– Sam McLoughlin
In August of 2014, SOS Design was given a mission by all of the Provincial and Territorial Craft Councils and the Canadian Crafts Federation: to rebrand craft — in their words to “Rematerialize Craft.” We set out to understand how we could define craft, brand craft, bring craft to a higher profile and, therefore, benefit all involved. Our challenge, to: clarify and deepen the public’s understanding of craft, create a unifying national brand and look and feel for craft, design tactics to present this brand to the public.
Research & Strategy
Events & Signage
– Mark Hickmott
And so we set forth. We looked at existing research here in Canada and around the world; we talked to stakeholders — makers, academics, gallery owners, patrons; we looked at similar fields — through case study and research and we tapped into the depths of knowledge of those on the steering committee who have been involved in craft for decades.
We found the word craft appearing in all sorts of places. We also found similar terms — artisan food, heritage markets — all terms connected with craft and yet being used to define products that were very different.
So what was the connection? It was not in the product but in the people. It was not in what they were buying but why they were buying. It was in the values it represented; the authentic, local, personalized, traditional, artisanal, sustainable, meaningful and the entrepreneurial. Investing in these products allowed them to announce these beliefs to the world.
– Sarah Robertson
We felt there was a great need to unify the voices, to stop trying to define or brand craft and instead celebrate its diversity — what it is, what it represents and who it defines — for those who make and those who appreciate. So we set off to build and launch a movement aptly named Citizens of Craft™. This movement reflected people’s values while at the same time allowing Citizens to take a stand against things that were either mass-produced or overly commercialized — things that had a lesser meaning and sense of true craft.
– Brian Levac
Citizens of Craft™ was voiced through a manifesto, giving the movement its rallying cry. A bold and engaging aesthetic, activation toolkits for the councils and a website became the key tactics in launching and growing the movement.
The toolkits help Citizens bring the movement to life. We provided the associations and makers with Manifesto posters, postcards, decals, buttons and t-shirts, which were all key assets for promoting the movement. In addition, the toolkit assets were created in three languages (English, French, and Inuktitut) to represent the range of diversity across Canada and ensure widespread use of the assets.
– Andreea Vernescu
Perhaps the biggest realization of the movement is on its website: citizensofcraft.ca. This is an innovative, content-rich site designed to connect people to craft. It combined a finder feature that encouraged users to locate members of the craft community — makers, associations, studios, galleries, etc. — both locally and across Canada. Social integration, shareable manifesto points, video, and ways to declare yourself a Citizen make this website a living entity that will grow and evolve over time.
From a technical standpoint, recognizing there wouldn’t be a central person responsible for managing its content, we architected and built a highly automated and streamlined backend that would allow for a great deal of content to get on the site, with minimal maintenance.
– Falon Castellano
We also became deeply involved in incorporating Citizens of Craft™ into key events in the craft community. From the launch event for the movement to existing craft events, our involvement showed Citizens how they could use these events to spread the word of the movement and gain more supporters.
We advised the councils on how to launch an organic social media campaign to connect the manifesto and its spirit to a larger audience via Facebook and Twitter. Starting with sharing the content from the Citizen’s website using the #citizensofcraft hashtag, members of the craft community quickly picked up the call and began to incorporate #citizensofcraft in their many posts within an already thriving social craft community.