National Film Board of Canada

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum

Background

The National Film Board of Canada (l'Office national du film du Canada in French and commonly referred to as NFB) was established in 1939 by John Grierson. It has produced over 3,000 films and has earned 5,000 awards since its inception. Despite this impressive feat, they have faced budget cuts in recent years. No logo was officially used until 1965, even though a de-facto logo with Canada's coat of arms was used on some film posters in the 1940s.



1st Logo (May 31, 1965-1991)

Visuals: On a black background, a pair of thick green legs and a body are drawn in from below. A dot for a head appears and two arms, both curved upwards, are drawn in, forming a human figure. The arms then extend over the head to form an eye symbol, forming the logo. The logo then zooms out to the bottom left of the screen, with both the full English and French names appearing to the right of it, stacked in lines of three and colored green.

Trivia: The logo was designed by Georges Beaupré and was selected among 53 submissions assembled by Commissioner McPherson and his committee. It was meant to represent "the NFB’s focus on the human being’s vision of humanity." (Source: http://blog.nfb.ca/blog/2019/04/24/history-nfb-logo/)

Variants:

  • A B&W variant exists.
  • The names may be switched so that the French name takes priority.
  • A white in-credit version appears on Peep and the Big Wide World.
  • On Whitewalker, a special variant is used. It has the NFB logo, but larger and in a washed-out blue color, wipe in upwards in one piece, and the English name fading in to the right of it, stacked in three lines and made in a special font used for the credits.

Technique: Cel animation.

Audio: Usually silent or the opening theme of the film.

Audio Variants: Two music variations exist:

  • The most common music used is a bright-sounding Moog synthesizer tune.
  • On Get a Job! and Every Dog's Guide to Complete Home Safety, cartoon sound effects were heard throughout the logo.

Availability: Seen on almost every film during 1965-1979, and appeared scarcely in the years following it. As the official NFB YouTube channel holds almost the entire library during that period, it's real easy to find. The black and white variant appears on Pas de deux and Ladies and Gentlemen, Mr. Leonard Cohen, which can be found on the Blu-ray release of The Ernie Game. The Moog synthesizer variant can be found on Françoise Durocher, Waitress and He's Not the Walking Kind.

2nd Logo (June 1979-1993)


Visuals: On a black background, an orange version of the NFB logo appears, sans the eye/head, and starts spinning around while leaving copies of every frame behind. The man then changes colors to red, then to purple as the green pupil zooms out from above. The logo then zooms in, turning blue, before the eye stops and the logo turns green. The movements get a bit smoother before stopping and the trails disappear. No text is seen throughout.

Variants:

  • A short version exists, where it begins when the pupil zooms out.
  • A few custom variants made for a single film exist. One of them is Blackfly, where it shows off the man scratching his leg, possibly to get a fly off, before slapping his right arm. He then scratches his right arm before joining his arms together and "blinks" the eye shape to reveal the pupil. The English name then appears below in white.

Technique: Scanimate. The Blackfly variant uses traditional animation.

Audio: Same as before. In some films, it had a mystical-sounding synth fanfare with a whoosh for the pupil zooming out.

Availability: It can been seen on the Canada Vignettes series of short films as well as Strangers in Good Company and Blackfly. Some of these films can be found on the NFB's YouTube channel.

3rd Logo (50th Anniversary) (April 27, 1990)


Visuals: On a black background, a CGI shape comes in from the left side of the screen. On it, there is a reflection of Canada on a globe, with a plain-looking USA under it. As it moves out, the NFB logo comes in from the right, also in CGI, and the object rotates up, revealing itself as an italicized "50". Both then swing into position, facing slightly to the right, as the French and English names slide in below in white capital letters, with the French name on top of the English name.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: The sounds of a coin being inserted and a jukebox starting up.

Availability: This was only used on Juke-Bar.

4th Logo (1993-2003)


Visuals: On a black background, a sketchy version of the NFB logo is drawn as it zooms out. While it zooms out, it reveals there are more of them on a filmstrip, contained inside a modified version of the NFB logo (the eye shape is more compact) made out of green-tinted glass. As it zooms out, it rotates to the side, revealing another one besides it, as well as revealing a green projecter light from the pupil/head and and has a bar under divided into black and white sections, with "ONF" in white on the left, and "NFB" in black on the right. While this is happening, the sketchy NFB logo turns solid and green. The block also rotates to the side next to it, which has the same logo but with the text reversed. The logo finishes by a green lens-like shine, turning the man opaque and brightening up the logo.

Variants:

  • Much like the first logo, the names may be switched to read "ONF NFB".
  • A B&W variant exists.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: An ominous ambient tune with projector sounds and some others, with a whoosh heard at the end. It can also either be silent or the opening theme.

Availability: Can be seen on Aria, How Dinosaurs Learned to Fly, among other films. It last appeared on The Steak.

5th Logo (December 13, 2003-)


Visuals: On a black background, a green square fades in and zooms out, with part of the NFB logo moving inside it. A pink square then appears adjacent to its lower right corner with the logo moving up, and the green square fades out. Several more square fade in and out, all in various colors and the man moving in several different directions, and even including some letters. They all stop zooming out when the squares form up the man, albeit in a close-up fashion off to the right, and some letters are seen present behind it. The logo then slowly fades to white, with the man and letters fading to black, before they quickly separate out and becoming white. The letters have "ONF" rotated 90 degrees to the left and "NFB" rotated to the right.

Variants:

  • A warp-speed variant is shown at the end of Noël Noël, along with the end theme of that playing over it.
  • An in-credit version appears at the end of Frozen Land.
  • A filmed version was used from 2003 to 2007.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A film projector sound, followed by a rising string theme and several taps that sound like squeaky hinges. The theme stops in its tracks as the squares turn white, and then ends with a "rewind" sound followed by a deep note.

Availability: It appears on Noël Noël (one of its first appearances) and Welcome to Wapos Bay, among other films released during this period. It also appeared on newer Blu-rays of older films such as The Ernie Game. Much like the rest, their YouTube channel is an easy spot to find it.

6th Logo (November 15, 2019-)

Visuals: On a black background, the NFB man is shown from the side, with only yellow lights illuminating the left side of it. The man then rotates to face the screen, with it getting much dimmer as well. A window opens up, filling the entire space with light rays, and illuminating the man's silhouette. The light then dies down to a white color, and the square and man move to the right (with the man moving just off center of it), and the "ONF" and "NFB" letters emerge from the left.

Trivia: This logo was designed and directed by Nicolas Ménard, who was inspired by the original idea of the 1960s logo of "person of vision", and even made the animation "rough" to resemble the 1968 ident.

Variants:

  • A short version has the logo starting with the window opening.
  • An even shorter version just has the sliding. Only the chorus is heard here.

Technique: CGI.

Audio: A somewhat somber piano tune first plays, followed by a chorus raising their voices along with vague sounds of nature. A feminine voice sings three notes at the end.

Availability: Used in tandem with the previous logo. It is so far known to appear on Nicolas Ménard's Vimeo video.

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