The Independent Planning Commission NSW (IPCN) builds community confidence in statewide decision-making processes.

Formerly known as the Planning Assessment Commission, we aided the IPCN’s transitional business strategy with a considered rebrand and rollout.

Motivated by a set media release deadline, the Commission’s new identity, collateral and website required efficient design and development. Encouraging community members to interact freely with the IPCN, the brand could neither place too friendly an emphasis on tone, nor incorporate any sort of human imagery.

Is it possible to make an impact while remaining completely impartial?


Stressing the importance of a brand that demonstrated no stakeholder bias, the Commission sought a striking identity that would also remain neutral.

Versatile design components combine varied imagery, materials and textures with a unique, earthy palette to soften and modernise the brand’s look and feel. Though professional in essence, this mixture gives the identity an interesting, original edge over other government departments.

Proposing a three-tone palette to suit both printed and digital applications, orange and yellow tones ensure consistency is maintained across all brand components. This palette enables a suite of hues for multiple applications, including image treatment, heading distinction and collateral rollout.

IPCN imagery is abstract and dynamic – contributing to differential and eye-catching collateral. Vetting images for environmental or structural criteria during selection, a duotone treatment draws explicit attention to overlaid text.


To deliver all outcomes in time for a scheduled media release, the Commission’s initial website update necessitated careful planning. Running frequent Sitecore changes through the IPCN’s digital team and the overarching Department of Planning and Environment, internal web developers and designers collaborated to achieve set deadlines, goals and objectives.

Phase one of the website redesign reprioritised the Commission’s hierarchy of information, improving accessibility and user experience for a wide range of visitors. In addition to incorporating new functionality into the site’s back end, phase two converted project and news updates to a more dynamic layout, while placing increased focus on the Commission’s members and social handles – fulfilling their identified aim of improving community trust.

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To determine the role of social media for the IPCN, we questioned its audience, their values, and what the Commission could offer. A prominent role in the decision-making of state significant projects meant reach was incredibly varied, with the behavioural habits of Australians in general investigated.

Expecting immediate digital solutions, key demographics craved security, prioritised ease, and had mixed feelings about institutions, with 89% believing in the importance of data privacy and protection.

This research helped identify key values of engagement, opportunity, immediacy, truth and privacy. Embedding these principles into a considered communications strategy, we defined what the IPCN could offer the community; specifically, expertise, engagement and independence.

To connect with audiences on social channels, we placed focus on generating engagement with content they valued, while measuring this content against overall business objectives. Goals of awareness, engagement and positioning were divided into three key tasks – to educate, to facilitate and to uphold.

A bespoke content framework was developed to explain specific activities under the Commission’s identified tasks. Providing insight into the types of content producible for each category, the framework also outlined tangible examples, content production systems and deliverables.


Communication channels were chosen with community objectives in mind. Facebook helps the Commission balance enquiry with fact in an engaging, familiar format. Twitter serves this purpose to a lesser extent, utilising the platform to keep followers informed on topical events and updates. LinkedIn builds the IPCN’s presence on a professional platform, through periodic, yet impactful content.

Though the organisation’s reason for being is essentially linked to negative sentiment, we encouraged the Commission to lean into this role by acknowledging and addressing complaints early on. An escalation process and FAQ guide were collaboratively developed to assist future IPCN staff with community management, providing a variety of responses across a comprehensive series of enquiries.

Ongoing collateral design continues the IPCN brand, creating visual interest with new, dynamic imagery and considered use of colour for enhanced reader experience.

I’m just reflecting on the creative work of your team and wanted to say that you all really did a famous job of the presentation in all of the various iterations we went through. Also, the monumental effort to roll it out in such a short timeframe is a credit to your company. Thank you so much for your collective efforts this past couple of weeks.

David McNamara
Director: Key Sites Assessments, Department of Planning and Environment

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