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New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People

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West Coast in Tasmania is a remote area in the relatively small island that is known for its geographic and climate ruggedness as well as its difficult accessibility. Rich in minerals, it was once heavily mined and is the main reason a railway even reaches it. Today it is home to around 4,000 people (out of the approximate 526,000+ population of Tasmania) and its beautiful and untouched scenery has been attracting increased tourism. Launched last week and rolling out over the next few months is a new identity designed by Sydney, Australia-based For the People who worked with the West Coast Council through an open process, inviting the region’s 4,000 residents, tourism operators, and councillors to participate in the making of the brand. After a 10-month process, the result is an open source brand toolkit that allows the different constituents of the region to put together their own materials using a shared visual language. Spoiler: Do not let the barebones logo image above dissuade you, this gets crazy good.

There are a lot more images on For The People’s project page if the many images included here are not enough!

The identity itself has the challenge of communicating the distinctly West Coast offer, whilst understanding that every town has its own view of the world and each are fiercely protective of their own identities. To this end, we created a set of identity elements that allow a multitude of anecdotal, distinctly West Coast messages to be expressed. Coupled with a bespoke typeface, iconography, and a photography library that defies the usual tourism imagery, the region can convey a coherent narrative and regional style, whilst maintaining the individual personality of each town, business or initiative. As an open-source identity system, every aspect is free to use by locals in the region, providing the tools to communicate effectively, where these would normally be cost prohibitive to anyone but large tourism operators to use.

For the People provided text

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Logo variations.

The logo, in its basic foundation forms, isn’t much to look at. I mean, it’s fine, but if that were all there was to it, it wouldn’t be much of a story. In its simplicity, though, and given how wild things get, it’s the perfect vessel to deliver a flexible system and serve as an anchor for all the different configurations possible.

We worked with Australian illustrator Marco Palmieri to develop a suite of illustrations and iconography that can be coupled with type and language, to further express the rough and ready life personality, and demonstrate the past and present history and environment of the region and towns.

For the People provided text

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Illustrations.
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Detail of illustrations.

The first ingredient that starts to take this to 11 is a set of amazing illustrations that are full of texture, personality, and literally untold stories (if I wanted to get philosophical). I mean, a fish with a ball and chain? A woman running into a portal? Not one but two platypus illustrations? That’s all something that makes me want to know more. The style is fantastic, avoiding all the clean and crisp lines of today’s illustrations standards, and all with a great sense of depth using a single color.

We developed the master typeface, Sidetrack, with typographer Mathieu Reguer, that references the prolific large scale sign painted typography that appeared throughout the region during the settlement and mining boom. It’s created around a Universal Stencil Plate, a lettering device invented by Joseph A. David in 1876. It features a complex grid that allows its user to trace any letter, numbers or punctuation shape that allowed numerous non-professionals to produce crude but consistent lettering in a very efficient way. This working man’s typeface became the foundation in which we built several iterations of the font, each one capturing an aspect of the region, from the railway tracks that connected the towns and cover the region, through to an Art Deco variant that expresses the character of the beautiful heritage architecture that lives across the towns.

For the People provided text

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
“Universal Stencil Plate”.
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Styles.

The second ingredient is a custom type family that uses the same monospace template and structure to generate different styles that yield a rich set of textures in the crazier styles as well as a tame, regular style to keep things sane. Like the logo, on their own, the fonts are good but could also fall a little flat if not activated in an interesting way. Luckily, they are most totally activated in an interesting way.

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Logo, in different font styles, with illustrations.

As an example of the flexibility of the system, above is one configuration of the logo, in different font styles, and with different illustrations. YES. Hard to read, maybe, but a whole lot of yes. And that’s only the start.

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Badge generator.

Aside from flexible logos, there is a seemingly endless supply of badges, using all manners of what could be described as hipster-y arrangements but to hell with the stereotype as these are all great and fun no matter how many times we’ve seen them on coffee shops, breweries, and outdoor apparel brands. This is the real deal. A badge generator allows any company or service to enter their name, pick an illustration and a layout style, and use it.

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Sample logo sets for different towns.

The images above are my favorite of all the project, showing the unifying potential of the system that brings together the whole region in a consistently cool way.

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Posters.

The illustrations and type family work great as well in any other number of combinations.

Working alongside Borja photographers Ollie Khe and Hayden Griffith, we developed a large volume of imagery and footage that captures what it means to be in the west coast. The isolation and beauty turned up to the nth degree, to show how the indiscriminate and unpredictable weather, coupled with a incredible variety of landscapes, can deliver an experience that can only be had on the West Coast of Tasmania.

For the People provided text

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Photography.
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Photography-based posters.

The place looks stunning and the photography really captures the feel that the West Coast is rugged AF. The muted, moody tones of the photography serve as great backdrops for the illustrations and type treatments as well.

New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Patches.
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Coasters.
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Key rings.
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
New Logo and Identity for Tasmania's West Coast by For the People
Beanies.

Overall, this is non-stop bad-ass. To try to provide a more meaningful conclusion: I think the system does an amazing job in uniting a region through a shared visual language that is thought-out in a way that provides everyone involved something they can see themselves in, whether it’s a mining cart or one of the two platypuseseses. Even the typography provides people a choice, with a straight up font or one with more texture. And, in general, it all conveys a certain unhinged-ness from the rest of the world that seems to honor the geographical unhinged-ness of the West Coast.

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