Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre (MCEC) Acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Narrm, the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation. We pay our respects to their Elders past and present, and to Elders of all First Nations communities that visit MCEC.

Hi there! MCEC will be closed to the public from 1 - 7 March for the 2024 ASEAN-Australia Special Summit. Thanks for your understanding.

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A Peek into the Brand Identity of Nyaal Banyul Geelong Convention and Event Centre

By Bree Pagliuso|

Creating a new brand for a venue two years from opening poses a unique challenge. How do you design elements that grab people's attention and leave a lasting impression in their minds even before they step inside?

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Nyaal Banyul will be operated by the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Trust (MCET). In our conversation with Liz Kozmevski, Head of Marketing at MCET, we explore the thought process for Nyaal Banyul, Geelong's new venue brand. We discuss the aspirations, design elements, the meaning behind the name, and how brand is so much more than look and feel, particularly as the portfolio of event venues expands.

Collaboratively designed to showcase the city's unique identity, actively embracing new ideas and vibrancy, the waterfront venue in regional Victoria is committed to making a lasting impression through experiences centred on knowledge-sharing and community connections.

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What was the starting point for creating the Nyaal Banyul brand?

It all starts with strategy and what you want to achieve, thinking about how you can leave a lasting impression balancing relevance and connection with many audiences. Some things were obvious, we knew we needed to create a venue brand that leads with story of Country and puts Djilang/Geelong on the map. We must establish Nyaal Banyul as a preeminent Victorian waterfront venue for enriching experiences in knowledge sharing and community gathering.

The identity had to elevate and engage ‘place’ with empathy, deep respect and understanding of the rich cultural significance of Traditional Owners’ narratives, while inviting all to experience and connect the precinct with new thinking and perspectives.

How did the brand development process unfold?

There has been much collaboration across the journey. The Contenders were selected as the preferred agency partner to collaborate with and see the work through. We had a very clear vision on what we wanted the brand to achieve and they visually brought this to life. We actively engaged Wadawurrung Traditional Owners Aboriginal Corporation (WTOAC) in the brand development process.

The Wadawurrung gifted the name Nyaal Banyul for the venue. The gifted name, story and meaning was a key input into the brief for brand development. Their feedback in our very early stages was important to ensure concepts respectfully represented and honoured the gifted name. We used the architectural concepts from Plenary Group to draw inspiration in and to ensure that the brand could be connected with a sense on place.

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There is a strong narrative behind the gifted name Nyaal Banyul. How did this narrative inspire the development of the brand?

In Wadaurrung language, Nyaal Banyul means “open your eyes to the hills”. The Wadaurrung Traditional Owners gifted this name because they want all who visit the venue to appreciate the diverse beauty and landscape of Wadaurrung Country in Djilang/Geelong. There is so much to see from the location in which Nyaal Banyul is being built.

Yes, it’s on the stunning waterfront, but if you keep looking beyond, you see the Wurdi Youang (Youyang) and the Anakie Youang in the north, over Moolap fishing place to the Bellawiyn (Bellarine) in the east, the hill at Fyansford in the west and the Barrabul (Barrabool) hills in the south.

Through this, we are extending the message and asking visitors to look beyond the immediate, to listen, to learn, to keep an open mind, to linger longer, to form new connections and to leave having gained a new perspective.

Talk us through the design choices behind the logo and visual identity.

In collaboration with The Contenders, we crafted a bold logo inspired by Nyaal Banyul. Representing the hills, layers of Country and shaped like an eye, it symbolises gaining a new perspective and appreciating our surroundings.

Colours of Sunrise orange, Sunset purple, and Dusk blue embody the shades of the sky visible from the venue. From the soft tones of sunrise to the vibrant hues of sunset, standing in this part of Country invites visitors to look to the hills and open their eyes to the beauty of Wadawurrung Country.

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What do you hope people will carry with them after engaging with the brand and visiting the future venue? 

We want to create a space for belonging and gathering, where individuals can not only share and seek knowledge but also be inspired by the diversity of landscape and cultural heritage surrounding us. 

It’s still early days, and there is more to come, but each Nyaal Banyul touchpoint will be considered. Everything will feel connected, from finding intrigue through our digital content to a generous service philosophy to the local community of suppliers and providores to our spaces inspired by First Nations storytelling. It’s an honour to create a brand with deep meaning and purpose for Nyaal Banyul, leading with story of Country and reflecting the vibrant energy of Djilang/Geelong.

In what way does Nyaal Banyul become a part of Geelong and the surrounding region?

In some ways, Nyaal Banyul is already part of Djilang/Geelong. It has been a gathering place for Traditional Owners for thousands of years. It has been a place where many have gathered to yarn, celebrate, share songs and dance, trade, make decisions, solve problems and pass on knowledge. Through Nyaal Banyul, we will continue that tradition, and we look forward to inviting all to engage with the brand and experience the venue when it opens in 2026. 

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