The three designs under consideration were given to the provincial government for free by U.S. company 3M.
But the people at Graphos, a design firm in Edmonton, thought they could do much better. Creative director Derek Anton started sketching some ideas during a meeting last Friday, taking inspiration from Alberta’s provincial crest.
The final result has wheat sheaves at the bottom, and mountains at the top, with the peaks forming the jagged upper border of the plate.
“So it’s a rectangle but it’s got some shape to it,” Anton said.
Many people were frustrated that the government dropped the“Wildrose Country” slogan from the plate in favour of “Alberta.ca,” so Anton added the old slogan to the new design.
“Again, this is not an official option so we kind of got to do what we wanted,” Anton said with a laugh. “But we thought that was something that people generally liked.”
Graphos sent the design out on Twitter, which got the attention of Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith who retweeted it to her followers.
‘The motivating insult’
Improving the design was one factor -- but professional pride was another.
The government didn’t invite Alberta designers to submit their vision for the new licence plate, something Graphos president Laurier Mandin calls “the motivating insult.”
“We should have been consulted, it should have been put out to tender,” Mandin said. “The Alberta design community should have been asked to participate in something so important.”
Service Alberta initially defended the decision to go with the 3M designs as a money-saving measure. But Mandin takes issue with that tactic.
"I don't think this is a place for the government of Alberta to be saving money is by getting freebies from U.S. companies to design something that represents all Albertans."
Now that Anton’s design has taken off on social media, Service Alberta has changed its message.
"We just want to encourage people to keep sending us your ideas, we're open to them all,” said spokeswoman Jessica Johnson.
If the government notices some common themes in the feedback they’re getting from the public, Johnson said they will be taken into consideration.
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