Sydney vs Melbourne – New brand identities

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sydney logo design

Having lived in Sydney for 27 of my 30 years, I often find myself comparing it to my now home town of Melbourne. While there are pros and cons for each, Sydney’s new brand identity is a decided runner up.

sydney fireworks
Image credit.

One theory is that the design is inspired by Sydney’s annual New Years Eve fireworks display. As iconic as the display might be, it’s only on one night a year for around half an hour, obviously it would be silly to brand a city on this single event.

Sydney is an extremely diverse city, in both its surroundings and nationalities of its people, and while I’m sure the design is intended to convey this diversity, I’m just not feeling it.

melbourne logo design

The monochrome version simply falls flat on its face. While the Melbourne logo design looses a bit of it’s oomph in mono, it’s still obviously reminiscent of Federation Square, the cities cultural and entertainment centre. Sydney’s on the other hand conveys nothing.

sydney melbourne collateral

I hate to sound like I’m just sticking it to the city that I left behind, because that isn’t the case at all. But having lived there for 27 years you would hope that something, anything, about this logo would speak to me. It doesn’t.

sydney logo design

What do you think?

Any Sydney-siders out there who are getting this?


8 thoughtful comments on “Sydney vs Melbourne – New brand identities”

  1. Tanya Were says:

    It looks like Sydney is going down the drain, literally. Sydney is my home city as well and this, well it’s embarrassing. What it actually reminds me of is the water feature in Darling Harbour where kids can run down a path of water in a spiral. Remember doing that on School Excursions?

    The icon is loose and messy and does not display well at a small size. We actually have to write the word Sydney next to it so people know what it represents, and what font is that, Vag Rounded?

    Sydney needs to gain a bit of confidence like Melbourne who have slapt a big M out there and made it work. Although the task of designing a logo for Sydney without using the main icons, this one falls way short of this great city.

  2. Rebecca says:

    I live in Sydney but absolutely love Melbourne! and I must say, the same goes for the logo. Sydney logo = Fail :(

  3. Ewan says:

    The first thing I noticed about the Sydney logo, apart from it being crap, is that it looks like they are trying to use the same sort of arches used in the Opera House maybe?

    Either way, every time I see one of Sydney’s new advertising commercials I am completely unimpressed – they need a re-think.

  4. Kate says:

    Melbourne for sure.

  5. Andrew Keir says:

    Tanya,
    I do remember! Wow, that’s going back a while. I’m not sure about the typeface, with those square terminals it’s a strange one.

    Rebecca, Ewan, Kate,
    Seems we’re all on the same page.

  6. Gillian says:

    Thanks for the post! I lived in Sydney for 11 years and have been in Melbourne for 4. I love both cities.

    I’m sad Sydney seems to be loosing that confident edge Melbournians are always so touchy about but is really part of Sydney’s charm. The Sydney logo is weak and doesn’t speak to me at all.

    The Melbourne logo captures modern Melbourne in a flattering way. The architecture being built throughout the whole city has strong bright or mono patterns built around sharp angles, non organic shapes or bright coloured abstract shapes. It’s even in highway ‘art’ in the outer suburbs. I find some it a bit garish. I love the old Melbourne architecture more.

    Melbourne had money when Sydney didn’t and the older buildings here are full of ornate ceilings, stained glass and artisan touches that give old Melbourne elegance grace and class with a whole lot of character.

    You’re lucky to have a ceiling rose in a Sydney terrace house and the big old buildings in Sydney left are decorated simply (except for the QVB), Melbourne’s are wonders to behold.

  7. dané says:

    Ok, obviously the Melbourne logo is better, but the Sydney logo isn’t bad

    1) Look at the negative space of the logo, a representation of the Opera House is revealed
    2) Clearly represents diversity
    3) To represent Sydney as a beach city, the logo is also styled in the shape of a shell.

    Not absolutely amazing, but pretty clever and discrete.

  8. Coolnige says:

    Wow Gillian… Love your articulate sensitivity. You gave us a picture of walking the streets of Melbourne and them transferring those observations to the page in a bold, confident way. If that is how the logo came to be – well done to the real designer. Application to the page is a big WOW. Those refracted shapes and tints are really confident.


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