Welcome to Country is a not-for-profit company supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses. Their platform supports and markets small tourism operators. Furthermore, they are increasing awareness of these unique experiences among Australians.
As a product designer, I faced a unique challenge - to pay tribute to the beauty and vibrancy of humanity's oldest continuous culture. Gilimbaa, an Indigenous-led design agency in Brisbane created the branding. Being non-Indigenous, I wanted my aesthetic to be respectful of Gilimbaa's work. So I grounded the brand in its suite of hand-drawn assets.
Our content strategist ran a workshop on the key language of the brand as part of her engagement. I let the brand charter of "living culture", "vibrant" and "connection" guide every step of my process.
The original logo mark referenced the Australian sun. So I let the Australian landscape define the colour palette. I found images of sunrises and sunsets all over Australia. I ran each image through a palette generator to build my reference colour palette.
I used Gilimbaa’s journey map, created by Tarni O’Shea (South Sea Islands / Butchulla), as the foundation for all collateral. It provides a direct visual connection between our brand, its story and its purpose. Employees had a say in creating their business cards - each one featured a unique section of the journey map. When placed side-by-side, they add up to the full picture.
Australian tourism has a lot to offer, but how do you highlight its cultural diversity? Our research revealed customers did not associate many regions with Indigenous culture. To solve this we kept the site structure as flat as possible. First, we grouped experiences into collections. Alan James then built a custom tagging language and search functionality using Algolia.
Each page became like a preloaded search results page. With a custom filtering system, users could broaden or narrow their search to discover new regions and activities.
While researching competitor designs I noticed they used more traditional square imagery. To highlight Welcome to Country's authenticity, I used organic morphing shapes.
Finally, keeping operational costs in mind I designed a unique process for imagery. Employees could run each operator's hero image through a colour palette generator. Then pick the signature colour and upload both to the backend. In moments they have a custom image for each operator - voila!