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Brand Canberra… again – The Canberra Sign

By Josh Mulrine - 14 July 2014 57

canberra-sign

The idea is to create a larger than life Hollywood style sign, just on the outskirts of Canberra, to greet visitors to the nation’s capital.

Now I must admit that it’s definitely a better idea than renaming Canberra after one of the world’s most popular Japanese motorbikes, the Honda CBR, but can’t we do something more original?

For years we’ve been known as The Bush Capital. This giant sign could potentially change that perception and move us closer to a big smoke reputation. If in fact we’re after that…

Alicia Doherty the lady driving the campaign is well known for being a founding team member of Events NSW, and contributes to some of Canberra’s larger events. She is responsible for the fairy lights that dress up the trees in the CBD and for establishing the success of Skate in the city.

Alicia wants to install large projectors, similar to the Enlighten festival, to illuminate the sign for special events. For example: bathing the sign in pink light for Breast Cancer Awareness Week and Brumbies colours during home games.

I’m a big advocate for Canberra being better known as a global capital and I do believe this will generate a lot of worldwide press. Will it be good press? I’m not sure. What’s your opinion?

What’s Your opinion?


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Brand Canberra… again – The Canberra Sign
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justin heywood 7:40 pm 16 Jul 14

Masquara said :

Alicia bringing Victoria Cross heroes into her commercial PR mix is just disgraceful.

Oh come on. She’s not personally profiting from the ‘VC Heroes’ Masquara, it’s just an idea she has put forward.

I don’t personally find the sign idea all that exciting, but I appreciate the aim of ‘branding’ our city a little better. Canberra is one of Australia’s great cities with much to offer -but its reputation amongst the rest of Australia is pretty woeful. At least some people are working on improving it.

switch 7:40 pm 16 Jul 14

Tatters said :

Why don’t we just put up a big sign that says P.O.L.L.I.E.W.O.O.D.

“Hooray for Polliewood…”

Masquara 7:08 pm 16 Jul 14

Alicia bringing Victoria Cross heroes into her commercial PR mix is just disgraceful.

bigfeet 5:48 pm 16 Jul 14

Alicia, as long as you purchase the land, build your sign, connect and pay for the electricity and any roads required, and maintain it for perpetuity (including a clause that if it falls into disrepair you are responsible for removal) and do all of this with your own funds and don’t receive one cent of public money, grant or a tax write-off I really don’t care what font you use or what the sign says.

You want it? You build it and pay for it. Good luck to you.

Tatters 5:46 pm 16 Jul 14

Why don’t we just put up a big sign that says P.O.L.L.I.E.W.O.O.D.

dungfungus 5:11 pm 16 Jul 14

MyCanberraSign said :

Masquara said :

Alicia Doherty is an American, she knows that the Hollywood sign actually looks out over Hollywood and is beautifully and meaningfully sited. Having this copycat Canberra sign on New South Wales soil, looking out over New South Wales sheep paddocks, and sited overlooking a pub that was put there specifically to avoid ACT costs & taxes, is just a nonsense, sorry. There’s the embarrassment that it’s a copy – but a banal one, without the deprecating humour of, say, The Rock where you get petrol on your way from Sydney to Brisbane (used to be “Ayer’s Rock”) There’s a further comparison that doesn’t favour this idea. Hollywood is a commerce city. It’s PR Central. Canberra is the seat of government and if we were just a small bush town it could be a laugh as a take-off – but there’s a significant dissonance in this whole idea. It’s an ill-thought-out concept. Did Robyn Archer really promise to promote this idea? Perhaps she was approached at a function, said something polite and nodded over a sherbert! File this one along with the Lake Burley Griffin Hovercraft venture.

Hi all, I’ve tried to respond to all of the concerns raised so far…

Yes, there are some similarities with the Hollywood sign:

1. The sign is located on a hill on the outskirts of town.
2. The letters are HUGE so can be seen by thousands of people on a daily basis via both road and air.
3. The site provides amazing photo opportunities that will help the tourism industry promote Canberra.

