Finalist 2021

Telstra Creator Space

Studio Binocular / The University of Melbourne / Telstra

Telstra Creator Space: Prototyping the future

Telstra Creator Space is a partnership brand between Australia’s No.1 University and Australia’s leading telecommunications company. It brings together two of Australia’s largest and most valuable brands into one engineering and IT Fab Lab at Melbourne Connect. Our role was to create a brand which celebrates creative technology and inspires the next generation of IT innovation.

Design Brief

The brief was to create a partnership brand which would inspire the next generation of IT innovation. It needed to bring the physical space to life, integrate the latest learning and research innovations; create engaging interfaces with the three brands within the space; showcase innovation and technology; and harness the role of digital to enhance and amplify the physical experience.

One of the key challenges to the brief was balancing the dynamics of two such established and distinct brands – Telstra and The University of Melbourne – in a new partnership context which was unique for both organisations. The brief required us to discover the shared values of each organisation and build upon their vision of innovation through collaboration.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

Brand workshops
Our design process began with a robust consultation phase – where we undertook brand strategy workshops with both Telstra's brand leadership team and the University of Melbourne's brand and academic leaders. Through this process we were able to define a shared 'spirit' for the brand, leading us to an understanding that it needed to combine the physical with the virtual, it needed to be inquisitive and demonstrate problem solving, and – importantly – it needed to have a sense of fun to inspire the next generation of STEMM innovators.

Concept development
Our design team undertook a significant concept development phase, where we integrated our brand strategy into the visual brand concepts – exploring multiple directions and opportunities for presentation. We then worked collaboratively with both the Telstra and University of Melbourne teams to refine their preferred direction.

Design extension
With the concept approved, we worked our way through an extensive list of deliverables for the brand. This included:
– Site signage
– Digital content for screens across the site
– Uniforms
– Presentation documents
– Launch themes aligned to research priorities
– A digital communication strategy
– A full motion toolkit to enable the consistent production of all future video content
– EDMs
– GUI interfaces
– Media walls
– Stationery

At each step of the way, we worked collaboratively to bring each of the partner organisations along together – creating a genuinely interactive shared spirit amongst the client and design teams.

Design Excellence

The result is an inspiring brand which which positions the Telstra Creator Space at the forefront of design thinking for the future. It creates a dynamic presence across a broad range of channels including physical installation, environmental graphics, signage, uniforms, presentation tools, digital interfaces, and a rolling program of digital video content which will be streamed into the physical space.

Innovation through collaboration
This key theme ties the brand together and is represented through interlocking shapes which adapt through the language. The brand utilises dynamic moving content to demonstrate the principle of working together. The theme was further conceptualised through the use of found video content which shows people and animals working together to innovate. Whether it's a group of ants collaborating to navigate a challenging landscape; a group of dancers working in unison; or robots and humans working alongside each other – each representation celebrates the brand theme of innovation through collaboration in a thoughtful and inspiring way.

Graphic language
We developed a graphic language built from human computer interaction charts and the engineering process of: Prototyping. Testing. Reviewing data. Changing. We used this system to articulate the interplay between disciplines within the Telstra Creator Space.

A brand with curiosity at heart
The brand is also based on asking new questions to solve future problems. The questions all tie back to research which will be undertaken within the space – as students seek answers to some of tomorrow’s most pressing challenges.

Sharable content
The questions and brand theme were brought to live through sharable videos across social channels and on large screens across the site.

Design Innovation

Telstra Creator Space is a brand which sits at the forefront of innovation – with new design thinking sitting at the very core of the brand and the facility. It literally asks how we can turn things upside down.

The facility itself is a testament to the innovative thinking of both Telstra and the University of Melbourne. It's an entirely new way of partnering researchers with industry to create new solutions and new approaches to solving real-world challenges. It's a bold investment in the future of Engineering and IT in Victoria, and sets us up to train a future-ready workforce with skills which are currently having to be imported.

The brand uses innovative design approaches to embody this spirit. It is a truly dynamic brand which integrates virtual content into the physical space – creating a sense of place which is dynamic and forward thinking. The brand approach and strategy communicate the way different disciplines can share insights to create change – with our brand system helping to demonstrate that by bringing ethics and AI together, or mechanical engineering and animal behaviour experts, we can answer big questions about our future.

The brand – through its bold messaging, vivid use of colour, and dynamic execution encourages audiences to question how we can make things better. The flexible and unique brand system we developed brings together an innovative mix of found footage, custom 3D visualisation and animation and thoughtful storytelling. The ultimate result had been the creation of a rich and ever-evolving brand – equipped to generate a rolling program of digital video content which will be streamed into the physical space, and to communicate the impact of innovative design to the wider community.

Design Impact

Telstra Creator Space is a physical and digital place where researchers, students and industry can come together to solve real-life challenges. The work that will be undertaken here has the potential to have enormous long-term benefits to all parts of our society and our environment.
The brand is a unique collaborative partnership unlike any other – in which a university and commercial business come together to create something entirely new in Victoria and positions both parties as market leaders on the global stage, reinforcing both reputations and contributing to Melbourne’s status as a cutting-edge innovation city.

By investing in design, Telstra Creator Space is able to compete on the world stage of innovation – showcasing what is possible with a commitment to innovation and doing things differently. In turn, it is anticipated to attract industry investment and the highest calibre researches to the Space and enhances Melbourne's reputation.

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