• Transform magazine
  • June 02, 2020


Around the world in three place brands


This month, place branding made news around the world as three major projects celebrated the unique nature of cities, regions and nations. We highlight stories from Ireland, Australia and the UK



Ireland has a long history of golf and is home to over 300 courses, some featuring majestic vistas of the sea, some perched on cliffs at the land’s edge, some nestled in the green vales and glens that dot Ireland’s geography. It’s even in the name – the Emerald Isle – reflecting, if not directly referencing, the grassy expanses that define a golf course.

In August, Tourism Ireland – which acts on behalf of both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland – began using golf as a way of building awareness about Ireland’s relationship with the sport and highlight all the republic has to offer to sportspeople and fans.

Working with Sky Media, Tourism Ireland is also celebrating the first time in 68 years the Open will take place in Northern Ireland. The 2019 tournament will take place at the historic, and dramatic, Royal Portrush course in County Antrim. Abutting the sea, the course integrates the isle’s rugged beauty into its 36 holes. It also poses an opportunity for golf to be promoted throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic.

In a film, Sky’s golf pundits Paul McGinley and Nick Dougherty help support the campaign by touring the golf clubs, courses, sites and landmarks across the island. Professional golfers also take part by sharing why they love to play in Ireland.

Rachel Bristow, director of partnerships at Sky Media, says, “This compelling campaign takes full advantage of our unrivalled golfing talent, content and audience insights and will encourage more golfers to visit the exceptional Irish courses. It’s a great message to mark the Championship returning to Northern Ireland for the first time in 68 years.”



Bankside has been held a distinctive place in London’s cultural history since the Elizabethan era. The Globe Theatre played host to William Shakespeare and other leading luminaries of the age. Now, the strip of land abutting the south bank of the Thames is still home to theatres, creative companies and small businesses.

Supporting that is business improvement organisation Better Bankside. Borough Market and Bankside will play host to the London Design Festival this month, spurring Better Bankside to join forces with NB Studio and 45 designers to fly the flag for Bankside.

The 45 flags – varying from wacky to cute to anarchic – will fly over Borough Market from 15-23 September. Design studios like Pentagram, Hat Trick, Superunion were charged with designing some of the flags, alongside independent designers and artists. Better Bankside says this campaign will help “represent  the rebellious and independent spirit of the area.”



Bounded by national parks and the sea in all directions, Australia’s cultural capital of Sydney has only three ways to expand – upwards, to the southwest or to the northwest. Its current sprawl is pointed northwestwards, seeing the city expand into the foothills of the Blue Mountains.

To support that development, the developers behind the changes in the city’s northwest have worked with Sydney-based agency Re on a new place brand for the region. The challenge was to overcome the common misperception of the northwest as a light industrial area – and not much else. The dream was to transform the area into a city centre in its own right, with livable, workable spaces.

Guided by the name Norwest, and its relationship to Sydney’s centre, Re designed the branding to include six lines, reflecting a compass’ needle pulling toward the northwest. The identity is not static, but alive. Animations and gifs dominate the work, using a magnet-like device to keep the pieces of the identity moving.

The development on Norwest is expected to continue through 2030, but the battle to change perceptions is well under way.