The potential of inner Sydney suburb Redfern was being hampered by negative perceptions. A spate of cultural activities, new business initiatives and major refurbishments hinted at a new chapter, but there were still many under-utilised spaces and a reluctance to visit.
Locals experienced a place diverse in community, history and opportunity. Yet outsiders viewed it as dangerous and not a place to spend time or do business.
As a result, a passionate group of local residents, businesses, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, Chamber of Commerce and the City of Sydney jointly engaged Frost* to create a brand identity that could right the perceptual wrongs and kickstart the local economy in the process.
Community consultation was cornerstone to this project, as not only did we believe the answer lay within the communities’ stories, visions and attitudes, but they would eventually be the brand custodians – this was as much their brand as the suburb itself.
Enlightening conversations with the Head of the Aboriginal Housing Company, Mick Mundine, saw him describe the need to change the area’s ‘spirit’. He believed that if the ‘spirit flow’ in Redfern was corrected, negative perceptions would shift, people would feel welcome and the community would flourish.
This idea of positivity and a welcoming nature was also reflected in consultation with those outside of the area, who although admitting to being fearful of Redfern, spoke of being surprised by how welcoming, warm, and engaging Redfern was when they actually visited.
Hence, the idea of ‘Welcoming Spirit’ solved the problem – it was an active invitation and promise to non-locals, which was also a unifying reflection of the diverse local community and its spirit.
What’s more welcoming than a smile? Designed to be expressive and quickly recognisable, the new Redfern logo formed a welcoming smile. A monotone palette gave the identity strength and confidence, while letting the smile icon do the heavy lifting in conveying the welcoming message.
The simplicity of the identity was also strategic – we wanted it to be embraced and adopted by the community it was made to serve. As a result, café owners emblazoned coffee cups, locals slapped on bumper stickers and the Rabbitohs emblazoned Redfern Oval with the new logo.
Opportunities also exist to split the logo into two halves across applications, symbolically showcasing that two halves make up a whole. As Creative Director, Ben Hennessey comments, “The whole project was about bringing people together. We split the logo across applications like t-shirts, so only by pairing up, do the two halves create a whole.”
“Since this new identity launched, Redfern has flourished into a new kind of community. One proud of its diversity, history, culture and resilience – but one also actively inviting new people and businesses in to unleash the potential that locals always knew was here.”