Process for Darling Harbour custom balloon typeface
The balloon typeface for Darling Harbour was created using Cinema 4D and the letters were built in-house by Interbrand Australia.
1 Vector spline merged into C4D project
2 Polygon created from reference spline
3 Polygons extruded to create 3D letter
4 Completed mesh made up mostly of quads
5 Mesh smoothed using Hypernurbs
6 Displacment map added to mesh
7 Render with colour and specularity
8 Final render with reflections and HDRI map
9 Flattened UVs
10 displacement map
11 Ability to change colour in Photoshop via colour controls
Darling Harbour Rebrand
Darling Harbour is one of Australia’s most visited destinations with over 25 million visitors a year. Situated in the heart of Sydney, it’s a big, vibrant, colourful place where the city goes to celebrate.
The precinct is owned and operated by Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA). SHFA own and manage some of NSW's most significant assets, including Sydney's heritage and cultural precinct The Rocks.
We were commissioned by SHFA to develop a brand that would unite precinct and build a platform for the future. An in-depth analysis, research and engagement phase followed and led them to the development of a new brand platform and activation strategy for Darling Harbour. Based on this, a highly innovative identity was designed to unite the entire precinct experience under one brand for the first time.
SHFA’s vision is ‘to make extraordinary places the world talks about’, so very simply – our objective was to get people talking about this brand. To do this we created the world’s first inflatable brand identity. A distinctive idea that clearly and simply connects: communications, street furniture, way-finding, uniforms, websites and the overall in-precinct experience. Without ever feeling corporate or dull.
The inflatable identity also ties together a broad range of events including: ‘Fiesta’ a festival of Latin American music, dance, food and culture, ‘Hoopla’ Australia’s annual Circus, Sideshow and Street Theatre Festival, and ‘Santa fest’ a Christmas party unlike any other.
To further bring the experience to life, we developed an augmented reality app in collaboration with Sydney-based augmented reality specialist, Explore Engage. Through the app you can follow balloons trails on screen that lead to different areas, play games, pop balloons to reveal special offers, and even send a special balloon message to someone on the other side of the world.
This isn’t just about a new brand identity, but a strategic activation plan that will improve the Darling Harbour experience for everyone.
Work completed while at Interbrand Sydney (
Creative Direction: Mike Rigby and Chris Maclean
Designers: Diana Chirilas, Briton Smith, Ed Hall, Flick Williams & Joao Peres
Motion & 3D: Mike Tosetto
Copywriters: Mike Rigby, Chris Maclean & Lex Courts
Darling Harbour