Vancouver, BC (November 24, 2009) – Founded in 1987, the Vancouver Police Department’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) is the police force’s elite group of officers that deal with critical incidents and operations requiring specialized tactics and equipment. When faced with a dated logo that the senior officers felt was inappropriate for the unit, they called on Subplot Design Inc. to lead them on a re-branding initiative. The new logomark and internal branding campaign launched today.


“We hit a wall with our current logo”, says Inspector Tony Zanatta, commander of the ERT. “It featured a dated firearm as the most dominant symbol, and really sent the wrong message about who we are as a team, and what our role is within the Vancouver Police Department”.


ERT member responsibilities include responding to high-risk and critical incidents, invariably using special tactics, training and the use of firearms and specialized equipment/weaponry and working in conjunction with team members, general patrol members and other specialty squads to diffuse dangerous and potentially hostile situations. Currently responding to over 300 calls a year, the Vancouver ERT is recognized nationally for their professionalism and sets the bar for best practices in Canada. The members of this team are dedicated, professional, and strive to be at the top of their profession.


“This was a unique project for us”, offers Subplot Design Creative Director and lead designer, Matthew Clark. “The primary audience for this identity are the ERT officers themselves, both past and present, as well as other members of the Vancouver Police Department. Its purpose is to stand as a “badge of honour” that directly connects them to their responsibilities, their values and their beliefs.”


Beyond their superior experience, training, knowledge and tactical expertise, ERT officers are part of a tight-knit team that embraces such values as valour, strength, readiness, intelligence, dedication and teamwork on a daily basis. They are both a “force to be reckoned with”, and an embodiment of adaptiveness and intelligence. Their motto, “Apto Improvidus Victum” literally means “Improvise, Adapt, Overcome”.


“The ERT is largely not a “public face” of the Vancouver Police. In fact, it is quite the opposite”, adds Clark. “They are often the group behind the scenes who only make themselves visible in the most dangerous situations. We felt that this helped inform our logo concept.”


The logomark is simple, strong and bold, and features two silhouetted officers revealing themselves to form the “ERT” letters, suggesting the dual “covert vs. visible” nature of ERT officers when responding to critical incidents. It bravely avoids the category clichés both in ERT and SWAT teams, as well as in law enforcement generally such as crests, shields, lightning bolts, large weapons, swords and animals, focusing instead on the real strength of the ERT: the officers themselves.


As part of the launch, a poster campaign has been created to bring another level of depth to the ERT mandate, and features a series of words that both describe the ERT and feature the letters “ERT” in them. From “EXPERT” to “CERTAIN” to “LIBERTY”, the posters are an internal rallying cry, morale-booster, and a daily reminder of the role and responsibilities of the ERT.


“Subplot did something brilliant here”, says Inspector Zanatta. “They got to know us and our values, they created a logo that absolutely sets us apart nationally and internationally in law enforcement and Emergency Response Teams, and they created a campaign that is outstanding and very smart. And they did this pro-bono, to give back to the community they live in. We are very grateful and proud of our new logo”.


The new logo, posters, signage and various communications materials rolled out today, and other materials will be phased in over time, including training materials, presentation visuals and wearables.


About Subplot Design Inc.

Subplot Design Inc. is a leading brand design firm with international experience in creating category-defining corporate and consumer brands. We specialize in powerful ideas that build intelligent, relevant, stand-out brands and communications in what has become an increasingly competitive marketplace. From our Vancouver, BC owned and operated offices, we do this with breakthrough creative brand design including Logomarks + Identity, Brand Packaging, Product Design, Print Communications, Annual Reports, and Retail Identities + Environments.