Abbreviation (abréviation)
The short form of a department’s title, which is used for written texts, databases and electronic addresses. For the purposes of the Federal Identity Program, abbreviations are usually formed by the initial letters or syllables of keywords, in each official language.
Application (application)
The act of applying the design standards or general rules of the FIP to an object such as a sign or a vehicle. See Field of application
Applied title (titre d’usage)
The official name of a department that is used in communications with the public and in its corporate signature.
Area identification sign (panneaux de désignation de secteur)
A sign that identifies a specific section, zone, floor or room. Area identification signs form part of a system that helps users of a facility to orient themselves.
Arms of Canada (armoiries du Canada)
Formally known as the Arms of Her Majesty The Queen in Right of Canada or the Arms of His/Her Majesty in Right of Canada, and also referred to as the Canadian coat of arms and the royal arms of Canada. The arms of Canada is an official symbol of the Government of Canada. A stylized one-colour rendering of the arms of Canada is used to identify departments whose heads report directly to Parliament, institutions that have a quasi-judicial function, ambassadors, heads of consulates or missions, and the Clerk of the Privy Council.


Base line (ligne de base)
An imaginary line on which the bottoms of capital letters rest.
Blade (profilé)
An extruded component of a sign stacked to form the surface of a sign or directory board. (This sign component was manufactured according to specific specifications and is unique to the signage system of the Government of Canada.)
Blank line (ligne de blanc)
A blank space equal to the type size used. For example, a blank line for 10-point type, set solid, is specified as 10 points, but measures 20 points from base line to base line.
Business card (carte professionnelle)
A card that bears information (name, position title, department, phone and email address) on a government employee.


Calling card, visiting card (carte de visite)
See Business card
Canada wordmark (mot-symbole « Canada »)
The global identifier of the Government of Canada, which is composed of a graphically modified typeface and the flag symbol.
Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) (Office des normes générales du Canada (ONGC))
The Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB), a program of Public Services and Procurement Canada, is a standards writing organization in support of economic, regulatory, health and safety and environmental interests of stakeholders.
Coat of Arms (armoiries du Canada)
See Arms of Canada
Column rail (rail d’accrochage)
The aluminum extrusion, used in 85 mm signs, which fastens directly to the sign posts and to the blade-end connectors. Its length is determined by the total height of the blades used in the finished sign. (This sign component was manufactured according to government specifications and is unique to the signage system of the Government of Canada.)
Common-use sign (panneau d’usage courant)
Any sign with a message related to the facility itself. This type of sign remains valid regardless of changes in the facility’s occupants, e.g. a directory board, a sign relating to fire safety, and signs identifying rooms. See operational sign
Compound signature (signature composée)
The combination of an official symbol and more than one title.
Corporate identity (image de marque)
The unified manner in which an organization, company or public sector entity identifies its presence and activities. A corporate identity can include elements such as nomenclature, symbols, colour, typography and standards for graphics. The Government of Canada’s corporate identity is prescribed by the Federal Identity Program.
Corporate signature (signature visuelle)
The combination of the department’s approved English and French applied title and the flag symbol or the arms of Canada.
Creative approach (approche créative)
In the context of FIP, a visual style, motif or theme that employs graphic elements to convey general or contextual information. A creative approach can incorporate common elements such as colour, form, typography, abstract imagery or photography, and may be applied to a variety of communications products. In contrast to a logo, a creative approach does not dominate or compete with the official symbols of the Government, and its elements may be replaced or eliminated without loss of the general intent or context.
Crown assets (biens de l’État)
Any materiel or real property owned or leased by the Government of Canada, including land, buildings, bridges, wharves, monuments, equipment, and vehicles. It does not include work tools, office equipment, and furnishings.
CSA, Canadian Standards Association (Association canadienne de normalization (CSA))
The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is a not-for-profit membership-based standards writing and testing association serving business, industry, government and consumers in Canada and the global marketplace.
Custodian department (ministère ayant la garde de biens immobiliers, ministère administrateur ou ministère gardien)
The department that administers and manages federal real property.


