The Australian city of Melbourne was recently rebranded by Landor, Sydney.
The brief: Develop a cohesive brand strategy and new identity system.
The challenge: Reflect the City of Melbourne’s cool sophistication on the world stage, capture the passion of its people, and provide the city with a unified, flexible, and future-focused image. The brand also had to overcome political complexities, improve the cost-effectiveness of managing the brand, and unite the disparate range of entities.
The result: The new M logo replaces the 'leaf' logo (which had been in use for the past fifteen years) and several sub-brands used by the city in recent years. The city's mayor Robert Doyle says "the new design will become an icon for Melbourne, synonymous with the modern, vibrant, cool city Melbourne is today and will continue to be in the future."
It was deemed necessary to rebrand when an extensive audit and review revealed the ‘leaf’ logo to be outdated (although I could have told them that!). The ‘leaf’ was found to be weak when stacked up against other national and international city brands and there was also little understanding of what the ‘leaf’ represented.
At the heart of the new design, the bold M presents a full expression of the identity system - immediately recognizable and as multifaceted as the city itself: creative, cultural, sustainable. A celebration of diversity and personal interpretation that is both future-proof and iconic.
When Jason Little, Creative Director of Landon in Sydney, was asked about the design process he commented “Melbourne is a progressive city, so representing it visually required a forward-thinking approach. Our client and team wanted something as multifaceted as the city itself. The challenge was to reflect the different aspects of the city—from authoritative, restrained, and serious to vibrant, visionary, and passionate. We needed to show off the city of Melbourne’s cool sophistication on the world stage, capture the passion of its people, and provide the city with a unified, flexible, and future-focused image.“
“The core idea came well before logo work, and there was a constant back and forth between strategy and design. The diversity of Melbourne became a sacred concept. We celebrated this in the identity through colour, forms, facets, and structures. We realized that if we got it right it would allow Melbourne to flex, grow, and evolve along with a growing and changing population and connect dynamically with future opportunities."
I think the Landor team did an amazing job and it was great to see that Melbourne City Council were willing to put the money into their branding, but it was disappointing to see the job go to an international agency when there is heaps of talent and passion in Melbourne. And considering that approx 250,000 AUD was invested in this process, I’m sure plenty of Melbourne marketers and designers would agree! But there is no denying – this rebrand has resulted in a fuccessful, fun, dynamic, flexible identity that many Melbournians and Australians would be proud of.
also, check out IdN | Volume 17 no. 1 | 2010