• hrl:
  • What next?

    An innovative new brand, signifying a new chapter in hrl:’s commitment to ‘Expertise in Action’.

    hrl: have a rich history, beginning with the provision of science and engineering firepower to start Australia’s brown coal power station industry back in the 1950s. Under the leadership of new owners in 2016, hrl: undertook a bold reinvention. This involved big growth aspirations designed to make a difference in critical industries like thermal power, mining and minerals, renewables, manufacturing, legal and insurance.

    Whilst proud of their history and proven track record (part of the State Electricity Commission of Victoria, and working with the Victorian State electricity sector privatisation in the mid-90s), these new aspirations required a fitting brand to signify change and commitment to their culture, staff and clients.

    Combined with a new energy future on the horizon and an intensely competitive market, there are huge opportunities for companies who can successfully innovate – and in doing so benefit society. Design by Bird were entrusted with the task of creating a brand that would usher these changes and attitudes of a company that aspired to be more agile, sustainable, and customer-focused than ever before.

    We set out to create an overarching brand philosophy that would be more approachable and relatable, showing everyday experts in action, in everyday feats of engineering. The new company tagline ‘Expertise in Action’ comes directly from this thinking.

    We discarded the complexity and barriers between engineering and the everyday, and the everyday end consumer. By demonstrating innovation and expertise in action, we show engineering in meaningful, real world solutions (nothing posed or static), an important step in losing unwanted associated personas that cling to the engineering industry.

    We paired this with a tone of voice that is admirably nerdy and down to earth, yet technically astute. A company that is keen to share their love of engineering in bold, humanising and quirky ways.

    The new brandmark consists of a wordmark and colon, prompting the question, ‘what’s next?’, exactly what you want for a brand that is striving for constant improvement. The brand colours are bold, prominently utilising the trusted hrl: blue, a nod to the organisation’s strong heritage and the modern bright green signifies the next chapter of customer focus, value, innovation and sustainability.

    The colon is used on its own as a graphical device, thoughtfully and sparingly throughout the brand rollout. Fittingly all brand collateral remains loyal to a strict underlying grid system and confident brand aesthetic, echoing precision and attention to detail that engineers bring to their work every day.

    The bold application of colour and shape brings strength, credibility and trust to the company, and sends a confident message in it’s ‘less is more’ innovative approach to ‘Expertise in action.’

    The end goal of effective brand application was kept in mind during the entire process, and enables the brand to adapt and be rolled out across a diverse suite of applications. A thorough graphic standards manual was created to ensure that consistency is achieved across all current and future brand applications.

    A core focus of updating the brand was to affect positive cultural and attitude changes within the company. This was achieved from the top down, adding value and equity to an already well-established and credible organisation.

    See how we applied our research led design process to innovatively rebrand Chin Communications.


    Discipline –


    Credits –

    Luke Carson
    Diana Marcela
    Rachelle Criticos
    Saskia Nicol

The importance of intuition in the design process

Design by Bird
Design by Bird