Definite hazard (danger présent)
A hazard existing in actuality. See Potential hazard
Departmental signature (signature ministérielle)
See corporate signature
Department (ministère)
Any of the departments named in Schedule I of the Financial Administration Act; any of the divisions or branches of the federal public administration set out in column I of Schedule I.1; a commission under the Inquiries Act that is designated by order of the Order in Council as a department for the purposes of the Financial Administration Act; or any departmental corporation, meaning a corporation named in Schedule II.
Deputy heads (administrateurs généraux)
For the purpose of the Policy on Communications and Federal Identity, deputy heads include all deputy ministers appointed to departments and other portions of the federal public administration as set out in Schedules I, I.1 and II of the Financial Administration Act.
Design (design)
The selection and arrangement of form in order to meet aesthetic and functional criteria.
Design element (élément de communication graphique)
Any component used in the composition of a graphic design, such as letters, symbols, lines.
Design standard (norme graphique)
The approved rules on the use of design elements outlined in the Federal Identity Program Manual and the Federal Identity Program technical specifications. They prescribe elements such as shape, size, layout, colour, typography, and use of symbols.
Die cutting (découpage à l’emporte-pièces)
The cutting of paper, cardboard or other material (e.g. vinyl) with dies.
Direction sign (panneau de direction)
A sign that gives directions to a facility, service or organizational unit.
Directory board (tableau répertoire)
A sign that lists the names and locations of institutions, organizational units, programs and services within a facility.


em (em)
In typography, a unit of linear measurement whose width varies according to the type size. A 10-point em is 10 points wide, a 12-point em is 12 points wide.
Endorse, endorsement (appui, appuyer, promotion)
The inference, expression or declaration of a preference, sanction, or favour for any private sector enterprise, organization, activity or product. Endorsements, or the public’s perception thereof, can be created by a department or an individual official through written text, public statements, or use of names, logos and proprietary imagery. Endorsements are commonplace in the private sector because they have commercial value and can provide a competitive advantage. For the Government of Canada, however, providing an advantage to one interest is unfair to all others. It directly conflicts with the public service principle of treating all members of the public with fairness, impartiality and objectivity. Unchecked, the practice can undermine public confidence in the sound administration of federal institutions. An endorsement should not be confused with the fair, objective, and equitable acknowledgement of sponsors, partners and institutions participating in a joint initiative. Nor should it be confused with providing factual public information or data pertaining to contracts or contractors.


Fair acknowledgement (reconnaissance équitable)
The measure of credit or visual acknowledgement given to a department that is participating in a collaborative initiative — or has provided a grant or contribution — in all related public communications. The term “fair” pertains to the relative and equitable prominence of acknowledgement between participants, and based roughly on individual financial or in-kind contributions. The term “acknowledgement” generally means the display of an official identifying symbol without additional tag lines, promotional text or brand elements. A qualifying text generally accompanies the official symbols describing the institutions as sponsors, participants, contributors or funding organizations. Fair acknowledgement applies to all participants in an initiative to which the Government of Canada is a contributor, regardless if it is a government initiative or one that is initiated by an external non-Government of Canada organization.
Federal Identity Program (FIP) (Programme fédéral de l’image de marque (PFIM))
The corporate identity of the Government of Canada that ensures that departments, programs, services, assets and activities are clearly identified to the public in Canada and abroad through the consistent use of departmental titles and symbols.
Field of application (domaine d’application)
The range of items, intended for internal and external use, that bear the Government of Canada signature or departmental signature and the Canada wordmark, including but not limited to stationery, forms, signage, websites and other electronic communications, communications products, personnel identification and motor vehicles.
See Federal Identity Program
FIP signage (signalisation du PFIM)
Primary identification signs; common-use signs; operational signs; and project signs. (Excluded are signs that are subject to a regulation that specifies their design.)
FIP signature (signature du PFIM)
See Corporate signature or Government of Canada signature
Flag symbol (symbole du drapeau)
The flag symbol is a graphically modified version of the National Flag of Canada. The flag symbol is protected under the laws of Canada, and internationally under the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property.
Font (police de caractères)
The complete set of characters for one size and style of type (includes capitals, lower-case characters and punctuation symbols).


