The City of Sydney Thinks Outside The Box

Posted inBranding & Identity Design
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When a city is as buzzing and pulsing as Australia's beloved Sydney, the branding needs to mirror and showcase it.

Branding agency For The People found inspiration in the city's circular logo to create a beautifully geometric identity package. With the circle as the consistent hero, locals, commuters, and tourists can effortlessly recognize the identity system while taking in the vibrant city.


Sydney is a vibrant, cosmopolitan city with a diverse population featuring a rich history, internationally-recognized tourist attractions and an exciting calendar of events. The City of Sydney is the local government authority responsible for the city center and more than 30 suburbs within our boundaries. They provide services for more than 200,000 residents and 20,000 businesses — as well as the daily influx of workers and visitors into the city. On any given day, the local population swells to more than 1 million, with people commuting, doing business, shopping, playing, studying, or sightseeing. Their brand serves them all.


Our challenge was to unify all of the City's communications into one consistent visual identity and help implement a masterbrand approach for their organization. A key criteria was to build on the City's existing visual identity whilst retaining the logo. We needed to rationalize the brand into a simple, easy-to-use system the could be work across a broad array of uses and needs. It needed to build on what was already there, whilst being intuitive and enable in-house teams and creative partners to thrive.


Based on a core and flex model, the identity relies on a suite of core elements for the majority of applications, whilst being able to flex for special occasions. ​​​​​​​The city has worked with numerous design studios in the past, so there were plenty of examples of event and sub-brand design that leaned on geometric foundations due to the nature of the city’s circular logo. We built the holistic identity system on this foundation of geometry and circle DNA. Once adopted, a high degree of flexibility was introduced to ensure the council could maintain a world-class communications strategy that captured the essence of the city.


The illustration style spectrum was a key method of ensuring a coherent identity for the organization whilst ensuring maximum room to play. The City of Sydney has always been at the forefront of creative collaborations, and we wanted to ensure this continued on well into the future. The circle DNA goes from overt to subtle as the brand moves from core communications and materials through to events, where the designs can be more far more expressive whilst still maintaining the identity geometry DNA.​​​​​​​

Illustrations by Ilana Bodenstein

Dot typeface Dave Coleman

Designed by For The People (