Key Dates

25 February - Launch Deadline
29 April - Standard Deadline
26 August - Final Deadline
9 September - Judging
16 September - Winners Announced
19 October - Awards Presentation

Sydney Symphony Orchestra Rebrand [DRAFT]


Project Overview

In a city that’s overflowing with contemporary culture, the Sydney Symphony Orchestra battles for relevance today with younger audiences, who aren’t formally introduced to the classical artform in the way their parents and grandparents were. This has left the Orchestra reliant upon a devoted yet aging community of supporters that can’t sustain the company for ever.

The SSO’s future hinges upon the engagement of post-Boomer generations, many of whom are yet to experience the power of live classical music.

A new Chief Conductor, new CEO and marketing team had begun to boldly reimagine their future concert calendar, before COVID struck. Beyond fresh concert formats, the team recognised the need for a breakthrough in the orchestra’s positioning and identity, to cast classical music in a totally fresh and 21st Century light.

Project Commissioner

Sydney Symphony Orchestra

Project Creator



Wayde Bull, Founder and Strategy Director
Lavanya Ashok, Senior Consultant - Insights & Experience Design
Simon Wright, Executive Creative Director
Martin Hopkins, Creative Director
Agus Wijaya, Senior Designer
Jordan Demetriou, Designer
David Cunningham, Head of Production
Ben Williams, Senior Artworker
Hayden Mathys, Motion Graphics Designer
Renee Stekel, Senior Account Director
Elaine Ma, Senior Account Manager
Lisa Wilson, Senior Writer

Project Brief

To uncover fresh creative territory we asked the SSO’s musicians, subscribers and staff to describe to us the feelings that great classical music evokes. And got young music enthusiasts who hadn’t seriously experienced classical music to give it a try. Amongst both converts and newcomers all could agree that orchestral music is deeply moving. The brand idea we developed was all about inviting listeners to ‘Feel More’ through the power of classical music, when experienced live.

The new identity system was designed to be unapologetically loud, contemporary and bursting with energy. We created the kinetic type treatment based upon an insight from one of the orchestra’s violinists, who explained that the waves of sound the orchestra create when playing in unison literally vibrates through the bodies of the musicians on stage. We had found the perfect visual metaphor to build the new identity system around. A look as bold and striking as the music that it champions.

Project Innovation/Need

The new identity system is a dramatic departure from the orchestra’s old look and has been designed with digital and social media in mind.

Animation is a central element of the system which now features heavily on their website and in a growing amount of video content the marketing team have published [to keep supporters engaged through 2020/21, before live concerts could be resumed].

The orchestra’s musicians feature heavily in the new identity system, but not in the usual stiff and formal fashion you’d expect. The photography and video treatments seek to capture these passionate musicians in full flight.

The language employed to describe the music is now much more informal and more descriptive of the feelings that we wish listeners to experience.

Every element of the system designed to evoke a full-on feeling.

Design Challenge

We embarked on this rebrand project in the early days of the pandemic, which forced us to think ambitiously about what it would take to convince younger Australians to ‘get on the wavelength’ of classical music and give it a try. But the pandemic focused us too on the existential threat that the orchestra was facing, if it didn’t embrace totally new ways of engaging with its audience and reframing it relevance.

Much of the project discovery and all of the creative development had to be managed over Zoom calls. While our creative success hinged upon communicating emotion in fresh and interesting ways, it was a huge challenge to practically connect as a project team and to bounce ideas off each other.

Despite the logistical challenges, the bold ideas we tabled were embraced by the management team – and the musicians, who were identified from the start as a critical group to win over.


The launch of the new identity coincided with the arrival of the orchestra’s new Principal Conductor Simone Young and its first live performances in over a year, marking a totally fresh chapter for the company.

The SSO’s dedicated subscribers are back in force and forward bookings for the season are strong. Website, social and YouTube traffic is scaling fast, as the orchestra invests far great effort in digital engagement [supported by its musicians who now participate more enthusiastically in these communications efforts].

The core classical program this year is being supported by a number of special event concerts such as the Heartstrings Series and collaborations with contemporary artists like Ben Folds and Birds of Tokyo. These events are proving very successful in drawing younger audiences into the concert hall for the first time and, hopefully, triggering a desire to see and feel more classical music in future.

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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