Robert L. Peters

20 August 2014

Canadian Museum for Human Rights… our latest stamp design.





Winnipeg, Manitoba

Canada Post today released the commemorative stamp (designed by Circle) featuring the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, one month before the building opens. The museum is located near the Forks National Historic Site in downtown Winnipeg, a meeting place dating back thousands of years at the junction of the Assiniboine and Red rivers. It is the first national museum to be built since 1967, the first ever to be located outside of the National Capital Region, and the first museum in the world solely dedicated to the evolution, celebration, and future of human rights.

The ceremonial stamp unveiling took place at the west base of the Esplanade Riel pedestrian bridge on Mahatma Gandhi Way, and was covered by various local and national media outlets (e.g. here, here, here, and here).

“Canada Post’s stamps tell stories of our history, our heritage and our Canadian identity. The Canadian Museum for Human Rights will invite the world to reflect on human rights struggles – both inspiring and tragic – and encourage action for a better future. This stamp commemorates a symbol of our global human rights aspirations, told through a uniquely Canadian lens,” says Deepak Chopra, President and CEO, Canada Post.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights permanent rate stamp measures 40 mm x 40 mm and is available in booklets of 10 stamps. An Official First Day Cover has also been issued, measuring 191 mm x 113 mm and cancelled in Winnipeg. The stamps can be purchased at any Canadian Post Office or ordered here.

Stamp design direction : Alain Leduc, Canada Post (Ottawa)
Creative direction : Robert L. Peters, Circle Design Incorporated
Graphic design : Adrian Shum, Circle Design Incorporated
Photography : Mike Grandmaison
Printing : Lowe-Martin Group (Ottawa)

Images above : The stamp, booklet, and official first day cover; Adrian Shum and Robert L. Peters at the unveiling ceremony.

16 July 2014

DIAPER is REPAID spelled backwards.

—Marshall McLuhan 

15 June 2014

A respectful salute to all fathers!


Father’s Day.

On this day, it seems that “society” has deemed it appropriate to single out and honour the fathers among us. I like that. I think these fine men often go without the recognition due them (not all of them, mind you, some are truly bastards and without a doubt deserve nothing less than to be ignored and forgotten as soon as possible).

I was very lucky, in a way. Although I was never able to experience “being” a father myself, I had the benefit of a truly fine father, and I am eternally thankful for this fact. My father was loving (though strict), patient (to a point), and he was undoubtedly the most “consistent” person I have ever known.

Thanks Dad!

The photo above is of my pacifist Dad, John Jacob Peters, working as a lumberjack in a labour camp in British Columbia, Canada, in 1943… performing alternative service as a Conscientious Objector.

31 May 2014

Eagle Feather






Winnipeg Beach, Manitoba

I feel deeply moved and honoured to have been adopted yesterday as an Anishinabe brother by Alma Kakikepinace, an elder and Eagle Clan Mother, at a fireside 60th birthday celebration attended by several dozen close friends and family members. Alma smudged with sweetgrass, performed drum-songs, and presented me with an eagle feather as a symbolic rite of passage and mark of distinction— I pray that I prove to be worthy of the values inherent with the receipt of this honour— honesty, truth, strength, courage, wisdom, power, and freedom.

Miigwetch, miigwetch… (photos by Ian McCausland).

3 May 2014

If you don’t become the ocean, you’ll be seasick every day.

—Leonard Cohen (thanks to Linda Bloomfield for the quotable)

26 April 2014

It started on a Thursday…



Gimli, Manitoba

Today we delivered one of Ev’s sculptures to Mermaid’s Kiss Gallery in the lakeside resort town of Gimli—the first time this work is on exhibit in a gallery, and Ev’s first piece in this attractive venue. Drop by and have a look if you’re in the area…

It started on a Thursday…
hand-built clay figure, with fired glazes and partial cold finish; assemblage with metal findings on stained wooden base (old-growth fir);
380mm x 275mm x 380mm.

See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil…

23 April 2014

Maxim/Dictum… now as a poster.


Winnipeg, Canada

Maxim/Dictum, the manifesto we developed at Circle several decades ago (to reflect “our collective attitude to life, work, and play”) is now available in the form of a poster. We’ve donated this special edition to the GDC Foundation, with proceeds helping to build a sustainable fund for Canadian designers in need, and to provide scholarships and professional grants in our field.

Like it? Buy it online, here.

10 April 2014

Rise up, rise up…


(Click on image for higher resolution. Feel free to use or share).

28 March 2014

Do not put the names of those you care about in a heart; place them in a circle. Hearts can be broken, but circles go on forever.

“Thought of the day” from Karen Ng-Hem, a young design intern from Toronto that we took in at Circle back in 2001.

24 March 2014

Dirty water. Bad branding.

(Yesterday was World Water Day. Will Novosedlik, a friend from Toronto, shared a piece from his blog with me, which I have re-posted below with permission. I have always found the issue of bottled water replacing tap water in the so-called “developed” world to be ludicrous).


Water. Once it’s mined, shipped, packaged and merchandised, it’s more expensive than gasoline. And while we’re busy burning tonnes of fossil fuel to ship it across countries and continents, we’re also spending countless billions sending probes into outer space in search of more. Because where there’s water, there’s life. And where there’s life, there are markets and customers, right?

From Nestle Waters annual 265 million litre harvest of BC groundwater (cost to Nestle? $0) to Dasani being outed as marginally enhanced municipal tap water, some big brands are quietly draining the global well for private gain. And while they’re draining what most would consider a publicly shared asset, they’re not only depleting our H2O reserves, they’re also indirectly responsible for polluting the very same global resource with trillions of empty plastic containers.


What we have here is branded planetary degradation. Not that brands playing havoc with natural resources is anything new (think bp in 2010), but the extent of this particular kind of cognitive dissonance—  i.e., the contradiction between brand image and actual experience— is off the charts. While ‘purity’ is the pitch, the stats tell a shockingly different story.

To manufacture and ship a one kilogram bottle of Fiji brand bottled water to the US, it takes 26.88 kilos (7.1   gallons) of water, 1 litre of fossil fuel, and it emits 1.2 lbs of greenhouse gas per litre along the way. Bottles used to package water take 1,000 years to biodegrade. Incinerating them produces toxic gases. It’s estimated that 80% of plastic water bottles end up in landfill instead of being recycled.  In the US, water bottle manufacturing requires 1.5 million barrels of oil annually. And 90% of manufacturing costs are for the bottle, the cap and the label.

Stats like these give the lie to the language used to sell these brands. Science has proven that tap water is not only just as clean, but much more rigorously and frequently tested for impurities. That explains why brands like Dasani just turn on the tap to fill their bottles. It’s why Aquafina can say “Purity Guaranteed.” Then they add a few nutrients and sell it back to us at an obscene markup.


According to Dr. Michael Warhurst, Friends of the Earth‘s senior waste campaigner, bottled water “is another product we do not need. Bottled water companies are wasting resources and exacerbating climate change. Transport is the fastest growing source of greenhouse gas emissions, and transporting water adds to that. We could help reduce these damaging effects if we all simply drank water straight from the tap.”

It is a classic case of the devil chasing his own tail. The bottled water industry not only depletes an already available and fundamental resource, but its manufacturing and distribution are contributors to the climate change that is on track to drive more drought, greater environmental degradation and escalating conflict as parched populations fight over our most precious resource. It’s a lose-lose if ever there was one.

This is an opportunity for these brands to show some real leadership. They are global giants with the power and capacity to absorb the short term losses that would result from exiting the business. What they would gain is hero status for doing so. wn

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