iconnipeg: Drawing the City from A to Z

Title: iconnipeg: Drawing the City from A to Z
Project Scope: Series of design workshops that invite the public to design graphic symbols that visually communicate local civic concepts
Location/Year: Winnipeg, Manitoba. 2013 – 2014
Sponsors: Manitoba Start, the Winnipeg Arts Council, Winnipeg Design Festival, Martha Street Studio


When you think of Winnipeg, what iconic symbols and experiences come to mind? Inspired by the NounProject and Iconathon events in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco, iconnipeg is a series of public design workshop that invites the public to design graphic symbols that visually communicate local civic concepts.

The objective of the workshop was to have a conversation about how we see ourselves as a city—what we value, what inspires or enrages us—in a way that is creative, collaborative and fun! iconnipeg asks participants to look beyond the obvious and clichéd symbols of Winnipeg, to represent the everyday, enigmatic and under-celebrated parts of our urban experience in iconic form.


The first phase of iconnipeg was hosted on September 21st 2013 in conjunction with the Winnipeg Design Festival. Participants were engaged in a creative design process that included brainstorming, symbol prototyping and design production to create icons. A stamp making workshop led by Martha Street Studio and a digital illustration 101 workshop led by Rylaan Gimby supported participation from a broad range skills and abilities. Guest speakers includeding Colin Neufeld from 5468796 Architecture and former icograda president Robert Peters.


In 2014, iconnipeg was re-imagined as a mobile “pop-up” installation and workshop that set up at locations and events over the course of the 2014 Design Festival. The pop-up displayed 26 fully realized vector icons–one for each letter of the alphabet–to demonstrate the project concept and to help inspire the public. The pop-up was constructed out of cardboard boxes with applied vinyl and laser-cut sheet cardboard and foam core. The panel included instructions inviting the public to sketch their own icons using the sticky-notes provided. The iconnipeg pop-up was featured in the lobby of Red River College, the Millennium Library, and the Winnipeg Art Gallery as part of the 10x20x20 event.

Photo no.1 by Justin Ladia


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