21.2.2014 Interbrand

Darling Harbour: The inflatable identity.

Darling Harbour is one of Australia’s most visited destinations with over 25 million visitors a year. Situated in the heart of Sydney, it’s a big, vibrant, colourful place where the city goes to celebrate.


The precinct is owned and operated by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA). SHFA own and manage some of NSW's most significant assets, including Sydney's heritage and cultural precinct The Rocks.


We were commissioned by SHFA to develop a brand that would unite precinct and build a platform for the future. An in-depth analysis, research and engagement phase followed and led them to the development of a new brand platform and activation strategy for Darling Harbour. Based on this, a highly innovative identity was designed to unite the entire precinct experience under one brand for the first time.


SHFA’s vision is ‘to make extraordinary places the world talks about’, so very simply – our objective was to get people talking about this brand. To do this we created the world’s first inflatable brand identity. A distinctive idea that clearly and simply connects: communications, street furniture, way-finding, uniforms, websites and the overall in-precinct experience. Without ever feeling corporate or dull.


The inflatable identity also ties together a broad range of events including: ‘Fiesta’ a festival of Latin American music, dance, food and culture, ‘Hoopla’ Australia’s annual Circus, Sideshow and Street Theatre Festival, and ‘Santa fest’ a Christmas party unlike any other.


To further bring the experience to life, we developed an augmented reality app in collaboration with Sydney-based augmented reality specialist, Explore Engage. Through the app you can follow balloons trails on screen that lead to different areas, play games, pop balloons to reveal special offers, and even send a special balloon message to someone on the other side of the world.


This isn’t just about a new brand identity, but a strategic activation plan that will improve the Darling Harbour experience for everyone.


“The new identity system for Darling Harbour has given us the tools to talk about the diversity of the offer and the variety of events in a cohesive way, that engages our tenants, Sydney-siders and visitors.” Julian Boram, SHFA Director of Marketing.