City United in branding Newcastle’s new era


A lot has changed since 1993.

Bill Clinton was sworn in as US President that year and Paul Keating was elected PM of Australia following John Hewson’s disastrous ‘birthday cake’ interview with Mike Willesee. Nirvana’s seminal album In Utero was released and the grunge movement was at its peak including at Newcastle High School, my alma mater.
It was also in 1993 that the City of Newcastle launched its Civic fountain logo, replacing a coat of arms with an artistic nod to the precinct that became our Civic centre in 1929, when both City Hall and the Civic Theatre opened.

A lot has changed for our city over the past 26 years too.
After many years of planning and debate, ultimately collaboration and a vision for our future has unlocked both the investment and renewal our city thoroughly deserves.

For me this change has challenged and inspired us as a community and offered us a unique opportunity to unite and ‘dream big’ for our emerging global city, including a new-and-improved brand for a renewed-and-improved City. 

The timing of this brand refresh coincides with the City of Newcastle’s administrative move, from three separate Civic precinct buildings to a single office block in the city’s new CBD in Newcastle West. In do so, we’re uniting our operations in the CBD and offering an inspiring opportunity for the adaptive reuse of the existing administration building to a five star hotel in our education and cultural precinct.

The new ‘N’ logo unites our facilities and services under one simple and colourful banner including; the Civic Theatre, Newcastle Art Gallery, Newcastle Museum, Newcastle Libraries, Fort Scratchley, Newcastle City Hall, Newcastle Venues and Blackbutt Reserve.

The multi-coloured rippled ‘N’ for Newcastle, the main feature of the new emblem, was inspired by the emergence of our renewed city and designed to promote our growing appeal to investors and visitors alike. For me, the links in our refreshed ‘N” reflect the sculptured edges of our Civic fountain as a nod to a quarter century of service the civic fountain design gave us.

With its bright colours, the look proudly borrows from our highly successful Newcastle ‘See Change’ destination brand and uses the distinct, rippled effect to reflect the city's seaside location. Through consultation with our community for our Newcastle 2030 Strategic Plan, water and the coast were found to be elements important to Novocastrians.
Our new brand reflects the community’s vision with the curves of the ocean represented in the ‘N’, and the colours symbolising the diversity of the natural landscape and importantly reflecting our city’s commitment to be a progressive and inclusive community.
Research undertaken last year found around half of all Novocastrians weren’t aware Blackbutt Reserve, Fort Scratchley, the Civic Theatre, Newcastle Museum or Newcastle Art Gallery were City of Newcastle facilities.
When the colourful N appears on all facilities, the logo will help inform our community of the vast array of services we provide, and facilities we maintain.
As a progressive, dynamic and rapidly changing City, the change is both important and symbolic of Newcastle’s transformation from a regional centre into a smart, liveable and sustainable global city.
This fresh logo provides a consistent, unified and recognisable symbol that people will be able to relate to. It boasts elements that are bold and instantly recognisable, like the city itself, which will help continue to inspire and attract prospective visitors, employees and investors.
Our in-house design team, with creative agency support, developed the new brand for our organisation, and all our facilities.
Today, we are witnessing a sustained investment boom delivering a progressive city of research, industry and smart city innovation.

Over the coming months alone we will welcome our first driverless vehicle, install more electric vehicle chargers across the city and turn on free public WiFi, well before some of Australia’s capital cities.
Our refreshed logo, launched at City Hall on Wednesday, better reflects Newcastle's ongoing revitalisation and will increase awareness of the incredible assets collectively owned by all our residents and ratepayers.

I hope all Novocastrians love it as much as we do.


Matt Murray