Tasmania’s West Coast: far from the rest of the world, with a harsh landscape and even harsher weather. Four hours West of Tasmania’s capital Hobart, it comprises of mining ‘ghost towns’, World Heritage sites, mills, and leftover mining infrastructure.
It was a challenging brief from the West Coast Council for Sydney agency For the People: to breathe new life into Tasmania’s remoter region, producing a brand identity to help overcome the area’s remoteness, lack of profile and declining population.
With the aim of creating an honest brand that truly reflected the West Coast’s natural features, tough people and history of tension between environment and economy, the agency’s strategy was an interesting, and brave, one: involve the community.
An open and inclusive approach to the design process was instigated and over the course of 10 months, the region’s 4,000 residents, tourism operators, and councillors were all invited to contribute their ideas for the brand via social media, radio and community workshops.
The payoff was a collection of stories, language and heritage that typify the West Coast, all used to create an identity that brings the personality of the West Coast to life in a cohesive story that distinguishes it from the rest of Tasmania.
From this, the agency were able to create a suite of brand assets, including typography, film, photography and merchandise, unveiled in an exhibition at Tasmania arts festival The Unconformity.
The bespoke typeface references the prolific large scale typography that appeared on signs throughout the region during the settlement and mining boom. There’s several iterations of the font, each one capturing a different aspect of the region, such as the railway tracks that connected the towns and cover the region, and an Art Deco variant that expresses the character of the heritage architecture across the towns.
A large photography library defies the usual tourism imagery and doesn’t shy away from the region’s harsh landscape, capturing the isolation and beauty of the region and the unique experience it has to offer.
The assets have all been made available to use by anyone in the region through a free, open source brand toolkit. Usually costly for anyone but large tourism operators to use, this accessible kit means that everyone locally can use the materials to help shift perceptions about the region, attract business, and encourage tourists to investigate beyond the more well-known parts of Tasmania.