The inner Sydney suburb of Redfern wasn’t realising its economic potential. Occupancy problems meant empty shops, which was concerning the local council, businesses, residents as well as the world-class Australian Technology Park on its doorstep.
City of Sydney, Australian Technology Park, residents and the Chamber of Commerce, as well as an inter-disciplinary group of interests, came together with an ambitious goal: to stimulate the economy of the area while uniting a diverse community under a common vision for the future.
The area encompassing Redfern/Waterloo was undergoing significant change. The population has a wide range of housing development and socio-economic factors leading to divergent groups and disparate areas. Redfern had seen a recent rise in cultural activities, new business developments and major refurbishments, but there were still many under-utilised spaces and perceptions of undesirable behaviour impacting on the reputation of the area.
Our challenge was to reconcile the different interests and socioeconomic backgrounds in this place of major change without disenfranchising the local population.
Raising a Smile
Based on site inspections, brand interviews, workshops with residents, purpose-commissioned market research and consistent engagement with the community (to ensure that the brand strategy reflected the needs of all community sectors and its economic drivers), we developed the insight that the key barrier for Redfern was that people from outside the area didn’t feel welcome.
Enlightening conversations with Head of the Aboriginal Housing Company Mick Mundine, who spoke about achieving a good ‘spirit flow’ for Redfern, also helped lead to the core idea of the ‘Welcoming Spirit’ to drive the brand.
The logo is simple but perfectly embodies the idea of welcoming with a smile, while black-and-white collateral incorporates ideas of integration and getting together; “the whole project was about bringing people together. We split the logo across t-shirts, so only by pairing up, do the two halves create a whole”, says Benjamin Hennessy, Design Director at Frost* Collective.
‘Welcoming Spirit’ created a clear focus that everyone involved could understand and become involved in – making people feel welcome and doing this in their own way. This set out the ambition to make Redfern/Waterloo a leader in demonstrating positive change, inclusive to all.
Feeling of Welcome
The campaign was embraced and truly owned by the community, and lives on across coffee cups, bumper stickers, t-shirts and social media.
The most exciting thing is how the community have picked it up and the logo has become a genuine symbol, giving local people and residents the tools to address misconceptions and empower them. Success for us is seeing people wearing the t-shirts and the stickers on car bumpers and kids’ school folders five years on.
Frost’s idea of the ‘welcoming spirit’ has become part of the vernacular. It just sits so well with what people identify with Redfern that it doesn’t seem contrived. I use it every time I’m speaking publicly.