Evolving consumer habits and ease of online purchasing is forcing seismic changes for retail as they hustle to align themselves to new consumer spending habits.
But brick and mortar isn't going away anytime soon either, (Covid almost got there) competing retailers need to sharpen their offering and electrify their in-person customer experiences to provide a point of difference from their competitors through design and innovation.
In addition to these changing market dynamics, the shopping center Rundle Mall in Adelaide, South Australia, has the unfortunate added pressure of its success being attributed, inextricably linked, to the success of the entire city of Adelaide as a whole...
To stay ahead of the curb, Rundle Mall employed the creative work of Marketing agency Simple to help them reinforce their position as Adelaide's leading retail precinct.
The logo they produced is incredibly simple, (pun intended) but effective, derived as a silhouette of the giant sculpture of stacked spheres that guards the entrance to the mall (see Figure 1). Using this humble shape, the rebrand explores a myriad of creative and colorful executions that inject vibrancy and musicality into the brand.
As luck would have it, I reached out to the team at Simple and they were generous enough to provide some insight into their creative process (legends). I've trimmed the fat of their responses here and there, a nick and tuck for efficiencies sake, but see below, responses from the team at Simple.
Mon: What was the overall objective the client was looking to achieve with the new identity?
Simple: The Rundle Mall team were keen to bring their strategy to life in a compelling way, that articulates Rundle Mall as the beating heart of Adelaide and reinforce their position as Adelaide’s leading retail precinct. The identity needed to be flexible enough to be utilised across the busy retail calendar, and seamlessly interweave functional comms (like opening hours and parking options) into the overall storyline.
Mon: What were the biggest challenges with the project?
Simple: Rundle Mall is home to more than 24 million visitors each year, and is the barometer from which residents and tourists measure the vibrancy, vitality and ultimately, the success of Adelaide. So, the pressure was on from the get-go and we knew there were going to be a huge number of eyes on everything we did.
The 24 million annual visitors don’t fit one demographic either — the brand needed to speak to every age, every gender and every race. We needed to create something that was universal enough to speak to all of these demographics but at the same time, continued to push the boundaries and set the tone as Adelaide’s leading retail precinct.
We had to give careful consideration to each individual aspect of the brand as it would be applied to every touchpoint under the sun —from digital screens big and small, printed collateral, merchandise and everything in-between— though, it would also need to translate and be versatile enough to support the range of retail messages throughout the year.
Mon: Were you guys immediately drawn to using the sculpture outline as the logo? Or was it something that came about in the design process?
Simple: While the iconic landmark ‘Spheres’ —affectionately known to all South Australians’ as the ‘Mall’s Balls’— wasn’t our only line of exploration, we just couldn’t go past its ability to instantly represent the precinct.
Mon: I’ve noticed lots of 3D executions in this project and they’ve been appearing more in the design industry as a whole. How do you guys feel 3D fits into design and branding?
Simple: Like any other medium or execution, there’s certainly a time and place for 3D. Though, the potential 3D brings to design, branding and story-telling is super exciting.
Just like illustration, you’re really only limited by imagination (and of course the skills and knowledge of the toolset that make it possible!) and we l-o-v-e that.
We work heavily with all things digital, so part of our brand process is always considering how the identity can come to life digitally, and 3D and motion is a huge part of that.