Government of Canada signature (signature du gouvernement du Canada)
The standardized combination of the flag symbol and Government of Canada in both official languages. This signature is used when identifying: multiple government departments, jointly managed programs, materials for government-wide use, or major national or international activities.
Graphic design (conception graphique)
The creation, planning and presentation of graphic forms for visual communication.
Graphic elements (éléments graphiques)
The symbols, logotypes, corporate signatures, typestyles, formats and colours; all forms of visual communication.
Graphic symbol (symbole graphique)
A visual communication device that relies, in whole or in part, upon an abstract or pictorial representation.


Head of communications (chef des communications)
The senior executive who is responsible for the management of the department's corporate identity and communications products and activities.


ISO, International Organization for Standardization (Organisation internationale de normalisation (ISO))
ISO is the world's largest developer and publisher of International Standards. ISO is a network of the national standards institutes of 163 countries, one member per country, with a Central Secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland, that coordinates the system.


Legal title (appellation légale)
The name that appears in the enabling legislation (act), proclamation, order in council, or other legal instrument used to create a branch of government.
Legibility (lisibilité)
The quality in typographic characters and their spacing that affects the speed of perception: the faster, easier, and more accurate the perception, the more legible the character. (In English, technicians in typography distinguish legibility and readability: readability signifies the ease of reading the printed message; legibility refers to the speed with which individual characters can be perceived and recognized.)
Lessor (propriétaire)
Owner of accommodations leased by the Crown.
Location sign (panneau d’emplacement)
A sign that shows the location of a facility, service or organizational unit.
A graphic mark, emblem or symbol adopted by an individual or organization to aid or promote recognition. Logos can be purely graphic or can feature the name of the organization in a special typeface (e.g., logotype).


Markings (marquage ou repères d’identification)
Pressure-sensitive decals on motor vehicles bearing graphic elements that include signatures, the “Canada” wordmark and service titles or terms identifying the vehicle’s function.
Message element (élément de communication)
A graphic element that is used to transmit a message (e.g. the Canada Wordmark, a directional arrow or a word).
Motor vehicles (véhicules automobiles)
Includes passenger cars, cargo vehicles, and special-purpose vehicles.


Name plate (plaque nominative)
A sign that identifies the occupant of a work station or room. A standard design has been adopted for government-wide use.
Negative (négatif)
Any graphic element which is reversed from its original form, i.e. light on a dark background. See positive
Normal letterspacing (espacement normal)
The letterspacing values allotted by the typefont designer or the manufacturer of the typesetting equipment. (Not to be confused with the more common typographical meaning which refers to the placing of additional space between letters).


Occupant organization (organisme occupant)
The federal organization occupying space in a leased or owned Government of Canada facility.
Official symbols of the Government of Canada (symboles officiels du gouvernement du Canada)
The Canada wordmark, the flag symbol, and the arms of Canada.
Operational sign (panneau fonctionnel)
Any sign with a message related solely to the operational needs, and hence the responsibility, of the occupant institution. See Common-use sign


Partnering (Partner)/Collaborative arrangements (partenariats (partenaire) ou ententes de collaboration)
Joint activities or transactions involving another government, a company, an organization, a group or an individual with shared or associated objectives, with a written agreement to combine financial or in-kind inputs.
Pica (pica)
A unit of measurement used in typography, approximately 4.2 mm.
Point (point)
A unit of measurement used in typography, approximately 0.35 mm. Twelve points equal one pica.
Positive (positif)
Any graphic element that appears in its original form, i.e. dark on a light background. See Negative
Potential hazard (danger potentiel)
A hazard existing in possibility and capable of developing into actuality. See Definite hazard
Primary identification sign (panneau d’identification principal)
The first sign bearing the signature and the “Canada” wordmark and identifying a federal facility. It may be for exterior or interior use.
Project sign (panneau de projet)
A sign that provides information about federal programs or projects, e.g. public works or employment programs.
Public (public)
All audiences, including employees of the Government of Canada and Canadians living or travelling abroad, who require information about Government of Canada decisions, policies, programs and services.