There are many differences with the Hollywood sign:

1. The sign will be created through the collaboration of the local community & interested parties, industry experts and government (to clarify, this is NOT a government driven project).
2. The letters will be large but they will be quite elegant and will have well considered design and architectural features that will enhance the site and showcase local artists/craftsmen/draftsmen/students/industry specialists/others.
3. A ‘whole of quarry’ approach will be considered so that the entire site/image is used as effectively as possible to create a unique landmark that people engage with and embrace. For example, mass plantings of the quarry steps could enhance how it looks.
4. A high quality lighting system will be incorporated at night so that the sign becomes a constantly evolving artwork that not only looks attractive but also promotes local communities/activities/events. For example, during Breast Cancer Awareness Week, the sign can be bathed in a pink light. During NAIDOC week, local artists and/or groups associated with the event can be provided an opportunity to design relevant images that can be projected onto the sign. The opportunities for different images are endless and will provide our local artists some amazing opportunities.
5. Sponsorship opportunities to raise funds for its construction and ongoing maintenance are many. For example, if the Brumbies Rugby team would like to sponsor the ‘B’, they will be entitled to project their colours onto the sign at the beginning of the rugby season and/or when home games are occurring.

Other projects that could enhance the sign and allow further participation by other groups:

1. Not all VC recipients have been honoured with a rest stop/area on Remembrance Driveway. With the ANZAC Centenary next year, an opportunity to install an additional rest stop at a site convenient for viewing the CANBERRA sign could be a special project for the NSW and ACT governments to collaborate. This sort of project could raise much needed awareness for the very important Remembrance Driveway initiative.
2. Brand Canberra is seeking ideas to better brand our city. The Canberra sign provides many creative opportunities to do this but that’s for them to decide.
3. To enhance the big Canberra sign, someone suggested the installation of welcoming message boards on the major roads leading into the city could provide a more friendly welcome for visitors and returning locals. For example: We hope…you have…a lovely…time in…our Nation’s Capital…CANBERRA (wording combinations are numerous and could be decided via a Canberra-wide competition).
4. Our major events like Summernats, Floriade, Enlighten, etc can be promoted via projections on the sign.
5. Our multicultural community can be further celebrated and embraced by projecting the colours of their flag onto the sign during their National Days.
6. There are so many ways to use the sign for positive community engagement and promotion…please make some suggestions for consideration.

If you are using the “B” for Brumbies then some of the Fyshwich traders may be interested in one of the “A’s”.

Holden Caulfield 5:03 pm 16 Jul 14

Sounds good to me.

MyCanberraSign 4:09 pm 16 Jul 14

Masquara said :

Alicia Doherty is an American, she knows that the Hollywood sign actually looks out over Hollywood and is beautifully and meaningfully sited. Having this copycat Canberra sign on New South Wales soil, looking out over New South Wales sheep paddocks, and sited overlooking a pub that was put there specifically to avoid ACT costs & taxes, is just a nonsense, sorry. There’s the embarrassment that it’s a copy – but a banal one, without the deprecating humour of, say, The Rock where you get petrol on your way from Sydney to Brisbane (used to be “Ayer’s Rock”) There’s a further comparison that doesn’t favour this idea. Hollywood is a commerce city. It’s PR Central. Canberra is the seat of government and if we were just a small bush town it could be a laugh as a take-off – but there’s a significant dissonance in this whole idea. It’s an ill-thought-out concept. Did Robyn Archer really promise to promote this idea? Perhaps she was approached at a function, said something polite and nodded over a sherbert! File this one along with the Lake Burley Griffin Hovercraft venture.

Hi all, I’ve tried to respond to all of the concerns raised so far…

Yes, there are some similarities with the Hollywood sign:

1. The sign is located on a hill on the outskirts of town.
2. The letters are HUGE so can be seen by thousands of people on a daily basis via both road and air.
3. The site provides amazing photo opportunities that will help the tourism industry promote Canberra.

