Govt decree takes brand conformity to new extreme

The government of the Australian State of New South Wales has ordered some of Australia’s best-loved cultural institutions to scrap their distinctive logos in favour of uniform government-led branding.

Sydney’s Olympic Park, Opera House, Taronga Zoo, the NSW Art Gallery and the Australian Museum have all been ordered to dump their distinctive brand identities in favour of the NSW government’s Waratah logo.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian issued the sweeping decree last month, saying it was necessary to ensure consistency across public sector communications and improve the recognition of NSW government projects.  All NSW government departments, state-owned corporations, statutory authorities, advisory entities, councils under the Local Government Act and universities are swept up in the edict.

Staff at many of the institutions are reportedly scrambling to create cases for exemption.  A spokeswoman for the Sydney Opera House told The Sydney Morning Herald that the opera house had “worked over many years to develop a strong brand with significant national and international reach”.

According to the government, exemptions may be granted by a sub-committee of cabinet.  However, at best these exemptions will be for “co-branding identities”, still requiring the Waratah logo to be used, and bigger and more dominant than other logos.

A NSW government spokesperson told The Sydney Morning Herald that the cost of the rebranding would be “minimal” because the Waratah was an existing logo, and agencies that adopted it could do so as part of their routine communications updates.


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