Designing an identity that says: This is Sydney

When Olivia Ansell, the incoming Sydney Festival director, expressed her vision to us it was for a bold and vibrant festival identity that captures the coming-out-of-lockdown summer that Sydney deserves.

By Shannon Bell, Creative Director - Re

Nov 2021

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It’s fair to say that over the past decade Sydney has lost a bit of its party spirit. From the lock-out laws crippling nightlife to the emergence of apps like Spotify and Uber Eats, the idea of going out and celebrating culture has changed dramatically. Even before COVID. 

But the Sydney we love is still there. It’s simmering beneath the surface just waiting to come out. And this year’s Sydney Festival is set to be a bold declaration that Sydney is back.

This was the way Olivia Ansell, the incoming Sydney Festival director, expressed her vision at our first meeting. The former Sydney Opera House director of contemporary dance, circus and physical theatre, spoke about unleashing the hedonism and vibrancy at Sydney’s core, and giving Sydney the coming-out-of-lockdown summer it deserves. She wanted a festival identity that could express that.

It was a dream brief, but not a simple one. As we started the project and set about unearthing the ‘real’ Sydney, we found countless perspectives on what that is. From the beach to the burbs, new arrivals to locals, every member of our team – and every potential festival-goer – has a different experience of Sydney. 

Which led us to the simple truth that Sydney really has something for everyone. This is a place to work out who you are and find your tribe. It’s bigger, freer and more expressive than other Australian cities. It has a side for everyone.

The Festival identity became a canvas to express those sides, enabling people to see their Sydney and find new perspectives to explore. The logo takes on the textures of the city. From highbrow to disco, emerging artists to the establishment, bushwalks to back alleys, and everything in between. A passionate, inclusive, authentic love letter to every side of Sydney.

This brand is set to come to life in many weird and wonderful ways over the coming months. And we can’t wait for everyone to find their Sydney side amongst it all.

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