There are many differences with the Hollywood sign:

1. The sign will be created through the collaboration of the local community & interested parties, industry experts and government (to clarify, this is NOT a government driven project).
2. The letters will be large but they will be quite elegant and will have well considered design and architectural features that will enhance the site and showcase local artists/craftsmen/draftsmen/students/industry specialists/others.
3. A ‘whole of quarry’ approach will be considered so that the entire site/image is used as effectively as possible to create a unique landmark that people engage with and embrace. For example, mass plantings of the quarry steps could enhance how it looks.
4. A high quality lighting system will be incorporated at night so that the sign becomes a constantly evolving artwork that not only looks attractive but also promotes local communities/activities/events. For example, during Breast Cancer Awareness Week, the sign can be bathed in a pink light. During NAIDOC week, local artists and/or groups associated with the event can be provided an opportunity to design relevant images that can be projected onto the sign. The opportunities for different images are endless and will provide our local artists some amazing opportunities.
5. Sponsorship opportunities to raise funds for its construction and ongoing maintenance are many. For example, if the Brumbies Rugby team would like to sponsor the ‘B’, they will be entitled to project their colours onto the sign at the beginning of the rugby season and/or when home games are occurring.

Other projects that could enhance the sign and allow further participation by other groups:

1. Not all VC recipients have been honoured with a rest stop/area on Remembrance Driveway. With the ANZAC Centenary next year, an opportunity to install an additional rest stop at a site convenient for viewing the CANBERRA sign could be a special project for the NSW and ACT governments to collaborate. This sort of project could raise much needed awareness for the very important Remembrance Driveway initiative.
2. Brand Canberra is seeking ideas to better brand our city. The Canberra sign provides many creative opportunities to do this but that’s for them to decide.
3. To enhance the big Canberra sign, someone suggested the installation of welcoming message boards on the major roads leading into the city could provide a more friendly welcome for visitors and returning locals. For example: We hope…you have…a lovely…time in…our Nation’s Capital…CANBERRA (wording combinations are numerous and could be decided via a Canberra-wide competition).
4. Our major events like Summernats, Floriade, Enlighten, etc can be promoted via projections on the sign.
5. Our multicultural community can be further celebrated and embraced by projecting the colours of their flag onto the sign during their National Days.
6. There are so many ways to use the sign for positive community engagement and promotion…please make some suggestions for consideration.

dungfungus 3:58 pm 16 Jul 14

switch said :

dungfungus said :

Sorry, Justin. I was having “two-bob each way” as to whether you were serious and that is why I added the last paragraph which was a satire on Mayor Rattenbury’s media release to day about the new ultra-green ACTION buses with the EER 6 pollution destroyers.

So how do they compare with trams?

Well, they are self-powered and about as emission free as a diesel can get.
Mind you, the technology “supporting” the harvesting and incineration of diesel particulates requires regular changes of filters which cost thousands of dollars a time.
Given that Rattenbury endorses this type of clean, green diesel power you would think he would consider the same power for the light rail. It would make the cost more than half as the trams would be “wireless”.
Then again, I guess part of the strategy is to sell all that green electricity to themselves via Actew.
Oh, and the buses are going into service now (don’t need rails).

MERC600 3:37 pm 16 Jul 14

justin heywood said :

martin75 said :

It’s not clever, innovative or interesting. Plus doesn’t telstra tower do exactly what a big CANBERRA would do and better? We should be thinking outside of the square not copying other cities just because we can.

Yes, I agree. Even in the mock-up the sign looks a bit second rate.

Approaching Las Vegas across the desert, one of the casinos (Luxor) has a huge beam of light shining into the sky – you see it before you even see the city.

Something like that from Black Mountain could become something of an icon. It could be Canberra’s ‘Light on the Hill’. (just for fun we could occasionally put a Batman icon in the beam)

Have to be powered ‘sustainably’ of course, but the technology is there. Who knows, we’ve spent money on more ridiculous things.

Was down in Hobart last June, and they had some festival or something on ( skywhale was there ) anyway they had a laser light display thing belting out straight up into the sky.. Looked good when there was a bit of cloud, fog, misty rain; all those things that winter in Hobart has.

switch 3:36 pm 16 Jul 14

dungfungus said :

Sorry, Justin. I was having “two-bob each way” as to whether you were serious and that is why I added the last paragraph which was a satire on Mayor Rattenbury’s media release to day about the new ultra-green ACTION buses with the EER 6 pollution destroyers.

