The Sydney Foreshore Story Line

Merit Award 2018

The Foreshore Story Line is a multi-faceted experience from University of Technology Sydney that connects the people, history and environment of The Sydney Harbour Foreshore through branding, wayfinding, environmental graphic design and a geo-located digital experience.

The Sydney Harbour Foreshore is a unique space due to its many purposes and layers of meaning: iconic tourist destination, district for business, hub for culture and arts, part of many Sydney-siders daily commute. The site contains invisible layers of storytelling with many significant Aboriginal sites and a rich maritime history.

The 9 km walk along the Foreshore offers a unique experience in that it topographically links Sydney’s most iconic cultural institutions to the city’s edge—the Harbour Foreshore. Thus, the key objective of the Foreshore Story Line was to link these many visible and invisible facets in a cohesive experience that connects users with the history, culture and nature of the unique environment.

To create this cohesiveness, the University of Technology Sydney team created the visual identity of the walk built on the concept of a running line that represents the connection between history, environment and people along the Foreshore. The line also ties the many landmarks and experiences of the walk together physically and digitally. In order to represent the invisible layers of history and storytelling, the experience is enriched with a geo-located digital experience.

Physically, the line exists in the environment as wayfinding. The line runs along the entire path of the walk making it accessible in the physical environment and user friendly at every point. This identity created a literal and metaphorical connection between the many facets of the walk and is adaptable to the diverse environments in space.

In addition to detailed wayfinding and practical information, The Foreshore Story Line App, also created by University of Technology Sydney, provides deeper insights into the history and culture of the space through site-specific stories and podcasts from history and the Aboriginal narrative.

A series of user-centered research methods were used throughout the process. To understand the problems and possibilities of the space, observation, photographic documentation and visual mapping were used. Personal research and user journey mapping were also valuable in gaining a deeper understanding of how the walk is experienced.

Working with an environment that already serves such a diversity of purposes, it was a challenge for the University of Technology Sydney team to find a solution that both celebrates this diversity and unites it into a cohesive experience. It was also demanding to represent the invisible layers of cultural and historical significance in the space. With the walk already being so famous for its cultural institutions, such as The Opera House, it was important to give equal weight to the less visible narratives.

The Foreshore Story Line celebrates and shares Australia’s unique culture in one of our most iconic settings. Tying together a diversity of attractions and institutions, The Foreshore Story Line is a multi-faceted experience that connects people to the environment through environmental design and a geo-located digital experience. The experience also brings culture and history to life by giving voice to the visible and invisible layers of storytelling that exist in the space.

Jury Comments: 

"Unexpected and playful yet restrained and bold. Strong concept, with a literal thread pulling it all together."

"I love the theme of the single line carried throughout, leading the viewer around."

Design Firms: 

University of Technology Sydney


The City of Sydney Council Australia

Photo Credits: 

Neven Krcmarek, Becca Lavin, Adrian Curiel, Charles Deluvio, Rob Bye, Reiner Knudsen, Chris Fuller

Design Team: 

Manon Drielsma (designer), Sarah Jane Jones (lecturer, visual communication design)


David Beaumont / City of Sydney (community engagement coordinator)

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