Positive Space campaign introduces new logo

For nearly 30 years, the Positive Space campaign has enabled the U of T community to identify safer and more inclusive spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty, and librarians on campus. Now, the Sexual & Gender Diversity Office (SGDO) and tri-campus Positive Space committees are updating the campaign’s logo to better reflect the diversity of 2SLGBTQ+ communities. The new logo will be revealed at tri-campus events on Monday, March 4.

Positive Space logo reveal graphic

“The Positive Space campaign was created at U of T in the mid-1990s as a strategy to bring visibility to and awareness of 2SLGBTQ+ identities on our campuses,” said Allison Burgess, Director, SGDO. “It is hard to explain how impactful this initiative was, but I personally remember how meaningful the campaign was as a student who was newly navigating the campus and my own identity. Seeing that rainbow triangle sticker on an office door signalled a message of inclusion and belonging that cannot be underestimated. With the new design, we wanted to honour that legacy, while ensuring that the icon we use in the contemporary moment celebrates the breadth and depth of 2SLGBTQ+ communities.”

Work to reimagine the Positive Space logo began in early 2023, inspired by the evolution of the Progress Pride flag and conversations about intersectionality taking place within and outside of the University. A committee of Positive Space leaders, the SGDO team, and staff from the UTM and UTSC Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Offices (EDIO) was formed to guide the work, alongside a tri-campus consultation group of students, staff, faculty, and librarians.

The committee engaged The Public, an activist design studio founded by U of T alum Sheila Sampath, to support a visioning and rebranding process. After discussions exploring the past, present, and future of Positive Space – including what makes a space feel more inclusive and how the campaign will be accountable to the principles and practices of anti-racism – they began to map out a new creative direction.

The group wanted to ensure that the logo was easily recognizable to all U of T community members, whether they identify as 2SLGBTQ+ or not, and retained the triangle as the dominant shape as a way of maintaining continuity and nodding to queer history. They also wanted to ensure that the Progress Pride colours were incorporated in a meaningful way, and not just added to the existing logo.

The Public explored a variety of options for the new visual identity before landing on a kaleidoscope effect, featuring an inverted triangle made up of many smaller triangles.

“Part of this was to highlight the ways different people self-identify within the group, and also the different ways that we interpret and experience the idea of safety,” Sampath said.

“The kaleidoscope imagery evokes movement, change, and fluidity,” added David Pereira, who led the project throughout 2023 as Acting Director, SGDO. “It hopefully reflects the idea that our identities are not necessarily fixed – we are always evolving, and that’s part of the vibrancy and joy I see in 2SLGBTQ+ people and communities.”

In sharing the visual concept with the consultation group, other themes and interpretations also emerged. “The new Positive Space logo immediately reminded me of the Star Blanket,” said Tee Duke, Director, Indigenous Initiatives, U of T Mississauga. “Blankets in Indigenous communities are often gifted to community members to honour, protect, or acknowledge a life achievement.” She added that Star Blanket teachings not only represent the morning star but also the Creator’s eye watching over and protecting you.

Once a design had been selected, the group solicited feedback from the broader U of T community through an online survey, which informed final refinements to the logo.

“I am grateful to the many people who have collaborated to ensure the Positive Space campaign remains significant, impactful, and reflective of our community,” said Kelly Hannah-Moffat, Vice-President, People Strategy, Equity & Culture. “Our commitment to inclusion requires a willingness to change as our community’s needs and identities evolve.”

Members of the U of T community are encouraged to stop by one of the tri-campus launch events on March 4 to see the updated logo, pick up new materials, and join the festivities. Stickers, posters and digital assets featuring the updated logo will also be available through Positive Space’s new website after the launch date.

“If you have an old sticker in your office, we encourage you to replace it,” said Carmen Kehman, Program Coordinator for the SGDO, adding that the new stickers are the same size and can be stuck directly over the older ones. “But your action shouldn’t stop there. We hope you’ll also sign up for SGDO training sessions to learn how to continue building an inclusive campus for all sexualities and gender identities.”