Positive Space Initiative


Positive Space at UofT



The Positive Space Campaign at the University of Toronto works across the three campuses to identify, create and nourish more inclusive spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ staff, faculty, librarians and allies across the institution.

The work of the campaign is advanced by campus-specific Positive Space Committees, who organize and participate in educational programming and social events. This body of work is short-handed by a Positive Space logo, which, by way of stickers and posters, has come to represent 2SLGBTQ+ visibility, safety and allyship on campus.

Types of Work

Branding, Strategy, Graphic Design

Two posters with colorful triangular patterns forming a larger triangle at the top. The text at the top of each reads "2-Spirit Lesbian Gay Bisexual Trans Queer+." Below, large bold text reads "Positive Space." The background has a geometric pattern of colored triangles.

The Need

Positive Space Campaign partnered with us to create a new logo. Our objectives were to:

  • honour the legacy of the Positive Space Campaign, leaning into its immediacy and recognizability;
  • represent the diversity within the university’s 2SLGBTQ+ communities, with special care to meaningfully centre the “progress pride” visual language; and 
  • create a symbol that can hold space for future iterations of the Positive Space Campaign.

The Approach

In our preliminary discussions with the Positive Space Committees, we were able to map a clear and robust timeline of the campaign’s radical history. When it came to looking forward, however, we saw multiple possible futures.

Generally, the representation of a project comes after the visioning of that project, so rather than waiting for a strategic planning (or visioning) process to inform the logo, we proposed a path forward that would allow the future mandate of Positive Space to be informed by a creative framing and a set of key questions we would derive as a part of this process. Following much dialogue and collaboration, we proposed framing Positive Space as a space for connection.

The Idea

A space for connection
A positive space is one in which we’re able to connect, freely and openly, to what we need, in order to feel safe and supported, and to be able to bring our whole and best selves to the space. It is also one that is defined, challenged and redefined by  community.

Positive Space (PS) has historically been a space for connection: events that connect 2SLGBTQ+ students and faculty to each other; education that connects the broader U of T community to language and frameworks that can better support allyship; and symbolism that connects 2SLGBTQ+ community members to a broader sense of belonging. Positive Space also represents a commitment from individuals who display the iconography in their spaces to principles of allyship, ongoing learning, and to creating a welcoming and inclusive space for dialogue.

Here we imagine a decentralized future for PS, with PS Committees serving as “connectors”. From this framework, we can ask some key questions to support visioning:

  • How can Positive Space honour and celebrate its legacy of activism by being a point of connection between past, present and future?
  • How can positive space connect allies with 2SLGBT+ leadership to build capacity around liberatory frameworks and strategies?
  • How can Positive Space lean into its power as an institutionally-sanctioned campaign to connect 2SLGBTQ+ organizers on campus to resources that support radical change?
  • How can we create frameworks for connection between on-campus initiatives and off-campus organizing?
  • How can Positive Space foster connections between social movements?
  • How can PS build and nourish more positive and safer spaces for 2SLGBTQ+ community members?
  • How can PS campaigns create and nourish more positive and safer spaces for 2SLBTQ+ community members?

Some ideas for programming might include: on-campus events for connection among 2SLGBTQ+ students, staff, faculty and librarians (socials, lunches, etc.); opportunities to support student- and faculty- led organizers (micro-grants, logistical support that connect organizers to institutional resources); partnerships with off-campus community organizations (events, talks, etc. that connect on-campus work to off-campus work); the building of a collective timeline of 2SLGBTQ+ activism at U of T that connects past to present; living library with past PS organizers and/or intergenerational talks and panels.

Opting to keep the triangle as the core recognizable element from the the previous logo, we took a kaleidoscopic approach to the logo. This visual framing offers many alternatives, many future possibilities, and points to the many (and often contesting) ways we may experience “safety”, and work towards liberation as diverse 2SLGBTQ+ people. What’s more important than the individual shapes found within, is the overall feeling; of unity, collaboration, and movement.

To read more about our collaboration with Positive Space Campaign, see the press release found here.

A six-panel guide featuring the "Positive Space" brand. Panels include a colorful triangle-filled logo, an overview of the initiative, a primary logo, different logo versions, form specifications, and a color palette with various rainbow colors labeled by hex codes.

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