So how do they compare with trams?

dungfungus 3:09 pm 16 Jul 14

justin heywood said :

dungfungus said :

Did you really think about what you have suggested?
Under our rapidly approaching 90% renewable electricity era, any light (I am assuming you are talking about a nightime one) will have to be powered from electricity generated exclusively from wind power and there will be times when none will be available from anywhere on the grid.
The alternative could be a bio-diesel powered generator with Euro Level 6 emissions control (if they can be fitted).

Geez, lighten up a bit there Dungers. It was hardly a serious proposal.

Sorry, Justin. I was having “two-bob each way” as to whether you were serious and that is why I added the last paragraph which was a satire on Mayor Rattenbury’s media release to day about the new ultra-green ACTION buses with the EER 6 pollution destroyers.
I should have taken more heed of your rider about “more stupid things”. Having said that they will probably do something like a green powered floodlit 50 meter tall effigy of Jon Stanhope at the arboretum.

justin heywood 1:36 pm 16 Jul 14

dungfungus said :

Did you really think about what you have suggested?
Under our rapidly approaching 90% renewable electricity era, any light (I am assuming you are talking about a nightime one) will have to be powered from electricity generated exclusively from wind power and there will be times when none will be available from anywhere on the grid.
The alternative could be a bio-diesel powered generator with Euro Level 6 emissions control (if they can be fitted).

Geez, lighten up a bit there Dungers. It was hardly a serious proposal.

dungfungus 1:24 pm 16 Jul 14

justin heywood said :

martin75 said :

It’s not clever, innovative or interesting. Plus doesn’t telstra tower do exactly what a big CANBERRA would do and better? We should be thinking outside of the square not copying other cities just because we can.

Yes, I agree. Even in the mock-up the sign looks a bit second rate.

Approaching Las Vegas across the desert, one of the casinos (Luxor) has a huge beam of light shining into the sky – you see it before you even see the city.

Something like that from Black Mountain could become something of an icon. It could be Canberra’s ‘Light on the Hill’. (just for fun we could occasionally put a Batman icon in the beam)

Have to be powered ‘sustainably’ of course, but the technology is there. Who knows, we’ve spent money on more ridiculous things.

“Have to be powered ‘sustainably’ of course, but the technology is there. Who knows, we’ve spent money on more ridiculous things”.
Did you really think about what you have suggested?
Under our rapidly approaching 90% renewable electricity era, any light (I am assuming you are talking about a nightime one) will have to be powered from electricity generated exclusively from wind power and there will be times when none will be available from anywhere on the grid.
The alternative could be a bio-diesel powered generator with Euro Level 6 emissions control (if they can be fitted).

justin heywood 10:20 am 16 Jul 14

martin75 said :

It’s not clever, innovative or interesting. Plus doesn’t telstra tower do exactly what a big CANBERRA would do and better? We should be thinking outside of the square not copying other cities just because we can.

Yes, I agree. Even in the mock-up the sign looks a bit second rate.

Approaching Las Vegas across the desert, one of the casinos (Luxor) has a huge beam of light shining into the sky – you see it before you even see the city.

Something like that from Black Mountain could become something of an icon. It could be Canberra’s ‘Light on the Hill’. (just for fun we could occasionally put a Batman icon in the beam)

Have to be powered ‘sustainably’ of course, but the technology is there. Who knows, we’ve spent money on more ridiculous things.

bundah 9:23 am 16 Jul 14

Masquara said :

Pork Hunt said :

Is J-B-H-O-C-K-E-Y what you had in mind?

Or F L A N N E R Y ?

Yes he did say that he found them utterly offensive not unlike EYESORES…. Personally i’d love to see hundreds of them 🙂

martin75 8:33 am 16 Jul 14

It’s not clever, innovative or interesting. Plus doesn’t telstra tower do exactly what a big CANBERRA would do and better? We should be thinking outside of the square not copying other cities just because we can.

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