Chris bio 050614

If you’re a regular reader of Interbrand’s Stand Apart, you’ll know that Chris Maclean, our ECD and Mike Tosetto, our Motion Director have been chosen as creative industry mentors for The Loop’s Portfolio Masterclasses taking place this Saturday as part of Vivid Sydney.

In the lead up to the event, the Loop interviewed Chris about his career so far, what inspired him to be a designer in the first place, and why your first job in the industry is so important. Read Chris’ interview here.



Chris mentors for The Loop

And if you are Sydney based student, recent graduate, or just a designer looking for some industry advice, head down to the MCA this Saturday June 7 for The Loop Portfolio Masterclasses. These sessions are a great opportunity for you to talk through your portfolio and grab some tips from the best in the industry.

Chris will be at the Graphic Design & Illustration masterclass from 10:00am – 12:00pm.

Mike (our Motion Director) is also an Industry Mentor. He’ll be at the Film, TV, & Animation Masterclass from 1:00 – 3:00pm.

Thanks again to the Loop for involving us. See you on Saturday!


As a regular columnist for Marketing Magazine, Sergio, our Associate Strategy Director, continues to share his views on branding.
His latest piece, Gamification: a business and societal model for the 21st century (May 23) talks about how a gamifying strategy has the ability to embrace complexity, smoothen change, increase a company’s bottom line and, ultimately, the potential to transform people into enterprises for themselves.

We’re also excited to announce that earlier in the month, Sergio was invited to become a regular contributor to US based BrandChannel.


Brand new thinking from Sergio

His first two articles are now live:

Oz Marketing: Australia Pitches Itself as a Foodie Destination (May 19)
Through food, Australia has spiced up its rugged roots with the influences of generations of Asian, Middle-Eastern, and Mediterranean immigrants to slowly cook an exquisite, and still emerging, national identity that promises to conquer international markets by the stomach!

For Wearable Tech Brands, a Lesson from EVs in Drive to Mass Adoption (May 21)
If wearable tech is about quantifying yourself, it’s important to understand that people see, measure—and yes, desire—the world in different terms. In order to drive mass adoption, the wearables category needs to design features and cast brand ambassadors that trigger people’s unconscious desire.

And given Sergio is multilingual, it was only a matter of time for him to begin writing in one of his other five languages. You can now also find him writing regularly on Branzai, Spain’s #1 branding blog. He’s had three articles published so far.

Spanish speakers – esperamos que les haya gustado!


For those of you in Sydney this Saturday, Doug, our Strategy Director will be representing Interbrand at Vivid as a member on the panel for “2020: Adapt or Die”, talking brand creativity – and creative of all kinds!

Organised by AGDA, the half day session features 20 industry visionaries sharing their ideas on the future landscape of creativity and the importance of forward thinking brand strategy. It’s sure to be a lively morning.

You can learn more about the panelists and buy your tickets here. Be quick – It’s selling fast!

We look forward to seeing you there- and thank you AGDA for involving us.


Doug talks brand creativity


How much do you know about the Trefoil, the brand symbol for Radioactivity?

Our ECD Chris Maclean recently wrote a piece for Grafik Magazine in the UK about the history behind its creation, and how it developed into the fear-inducing symbol it is today. Read it here.


Chris talks Brand Icons


Mike, our Motion Director, is one of the most energetic and enthusiastic people you’ll ever meet. He’s always doing his bit to improve our motion skills, and we’re really glad he’ll be paying it forward this year at Vivid Sydney as a creative industry mentor for The Loop’s Film, TV & Animation Portfolio Masterclass.


Mike mentors for The Loop

In the lead up to the event, The Loop interviewed Mike about what inspired him to get into motion, his career to date, and his top professional tips.

The Loop are holding masterclasses on Saturday June 7 at the MCA. If you are a student, recent graduate, or just need some great industry advice and networking opportunities, head over!

Mike will be at the Film, TV & Animation Masterclass from 1:00 – 3:00pm.

Chris (our ECD) is also an Industry Mentor. He’ll be at the Graphic Design & Illustration masterclass from 10am – 12:00pm.

Thanks to The Loop for involving us!