Readability (lisibilité)
See Legibility
Referent (référent)
What the graphic symbol stands for.
Regulatory sign (panneau de réglementation)
A sign that conveys an order (prohibition or mandatory).
Reproduction proof (contre-épreuve)
A sharp and well-defined photoprint or clean type proof in dense black colour, used for image transfer onto offset plates, engravings, etc.
RGB (Rouge Vert, Bleu (RVB))
The RGB colour model uses red, green, and blue for video display.


Selective kerning (crénage sélectif)
The selective reduction of space between certain typeset character combinations; the rest of the setting retains normal letterspacing. When applied to awkward letter combinations (e.g. Te, Av) kerning improves visual letter-fit, overall letterspacing uniformity and legibility of a word, line or block of type.
Service title (titre de service)
The name that identifies an organizational unit, program or service. It can appear in conjunction with the applied title of the parent institution. See Applied title
Set-width (chasse; épaisseur)
In typesetting, the width of an individual character, including a space on either side to allow legibility of individual characters when grouped to form words. Measured in units. See Tile width
Shared-cost program (programme à coûts partagés)
Any activity, project or facility funded by a federal organization and another level of government or a private institution. Also referred to in the context of the Federal Identity Program as a collaborative arrangement or a partnering activity or initiative.
Solid (compact; plein; sans interlignage)
The set of type matter without any additional spaces between lines; it is said to be “set solid”.
Spacing system (système d’espacement)
A system prescribing the separation of characters and words by the insertion of space.
Special symbol (symbole spécial)
See Logo
Substrate (substrat)
A surface on which motor vehicle markings can be applied.
Symbols (symboles)
See Official symbols of the Government of Canada


Tactile signage (signalisation tactile)
A system of raised pictograms, lettering and dome braille, that provides information for visually impaired individuals.
Tile (carreau)
An assembly consisting of a die-cut character positioned on backing paper trimmed to include the prescribed space on either side of a character on signage.
Tile width (largeur du carreau)
The width of an individual character on a sign, including a specific amount of space on either side. See Set-width
Title (titre)
See Applied title, Legal title, Service title.
Type (caractères)
Letters of the alphabet and all the other characters used singly or collectively to create words, sentences, blocks of text, etc.
Typeface (style de caractères)
A particular style of type in which the letters and figures have certain characteristics in common. See Type
Typography (typographie)
The skilled planning of printed matter, including choice of paper format, type face and size, as well as layout of the printed and blank areas to make a balanced and attractive whole.


Unit (unité)
An arbitrary measurement which for the purposes of signage typeface is based on the division of the x-height into 50 equal portions.
Unit system (système d’unités)
A system based on unit values used for calculating the length of a line of text.
Unit value (valeur unitaire)
The number that represents the width of an individual character including a space on either side. The actual measurement varies according to the character size in use.
Unit width (largeur unitaire)
The width of one unit; varies according to the character size in use. Expressed in millimeters.


Visual identity (identité visuelle)
See corporate identity


Warning sign (panneau d’avertissement)
A sign that indicates a hazard.
Weight (graisse)
In typography, the degree of blackness of a typeface. (The designation of weights varies according to the suppliers of typesetting services. In FIP, the weights of the Helvetica family are identified as light, medium and regular.


“x” (« x »)
In signage, a unit of measurement equal to the square of the x-height of the character size.
x-height (hauteur « x »)
The height of the central portion of lower-case letters, such as w, x, z, without either ascenders or descenders. Used to identify character sizes in signage.

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