symbol will last for 50 years at least. I don't think it will need revision because it is designed with the future in mind." Well, it's over 50 years and he is right!
See the lovely early sketch above by Flemming. The Art Director has added just one more comment. I love seeing these sketches, us designers are so dependant on our Macs, it's so hard to believe there was a time when graphic design was done with pen and paper.
The logo (known at the time as "the worm") symbolizes the movement of people, material and messages from one point to another - but no explanation is really needed as this is pretty clear.
I always wondered why the R for Railways was missing. Well, just CN makes the logo bilingual in French and English, important in Canada. Also it make it suitable for the many non-rail businesses that CN was running at the time, like hotels and ferries.