2020 Melbourne Design Awards

spaces, objects, visual, graphic, digital & experience design, design champion, best studio, in 40 plus categories

the awards create future recognition from awesome projects

recognition of your team, clients and suppliers

Key Dates

4 February - Launch Event
26 March - Standard Deadline
30 April - Late Deadline
18 June - Judging
23 June - Rating Closes
25 June - Winners Announced
11 August - Awards Presentation


Project Overview

Established in 2010, the Australian Government’s National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) and carbon neutral certification offers a voluntary framework for organisations to better manage their carbon footprint, reach carbon neutrality and be recognised for their achievement.

At the start of our engagement, the program already included some well known established members such as Qantas or the Sydney Opera House, however the value and benefits of the certification remained unknown to prospective organisations, creating a barrier for acquisition when compounded with the significant effort, rigour and investment required to become carbon neutral certified.

Our initial task was to help clarify the benefits of the program and grow the recognition of NCOS in the market. Through the project we changed the program’s brand architecture, name and identity, and created a design system that works as both a brand and a certification, allowing it to meet its potential and help drive critical environmental outcomes.

Project Commissioner

The Department of the Environment and Energy

Project Creator

The Contenders


Design Director: Sarah Hendy
Designer: Emily Enrica
Principal Strategist: Sally McNeill
Brand Strategist: Laura Liston
Account Manager: Stephanie Jones
Managing Director: Vanig Krikorian
Strategy Director / CEO: Joe Rogers

Project Brief

Our initial project brief was built on driving key communications and marketing outcomes:

1. Improve value to members of their certification and increase recognition
2. Raise the profile of existing certified members
3. Promote the benefits of becoming carbon neutral
4. Raise public awareness and recognition of the program
5. Foster a shared vision between members of the program

Through our engagement and research at the beginning of the project it became clear that the current program’s name and identity were creating barriers for acquisitions. As such we proceeded to develop a new brand strategy and identity to represent the program and certification to underpin all future engagement and communications.

Project Innovation/Need

This project presented a particular challenge requiring an innovative solution. To raise awareness and to encourage members to join, the new brand had to work as both a brand and a certification. The brand needed the gravitas to live on its own and build long term equity, and the certification needed to offer instant credibility alongside Australia’s biggest brands including Qantas, Intrepid Travel and the City of Sydney.

Our strategy focused on creating a name and identity that were all about mobilising Australians to create action with energy and optimism. We positioned this new brand around the idea of ‘empowering Australians to take Climate Action now and for the future’ and renamed the program as ‘Climate Active’ to reflect this core focus. We created a brand architecture to cater for the program and its network, but also for the Climate Active brand to endorse the ‘Carbon Neutral’ certification.

Design Challenge

In addition to representing the dual purpose of being a brand and a certification, the brief presented a specific design challenge. With so many climate initiatives across the globe, the ‘environmental certification’ segment is crowded. We had to cut through the noise with a unique and compelling brand to do justice to Australia’s only government backed carbon neutral initiative.

To meet the needs of all stakeholders, we needed to find a way to represent the idea of climate protection in a new way, and find the balance between a consumer friendly image and corporate credibility.

The core symbol of the brand identity we designed uses strength and simplicity to represent the program’s role - reducing emission one step at a time. The primary brand builds long term awareness and impact and the certification system builds instant credibility. The identity system is positive and optimistic and relies on the idea of ‘offsetting’, bringing it to life both literally and figuratively through the identity, iconography and typography.


The Climate Active project was a tremendous success, with our’s and Government’s expectations being far exceeded.

Current members were engaged throughout the process in a new way and qualitative feedback has found that this engagement had a positive impact on brand perception.

The official launch of the new brand at the Sydney Opera House was a great success with over 200 attendees including prospective members of the ASX200.

While data on new member acquisition is still being collated, anecdotal evidence suggests an increase on acquisition post brand project.

This award celebrates creative and innovative design in the traditional or digital visual representation of ideas and messages. Consideration given to clarity of communication and the matching information style to audience.
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