Having shaped the voices of many of Australia’s biggest companies, our Senior Writer Lex is not shy about using the power of language and verbal identity to create world changing brands.

Over the last few months Lex has been sharing her thoughts and expertise with students studying Graphic Design at Shillington College. She has presented a number of sessions on the power of brand voice and how words can make you a better designer.

We know Lex is exceptional, and it thrills us to know she’s sharing her smarts and inspiring a new generation of creatives at Shillington. Awesome work Lex!


Lex on Verbal Identity


A while back we had the privilege of branding what has become one of the most popular (and tasty) food trucks in Sydney. And we realised recently that we’ve never shared the work on these pages! So…(drumroll please) introducing Al Carbon!

Our brief was a tweet. “Wanted: Dynamic and motivated designer to spruce up the Al Carbon truck before we hit the streets of Sydney.”

In a warehouse in Canterbury (doubling as La Lupita, up until recently, a twice weekly pop up restaurant before moving to The Basement) we met Attila Yilmaz to discuss the opportunity to brand his colossal food truck over tacos, raspados and some Mexican beers.


Tweets to Tacos: Branding Al Carbon

Attila was about to launch Al Carbon as part of the City of Sydney’s licensed food trucks trial. A retired policeman, Al Carbon (which means ‘over charcoal’) was his chance to throw himself into something he loved: food. After some time travelling around Mexico, Attila had discovered authentic ways to cook Mexican food, coupled with hints of inspiration from his father and his Turkish roots.

Inspired by our surroundings, we had an idea. What if we could transport our studio to the warehouse and do something we’d never done before – create a brand in a day? So one Saturday, we assembled a gang of 20 interior and graphic designers, writers, brand strategists, management and client service people, macs, and flipcharts to La Lupita. We broke into teams, meeting each hour to discuss ideas, agree direction and to allow Attila to be involved every step of the way. We developed a customer journey, social media strategy, brand identity and graphics for the truck as well as the brand story of Al Carbon.

Literally, a brand in a day!

We agreed the brand of Al Carbon would be a mythical place. Everything on the truck would be ‘the best of Al Carbon’: The best chef of Al Carbon, the juiciest limes, the sweetest pineapple. Wherever the truck pulled up it would transform the space it occupied so visitors could enter the world of Al Carbon. To communicate the idea, we conceived the brand as a tourist campaign. ‘Visit Al Carbon.’ In transit, the truck was a big tourism ad for itself. When static, it became Al Carbon the place. We used bins to create a perimeter around the truck, so visitors actually have to cross the border (and are asked to abandon all Mexican cliché’s like moustaches and sombrero’s – this was to be an authentic experience after all!) We designed immigracion, where customers order their tacos and drinks. And we focused the queue along the side of the flame grilling barbecue where the theatre of cooking the meat captivated all the senses.

Al Carbon has been a resounding success. Launching at the Feast festival in Sydney, Attila served more than 800 people in one night. Just recently, a smaller version of the truck was a big hit at Splendour in Byron Bay. The Good Food Guide named it in their review of best new places to eat, claiming ‘hands down best taco’s in Sydney’ and Sydney’s most popular bloggers have been raving about the food and the experience that is on offer ever since. Oh, and we won an innovation award for the work within our own Interbrand network ;-)

We’re incredibly proud to have played a part in helping to make Al Carbon a success. Seeing (and waiting in!) the queues and the smile on Attila’s face has made it very worthwhile.

Plan your visit to Al Carbon here.


Our Executive Creative Director Chris has spent his career convincing clients to do things they didn’t know they were capable of. From the epic transformation of Telstra to changing government policy about Alzheimer’s disease, he bravely pushes big brand ideas and our clients to do more interesting, innovative and inspiring work.


Chris talks brave brand ideas

Earlier this week he made the trip to the Canberra to share his experiences with the ACT AGDA community. To a room full of creatives, Chris spoke about why we need to inspire clients to take creative risks, and shared how to empower them to solve problems differently and make strong connections with their audience.

We weren’t surprised at all to hear his talk was wildly entertaining! And thanks as always to AGDA for involving us.


