Sydney Logo: A City Without A Heart?


Like many cities in the United States, Australian cities are trying to develop visual identities that will help them attract city tourists and build community pride among residents. Part of this process is having a logo designed that represents the unique qualities of the city in question. Destination branding is big business because of the impact it can have on a community both in terms of quality of life and of tax dollars.

Sydney, Australia should be an easy city for which to create a brand and a visual identity. With sandy beaches and statuesque mountains surrounding a blue harbor, nature has clearly been kind to this city. With four and a half million residents, it also is the capitol of a modern and diverse nation, similar to ours. Like all big cities, it has its issues, but in all, there are many reasons to live in Sydney and just as many reasons to visit. All the city needed was a logo design that packaged it in an attractive way.

The new Sydney logo design comes close to reaching this goal, but doesn’t quite arrive. A spiral radiates out from the center, making a symbol of growth the main image. The spiral is made of bars of color to represent the diversity of the area. With a variety of land types in the area and a variety of ethnicities (one-third of the city’s residents are foreign-born), it is important to have a colorful logo. The typeface is a rounded one with a mix of rounded and hard edges, which is a little jarring in its inconsistency. However, it was likely chosen as a compromise between hard-edged business fonts and more modern rounded ones.

The most serious criticism is that the logo lacks heart. Not only is there nothing at the center of the spiral, there is no emotion conveyed by the logo design as a whole. What does this Sydney logo appear to say? That this is a diverse and quickly growing city. Unfortunately, that sentiment represents almost every major city in the world and does little to show what makes Sydney unique.

Sydney is often criticized by Australians as a place with little substance. Fake tans and augmented body parts fill the beaches and streets. Beautiful surroundings give people plenty of ways to occupy themselves without much contemplation. It’s a beautiful place to look at, but what is it really made of? This Sydney logo design could have answered that question for tourists all over the world; in fact, it makes an excellent start at it. Unfortunately, the concept is never completed and viewers are left wondering.

All companies need a logo design—more and more, cities and other entities need them as well. This is due to the immense advantage that having a logo and a visual identity can afford you. However, it is important during the design process to narrow down exactly what makes your company unique, the reason that customers should choose you over your competition. If your logo design doesn’t differentiate your brand, it is only a pretty picture.