Responses by Ant Donovan, group creative director and Chris Griffiths, senior designer, Frost*collective
Background: Sydney Airport is the gateway to Australia. In an evolving tourism industry, Sydney Airport needed to reaffirm its position as a leading international airport. Its centenary provided the ideal time to move away from a corporate look and feel and communicate a more contemporary vision driven by innovation, technology and the desire to connect with its customers—be it Sydneysiders or global travellers—in a more authentic way.
Reasoning: Sydney is not one thing; it’s an international city, a cultural melting pot and an unmistakable landscape. As an extension of Sydney, the airport is a first impression, a lasting memory and all the human stories in between. We repositioned the brand from Sydney Airport to Sydney’s Airport, to embrace what it enables—humanity, warmth, energy and optimism. Our ambition was to connect the world with that Sydney feeling—the transformation that happens, the emotions we feel and the experiences we return to time and time again.
Challenges: Branding a facility is unlike anything else. It’s tangible but intangible. People have to use a particular airport; it’s not a decision they make. Our starting point was to ask ourselves, “What is the role of an airport in people’s lives?” The brand also has to work across categories that don’t relate, from retail, food, beverages and hotels, to parking, fuel and facilities. An airport is also a sentinel for the city and country. This thinking led to the core brand idea of “Make Sydney proud every day,” which informed the overall experience.
Favorite details: That the client followed our advice to really own the airport in the minds of the general population and buy into the line “Sydney’s Airport.”
Visual influences: Sydney is aglow with light and energy. Frost* modernized the existing airport code logo using bolder, more contemporary letterforms. Built around typography, the visual identity is brought to life using color, pattern and natural photography that captures the spirit of Sydney and enhances the emotive response to the brand. The graded logo and light motion suggest luminescence and movement—the sense of transitioning from one place to another—while the color palette speaks to Sydney’s vibrancy and diversity. We celebrate the brand through an unmistakable Sydney lens.
Anything new: We learned that this is a digital-first brand, so that informed our thinking. For example, had the brand been largely seen in static or print, we would never have gone with the gradient. We also learned a lot about deployment at scale. The brand has such multiplicity of uses, from small-scale luggage tags to the very largescale, billboards, and even a 27-meter (88-feet) digital screen. The stress testing to ensure the mark is effective in all these environments was enormous!