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NXT City Prize

The NXT City Prize was created with a straightforward goal: give the youth of Toronto an opportunity to shape their city.

Too often, urban design and city planning falls outside the reach and influence of the young people who will ultimately grow up with and inherit the city. The NXT City Prize provides a platform for young designers to re-imagine the city and propose beautiful, thoughtful and exciting visions for the future of Toronto. To bridge the gap between great ideas and realized solutions, NXT provides winning entries with funding to turn their proposals into built environments for the citizens of Toronto. Beyond financial support, NXT convenes an influential panel of judges from government, development, design and the arts –helping to connect young thinkers with influential decision makers.

Founded by Distl, a creative studio based in Toronto, NXT City Prize needed a visual identity to match it’s innovative and youth-focused mission. They approached BMD to design something that appealed to young people, built off existing brand equity and was easily adaptable for future years, without feeling like a fresh start each time.

The result was an identity system to communicate the progress from problem to solution. As in all design, a project starts with a problem and aims to find the solution – we see a design competition as the bridge to connect one to the other. The brand messaging separates common phrases or problems faced by youth into a dualistic structure to challenge existing notions of youth and problem-solving (from “woes” to “whoas”.) Visually, the left side communicates the current state through banal urban landscapes, with the right side representing the solution through a series of evocative icons The system works with new colours and patterns each year.

This year’s competition took place on September 24th, 2015. Judges were Jennifer Keesmaat, Chief Planner for the City of Toronto, Shauna Levy, President of The Design Exchange, Hunter Tura, President & CEO of BMD, Joe Mimran, Fashion Mogul on CBC’s Dragon’s Den and Lauchlan MacQuarrie, VP of National Programs at Oxford Properties.