Dating back to the late 1700s and early 1800s, the area on the southern shore of Sydney Harbour, is one of the oldest neighborhoods in Sydney, going through many transformations (some not its finest and long troubled with poverty and crime) to what it is today: The Rocks, a popular urban tourist attraction (4.5 rating on TripAdvisor!) with plenty of shopping, dining, and cultural options in a setting of heritage architecture and cobblestone streets. However, it has lost some popularity with locals who consider it a tourist trap and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, who manages the neighborhood, wanted to reboot The Rocks and make it a destination for tourists and locals alike. Working with the Sydney office of Interbrand, the organization has introduced a new identity to “focus more on the authenticity, that sense of quality and making things by hand that still goes on today but has almost been forgotten.”
The Rocks has literally been shaped by the hands of the people that have lived here. From the hands of the world’s most ancient culture, to the hands that carved it out of the rock and those who fought to save it from developers in the 70s. And after a period of research, interviews and workshops with the client, we landed on the brand idea — ‘Made By Many Hands’.
The new identity celebrates the people behind the place. The logo, reminiscent of a bolt, holds the brand together, while the colour palette, backgrounds and physical signage are influenced by the textures of the materials found in the precinct.
The previous logo was like the title of a horror movie and it was a little too grungy. The new logo goes for a very hipstery approach — a term that can be misconstrued as negative criticism. But there is good and bad hipster aesthetics and this falls in the good spectrum. The concept that the logo is a bolt is strong and sets the tone for what the logo looks like: simple, sturdy, industrial. The type looks great in a circle and also works nicely as the big, bold tagline.
In application, things get a little repetitive with a lot of centered layouts and the same typography in the same size, doing the same thing, which is not not a bad-bad thing, especially as the neighborhood tries to establish a new, consistent language. The “Made by [blank]” and “Made for [blank]” applications are a nice way to both highlight the businesses that make up The Rocks and acknowledge the visitors that fuel it. Overall, having never visited the area, it feels like it establishes some expectations of what The Rocks offers, what it feels like, and what it’s about.