Finalist 2023

Southside Justice

Design by Nature / Southside Justice

The Southside Justice rebrand highlights its local focus, inclusivity, and accessible legal support for vulnerable communities.

Southside Justice, formerly St Kilda Legal Service, offers free legal support to people on a low income in Port Phillip, Stonnington, and Bayside. For 50 years, they've championed the rights of their community, including sex workers, people affected by addiction, and LGBTIQ+ community members. Design by Nature led their brand transformation and facilitated a community-based co-design process. This led to a new name (Southside Justice), logo and visual identity featuring vibrant colours and graphic shapes representing the organisation’s geographic base. The result is a local, welcoming, inclusive brand that communicates a clear mission: accessible legal support for all.

Design Brief:

For nearly 50 years, St Kilda Legal Service has provided free legal services to vulnerable communities. With an upcoming move to a new building and expansion of services, a comprehensive rebrand was required – one that both acknowledged the organisation’s heritage and reflected its forward-thinking nature. A new name was also necessary to better reflect its wider geographic reach. The brand needed to convey a community vibe while remaining bold, unique, and non-governmental. Deliverables included a new logo, style guide, templates and a self-manageable, expandable website. Above all, the brand needed to communicate inclusivity, community engagement, and a user-friendly experience.

This project was developed by:

Design Process

Our process was guided by the same principles guiding our client: accessibility and community engagement.

The transformation of St Kilda Legal Service to Southside Justice began with an inclusive co-design process. The Steering Committee – a diverse collection of staff, board members, community partners, and even clients – was pivotal in this journey. Across a series of Miro boards and Zoom meetings, the committee ensured the rebrand encapsulated multiple perspectives while navigating lockdown constraints. The new brand name, Southside Justice, reflects the organisation’s commitment to free legal services and expanded geographic reach beyond St Kilda.

The brand guide was also produced using a co-design approach, ensuring consistent use of the new logo, colour scheme, graphic devices and typography during implementation. Physical spaces were enhanced with intuitive signage and wayfinding that adhered to the brand's aesthetic. Further strengthening the brand story, a professional photography session captured the essence of the diverse community Southside Justice serves.

Design Excellence

By embracing a co-design workshop process, we ensured the community's needs and values were at the heart of every decision. This inclusive and participatory method allowed for a deep understanding of the organisation's purpose and the people it serves. Involving key stakeholders and the community in decision-making fostered a sense of ownership and ensured the brand truly represented their aspirations.

The logo concept, featuring two half circles pointing south, signifies the geographic reach of the organisation, while a whole circle symbolises justice. This combination visually communicates the essence of Southside Justice's mission. The design's simplicity and clarity also ensure easy recognition and understanding.

Incorporating graphic shapes inspired by the catchment area's landscape and architecture adds depth and meaning to the visual identity. This creative integration establishes a strong connection between Southside Justice and its place in the world, once again speaking directly to its community.

The carefully curated colourful palette further enhances the brand's inclusivity and approachability, reinforcing the organisation's commitment to providing equitable legal services for low-income individuals. The vibrant colours resonated with the target audience and elicited a positive emotional response, ensuring the new brand is appealing, welcoming and memorable.

Southside Justice's design excellence extends beyond its visual elements. The co-design workshop approach is a best practice for creating impactful branding authentically representing an organisation's mission. This methodology could serve as a model for other organisations, setting a precedent for inclusive and community-driven design processes in which all voices are heard.

Design Innovation

The Southside Justice rebrand’s innovation is in its co-design process, in which clients, community partners, board members, and staff were all engaged as active contributors to the new identity. This broad inclusion of diverse perspectives encouraged a democratised and inherently client-focused approach.

Using digital tools such as Miro boards for brainstorming and ideation during lockdown was another pioneering aspect of this project. This enabled collaborative creativity despite physical distancing measures. For our studio, this approach reaffirmed that virtual workspaces can foster meaningful co-creation and excellent outcomes.

Rarely is an organisation's new brand so directly influenced by the communities it serves. Co-designing is a departure from conventional top-down branding methods. It demonstrates that a new brand can be for the community and by the community, with just one example being the unanimous adoption of a new name.

Overall, Southside Justice's rebranding project pioneered a radical shift from traditional design methods, adopting an approach that places equal importance on the input of every stakeholder, from board members to clients. This unique co-design methodology created a brand identity that authentically resonates with the community it serves from day one.

Design Impact

The Southside Justice rebranding project has established a blueprint that blends participatory design with technology, fostering a powerful dialogue between an organisation and its community. The outcome has had a significant impact, from empowering the client to have greater outreach in their community to forging new ways of working in our design industry.

From a social perspective, the project underscores the positive impact of inclusive and innovative design processes on community engagement. Southside Justice has democratised its brand identity by involving multiple stakeholders in the design process. The rebrand not only increases the accessibility of legal services to vulnerable communities, but also ensures its services are culturally sensitive and community-focused, leading to long-lasting societal benefits.

Environmentally, adopting digital tools and platforms for collaboration and design contributes to sustainable practice by reducing physical resource needs, travel, and waste. The project illustrates how organisations can embrace digital transformation to achieve their goals while minimising their environmental impact, aligning with the principles of a circular economy.

Moreover, the project has elevated the status of Victoria’s design and creative culture. It demonstrates the value of investing in a professional design process with empathy, inclusivity and innovation at the forefront. The project has showcased how design can be a powerful tool for social transformation and inclusivity, placing Victoria on the global map as a hub of forward-thinking and community-oriented design.

Circular Design and Sustainability Features

Design by Nature, a B-Corp-certified leader in sustainability, brought its 25 years of experience working exclusively with not-for-profit and purpose-led organisations to the Southside Justice rebranding project. Our commitment to creating impactful designs with a minimal environmental footprint is at the core of every project we undertake.

Our design process embraces circular thinking, ensuring we consider the entire lifecycle of our designs from conceptualisation to implementation and beyond. We consciously select digital tools, platforms and practices that reduce physical resource needs, waste, and environmental impact. This approach aligns with our ethos of creating meaningful change through sustainable design practices.

For the Southside Justice project, we ensured that the rebrand had a far-reaching positive impact; socially, environmentally, and commercially. From fostering community engagement and making legal services more accessible to employing sustainable digital collaboration tools and developing a user-friendly online presence, all facets of the project demonstrate our studio’s steadfast and ongoing commitment to sustainability and social empowerment.

For more than 25 years, we have been uncompromisingly values-driven and purpose-led. We partner with people who share our passion for sustainability, equality and positive impact. Together we design for a better world – including the communities served every day by Southside Justice.

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