Case Study

Pawsey Supercomputing Centre

Refocussing a starry reputation

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Repositioning a globally significant supercomputing centre

Pawsey Supercomputing Centre is one of Australia’s two leading research supercomputing facilities, named for the pioneer of Australian radio astronomy, Dr Joseph Pawsey.

The Centre is well known in the high-performance computing sector for its work supporting Australian and International science, but it has had a limited footprint beyond this audience. In early 2021, with a major capital refresh underway, including investment in Australia’s fastest research supercomputer, the Centre needed help to reposition its brand to be more contemporary and representative of its role in empowering groundbreaking research.

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The challenge

The existing brand reflected the early days of the Pawsey Centre, with a focus on the WA location of the centre, and a symbolic representation of the land and sky.

With Pawsey taking a new role as the leading Tier 1 research supercomputing centre in Australia, the former brand needed to step up. At the same time, the Centre’s brand messaging also needed to be reconsidered, to provide new clarity about Pawsey’s strengths, goals and audience. While there was internal commitment for the refresh process, a number of stakeholders had to be engaged to get any final decision over the line. Finally, there was one last request: knowing the supercomputing sector and its approach to branding, we needed a logo that would look great on a T shirt.

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Our approach

We met with the client several times, discussed their existing strategy and identified current gaps and potential issues in their brand and marketing approach. We further talked through branding archetypes, looked at naming alternatives and other brands in the same space. For inspiration, our design team looked at the history of supercomputing in Australia, and into the work, research and life of Dr. Pawsey.

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Our results

The Pawsey Supercomputing Centre was rebranded simply as Pawsey, with a new brand that is both forward-looking, while providing a nod to the past.

Some elements represent a flashback to supercomputing brands of the 60s and 70s, including the typography, while the logo and colours are strong, striking and simple. The brand clearly reflects a technology focus, and is flexible enough to be used in formal and informal situations, including as part of a broad video campaign to raise awareness of Pawsey’s work. Our corporate affairs consultants worked closely with the Pawsey team to refresh key messaging and build out the language that could be used to reposition the organisation. The strategy and branding were delivered on budget and on time to a delighted client.

“I’ve been through these [branding] exercises before when it has been a lot more ‘cut and dry’ – your creativity ensured that today wasn’t one of those.”

Mark Stickells - Executive Director

Keys to success

Five weeks turnaround time

For a brand strategy, messaging and design

50 Petraflops

The speed of Pawsey’s new supercomputer: Setonix

$70 million

The Government investment in Pawsey’s supercomputing and storage

Jamie Wilkinson

Jamie Wilkinson

Director, Brand and Content

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Adam Elovalis

Adam Elovalis

Art Director

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Ruth Callaghan

Ruth Callaghan

Director

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Story telling

Linking the past to the future was a key part of our communication and brand strategy. Early brand concepts drew inspiration from Dr. Pawsey's signature, and this animation was created as part of the branding collateral.

Stationery Design

Development of a full set of stationery

Pull-up banner design

Including key messaging, and positioning statements that came out of our strategic work.

T-shirt clothing design

The team at Pawsey wanted a brand that looked good on a T-shirt.

Setonix branding

The Quokka is the only member of the genus Setonix, and was the inspiration behind the artwork encasing Pawsey's new supercomputer.