We’re not ones to pass up invitations to have our opinions heard – especially when it comes to branding. So when RMIT invited Interbrand Melbourne to speak to their 2nd year Design Communication students, we jumped at the chance.


Talking brand identity at RMIT

On the topic of ‘The role of identity in branding’, our Melbourne General Manager, Nick Davis, had plenty of thoughts to share. Starting with the point that a brand is a business’ single greatest asset, he illustrated how the best brands are those steered by an uncompromising, singular vision. The role of brand identity then, he suggested, is to bring to life, articulate, and reinforce this vision at every opportunity.

Using examples including our own agency work from the past 12 months, Nick then provided insight into how we build brand identities. On the creative process, he discussed why we believe in communication not decoration, and designing feelings not logos. He also shared our thoughts around how strategists and designers should work collaboratively.

Big thanks go to RMIT and Joe Palmieri for giving us the floor – it was a pleasure to engage with up-and-coming designers and we look forward to the next instalment.




We’re all really proud of Conlan, our up-and-coming Motion Designer who was named as a finalist in the NewStar design awards during the AGIdeas Look Upstairs design festival this year.

Conlan received the nomination for his Comedy Channel brand identity work, completed whilst he was studying at Swinburne University. His work has now been featured alongside some of the most inspiring creative and branding talent across the globe, in the festival’s annual book. Our Melbourne brand agency, where Conlan’s based, couldn’t be more excited!

And if you look closely in the photo above, you’ll see him on stage with the other finalists during the announcement (fifth from the left).

Well done Conlan!


Conlan is a NewStar Design Awards finalist


A special shout out goes to our ECD Chris Maclean this week, the gentle giant, who is celebrating six years with Interbrand.

Chris’ influence and hard work over these six years has helped to transform brands such as Opera Australia, Griffin Theatre Company, Alzheimer’s Australia and Queensland Art Gallery / QAGOMA, as well as countless more. He led the team responsible for the rebrand of Australia’s biggest brand, Telstra, and has been recognised as one of Australia’s Power 20 by Australian Creative magazine for his bravery in the creative industry. He’s also a regular speaker at colleges and events across the country – inspiring designers, writers and other creative individuals to use their skills to create and craft brands that change the world.

We’re incredibly proud to work alongside Chris. He’s an inspiration and a mentor to all of us.

Here’s to the years ahead!


Chris Maclean: 6 years at Interbrand!


The Design Kids are a really impressive bunch of people. They recently featured us on their site, asking our Creative Director, Ben Miles, to share his thoughts on Interbrand’s process … what makes us tick, some general banter, and most importantly, his tips for design grads starting out. Read Ben’s full interview here.

And… if you’re a Design Kid that wants to spend some time in a Sydney or Melbourne brand agency, we’re always keen to hear from design, comms, marketing, and business students interested in brands who’d like to join us as interns. Send a note about yourself and a link to your portfolio to


Our Creative Director’s tips for Design Kids


Recently we took part in Studio Access, opening up our Melbourne agency to design students and recent graduates.

A key part of the LookUpstairs conference and organised by agIdeas, Studio Access saw a dozen students from universities across the country join us at Interbrand for the evening, with Senior Designer Rob and Strategist Michael talking through some of our recent work and how we approach the making of world changing brands. This is the second time we’ve taken part, and it’s always an inspiring night.

The talk was followed by an extended Q&A session over pizza and drinks, covering all things design, branding, studio life, career, and everything in between.

Thank you to everyone who joined us. We had a great night!


Student Q&A Interbrand Melbourne


Yesterday marked the release of Interbrand’s Best Retail Brands 2014 (BRBs) report. In its fourth year, this is the first time our report covers all global regions and is fully digital, meaning that our readers will be able to follow real-time updates throughout the year on their favourite brands.

You can access the full report here to learn more about 2014′s biggest trends, challenges and opportunities. Or, keep reading!


Best Retail Brands 2014

Notably Woolworths and Coles supermarkets found themselves among Asia’s top retail brands, both showing strong growth, with Woolworths topping the list as the most valuable retail brand is Asia just shy of $5bn USD.

