CLIENT: The College of Pharmacists of BC


Pharmacy robbery is a surprisingly frequent and often violent crime. It happens in all kinds of neighbourhoods causing serious emotional and often physical harm to pharmacy staff and to the general public. Drugs stolen end up on the streets, contributing to high rates of addiction, overdose and death. The College of Pharmacists of British Columbia takes a zero- tolerance approach to this crime and has taken steps to make pharmacies and communities safer. As of September 15, 2015, all pharmacies in BC were required to keep narcotics in time-delay safes and, additionally, to require the display of highly visible signage informing the public, including potential drug thieves, that this was now the case.

Rationale for the program name:

  • Simple and easy to remember, regardless of audience’s first language.
  • Connotes the very essence of the program, that is, the fact of the in-pharmacy safes themselves.
  • Using BC communicates the province-wide nature of the program.
  • Communicates that the objective of the program is a BC safe from the unregulated availability of narcotics on the street.
  • Communicates that the safety of on-the-job pharmacists and technicians (and legitimate customers) is a fundamental objective (“My pharmacy is a drug-safe pharmacy”), as indeed all pharmacies in BC will be. Use of ‘drug-safe’ as an adjective was deemed likely to catch on.

With a legal / trademarkable and appropriate name selected, the next step was to give it a visual identity, that is, create a logo that would allow the program to become a ‘brand’ and linking responsibility for setting and enforcing requirements in this area with the College.

Rationale for the logo / mark:

  • It has become known internally as the ‘cube’. It represents, graphically, the nature of a safe.
  • It has perspective, solidity and depth, that is, it’s an object and not just a one-dimensional collection of words and colours on a page. The shadow is an inherent part of the design.
  • It is a self-contained unit which should help ‘drug-safe’ to assume the status of an adjective, as noted above.
  • Colours are strong, have impact and command attention. Red traditionally means ‘stop’; we anticipated some degree of sub-conscious understanding of this. The blue is a slightly unexpected partner to the red; one would expect black. Clearly disassociates the mark from the plethora of red and black marks in the market.
  • The font is a simple sans-serif—clear, uncluttered, easy to read.
  • We deliberately avoided colours that could be associated with a Province of BC-sponsored initiative, such as blue and yellow.
  • The cube lends itself to attention-grabbing animation when it comes to TV, video and
    online content.
  • The cube also lends itself to becoming a ‘bug’, that is, a device that will become so recognizable in and of itself that it will communicate even in the absence of supporting copy and identification.

The tagline ‘Safer pharmacies. Safer communities.’ supports one of the primary objectives of the program, that is, to make communities safer by reducing, if not eliminating the incidence of narcotics theft from pharmacies and the subsequent reappearance of such pharmaceuticals on the streets.