Innovation, Technology, Nonprofit

Our work
Brand strategy, story, messaging, and positioning
Identity design
Brand guidelines

A new brand for Canada’s innovation catalyst

Mitacs is a funding and advisory organization playing a pivotal role in Canadian innovation, with a 25 year history representing a network of tens of thousands of government, public and private stakeholders. They identified a need to enhance their visibility and communicate their full value as a key player in Canada’s innovation landscape and beyond.

We repositioned Mitacs to tell a story focused on expertise and investment, unlocking a clear and value-rich narrative. This is expressed with a fresh and energetic identity that looks towards a bright future for Canadian innovation.

Originally a conduit for collaboration between researchers and the industrial sector, Mitacs has grown its scope to democratize access to innovation across Canada. But they faced a challenge: the Canadian innovation ecosystem has seen a tremendous increase of accelerators, incubators, and community hubs, and corporations are increasingly adopting innovation practices. In this saturated environment, where “innovation” has become a buzzword, distinguishing Mitacs’ unique contribution became increasingly difficult. 


Powerful storytelling can only be achieved through deep understanding. This is why we start brand engagements with an intense listening period. Instead of focus groups, we conduct one-on-one conversations across communities. This is designed to unearth the truths at the heart of a brand and deliver the insights we require to do exceptional work that sustains.


Mitacs had come to stand for subsidized internships, essentially linking PhD and postdoctoral students with private sector opportunities. This reduced Mitacs’ contributions to transactional interactions, overshadowing the broader value it provides. However, it became clear that the knowledge and expertise applied by their frontline teams is unmatched. While connecting researchers to market opportunities is a central piece of their efforts, it takes project design expertise and deep knowledge of Canada’s research strengths – by institution and, even, individual faculty – to be successful. No other organization offers such powerful insight.

Our strategy repositioned Mitacs, shifting the narrative from funding and internships to expertise and investment. This offers a clear, concise story founded in their truth:

“Mitacs brings innovation into reach for more people in more places through access to top researchers, flexible project plans, and co-investments in talent.”

This reframing of their story not only highlights Mitacs’ core strengths but also positions the organization as an indispensable pillar in Canada’s innovation ecosystem.

Logo and Identity System

The Mitacs logo comprises a trilateral symbol symbolizing the diverse connections fostered by Mitacs. Inspired by the Triskelion, renowned throughout cultures for its representation of action, cycles, progress, revolution, and competition, the elements radiate outward from the center suggesting perpetual motion.

The core colour palette maintains visual recognition by retaining pre-rebrand colour and adding punch and saturation to produce a more modern and energetic feel. Additional harmonizing colours, deep and blended, complement the core palette seamlessly, offering versatility and enriching the overall identity.

Connectivity is a central principle of the identity system, with connected shapes assembling in various configurations. This simple but versatile idea demonstrates unlimited possibilities, all with a strong and recognizable aesthetic core that works with any content and across channels. This was built out into a modular, adaptable, and scalable set of assets and guidelines that scales with Mitacs both online and offline.

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