Harvey Norman, Myer, David Jones, and Target are all brands that have declined again in 2014 reflecting not just increased competition from overseas and a strong Australian dollar, but also that they have largely not kept pace with changing consumer expectations and desires.

This year was a mixed bag of results for Australia’s biggest retail brands, with several brands reflecting an upswing in consumer confidence, while others languish under outdated business models as they struggle to make sense of digital and a shrinking middle-market for many consumer goods.

Interbrand’s Australian CEO Damian Borchok summed up Australia’s department store’s continued under-performance by saying, “Myer and David Jones both showed declines in their ability to create value through their brands. Despite stated plans to reform and transform, too little change is making its mark with the customer.”

Accolades must go to Kmart and JB HiFi, by proving that focus and coherence across stores, product ranges and communications creates a compelling difference to customers, and by extension commercial performance.

You can also read the media exclusive story in Forbes, and local commentary from AdNews, B&T, Campaign Brief, and  Marketing Magazine.

We hope you enjoy reading! Tweet us with the hashtag #BestRetailBrands to let us know what you think.


Awards season is underway. An exciting time for Interbrand, and also a fitting time to raise awareness and understanding of the role of Brand in the design community. Last week our Creative Director Oliver shared his view, calling for the industry, and awards programs in particular, to rethink the way they approach and award branding work.

The article was picked up by Desktop magazine, so if you haven’t read it already, you can access it here. 


Oli talks branding & awards

1.Chris at Place

Place is a development program and exhibition that showcases young, upcoming designers’s visual explorations using the one word brief of ‘Place’. Each designer who is featured has been chosen for their ability to produce culturally engaged conceptual work across various media including information design, print and publication, typography, illustration, design for web and digital.

Our Executive Creative Director Chris was invited to participate in the program, playing a crucial role as an industry mentor. In the weeks leading up to the exhibition, Chris worked closely with the designers, meeting them regularly to help them build on their ideas and visualise and refine their works.


Chris mentors at Place

We were thrilled to attend the opening night of the exhibition, where to a full house Chris delivered an inspiring talk on “The place of design”, encouraging designers to use their talents to contribute to the value of design in society, and showing how by focusing on the things that matter, design can truly change the world.

Congratulations to all of the designers exhibiting and Joe Tarzia from Zé Studio who also served as an industry mentor. And thank you to Joanna Grygierczyk and Place Associates for involving us. We had a brilliant time.


The Brand New Awards celebrate the best brand identity work from around the world. Today, we’re incredibly excited to announce that we’ve been recognised in four categories, and have been awarded Best in Show.


Best in Show: Brand New Awards Win

Our brand identity for AGDA was awarded 4 Stars for logo (professional), and 4 Stars for Comprehensive Identity Program (professional).

Our brand identity for Darling Harbour was awarded the Salvage award.

Our brand identity for Opera Australia was awarded Best of Category for Comprehensive Identity Program (professional), and received the ultimate accolade of Best in Show.

We’re incredibly honoured and excited to have had our work and clients recognised by the world’s largest forum for new brand identity.  It’s awesome.

A huge congratulations goes to everyone at Interbrand Australia and to all the other winners celebrating across the globe.

Read more on the announcement here.

Sergio_screen grab2

A worthy Stand Apart mention to our Melbourne Associate Director of Strategy, Sergio Brodsky, who has found himself a regular publishing fixture of Marketing Magazine. Sergio is beginning to distinguish himself with his thoughtful musings on some of the tougher questions facing branding today. Well done Sergio! Make sure you check out some of his articles below:

Refuting James Surowiecki from The New Yorker, with his point of view on why brands have a strong future as opposed to none, in his article; Dawning of the brands, or: why The New Yorker is wrong (March 19).

Football and branding are not just about scoring – they’re about winning (March 4) is an investigation into whether or not Adidas is right to exploit a sexist interpretation of Brazil’s national image in building its national brand. Tough stuff.

Branding comrades stop the logo blabbering - let’s start the brand building (Feb 25) provides a critique of the games as an exercise in Nation Branding, and of brand as a focus solely on graphic identity. Timely considering Russia’s subsequent annexation of Crimea, and that it has probably undone $50billion of investment thrown at the games.


Sergio in Marketing Magazine

Darling Harbour Inflated Signage

We were thrilled to discover over the weekend that we’ve received our second D&AD gong, with In-Book recognition for our Darling Harbour signage.

Celebrating advertising and design, D&AD is known for being one of the toughest creative awards programs in the world – so this is a massive honour for us and a great way to start the week.

A lot of credit must go to our client, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority (SHFA), for their belief in our creative vision for the Darling Harbour brand and commitment to realising it. And a big thanks to Diadem and Fabric Structure Systems for turning our concepts into reality.

You can view the announcement here.
Congratulations to all involved and all D&AD award winners for 2014.

See all of our work for Darling Harbour here.


D&AD Award for Darling Harbour


To signify the launch of ONE AGDA, the organisation has officially revealed a new identity designed by Interbrand and a new website designed by Reactive and developed by Bravo!.

Last year AGDA members voted overwhelming in favour of a new constitution (96% yes). This means that while AGDA retains its not for profit status, they have made a lot of changes to the way things are run.

AGDA has undergone a complete organisational restructure, moving from a state based set-up to one national organisation. A National Board of Directors has been formed, with financial control and planning centralised. This means AGDA can make better decisions more quickly, while being far more transparent and efficient.

AGDA and Interbrand commissioned a national survey that was sent out to designers and studios of all shapes, sizes and disciplines across every state. They were asked what they thought of the organisation and how it could be improved.


New AGDA brand identity

Interbrand Australia worked closely with the AGDA board to create a new strategic brand platform and brand identity framework to help make sense of the changes and add some much needed cohesion around communications.

“AGDA is the ‘connecting force’ that unites our industry. It celebrates the things that make us different and the things that pull us together. The perfect balance between unity and diversity. The logo connects at either end, representing a chain-link of the industry coming together.” Mike Rigby, Executive Creative Director, Interbrand Australia.

“AGDA’s mission is to build a community constantly seeking to elevate and prove what Australian Design can do. What it can do for business, the environment, and the world. Ultimately we believe that design can break down barriers, build stronger communities, drive business and change lives.” Nic Eldridge, AGDA, CEO.

To help further connect and promote Australian design, a new website has been developed by Reactive and Bravo! in Victoria.

“There are now more features and better functionality, because we want to make sure that members get more value out of it, more often. Through the site we can help raise the profile of Australian design, because we now have a better platform to communicate to a broader creative community.” Tim Kotsiakos, Executive Creative Director, Reactive.

And this is just the beginning – as AGDA looks to partner with fellow organisations such as D&AD, AIGA and others across a range of initiatives. As well as engage the Australian design industry to help build the new brand together.

The 2014 AGDA Awards Biennial will be held in Tasmania for the first time, brought to you in partnership with the world class MONA. And a new national AGENDA magazine will be published, free for members.

AGDA is also exploring the possibility of a design accreditation program. Not about critiquing design skills, but rather, helping buyers of design to better understand the process and skill involved, while understanding how to run a successful design business. We’ll be putting forward a selection of models and asking members to decide which ones will be most helpful.

ONE AGDA launched this week with coordinated events held in every state across Australia, attended by well over 800 people.

And to help celebrate a new spirit of collaboration, over 100 original pieces of art were submitted by designers, illustrators and writers in response to the question: what can Australian design do? The posters revolved around the letter A and were displayed side by side at the events.

Interbrand also conceived and animated a brand launch video to help explain the changes; with an original score written by Rumble studios in NSW.

To encourage more people to get involved, AGDA is also waiving the membership joining fee until the end of March. That’s up to $100 off the cost of an annual membership. Log onto AGDA and become a member.

Finally, AGDA would like to thank everyone that has helped to shape the organisation for the better – not just over the last 6 months, but the last 26 years. After all, AGDA would not exist without its founders, partners, sponsors and members. We can’t wait to see what we can achieve together as ONE AGDA.

“We’re not just talking about a new logo, identity, or website, we’re talking about a fundamentally ‘new AGDA’. The new structure means that AGDA can finally do what it’s really here for – to support, connect, educate; and show the world what Australian design can do!” Mike Rigby, Executive Creative Director, Interbrand Australia.