Fresh science leads to rebrand of iconic tourism magnet

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Christchurch agency Harvey Cameron have completed a rebrand of Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools & Spa, prompted by a new scientific analysis of the complex’s natural thermal waters.

Hanmer Springs general manager Graeme Abbot says the results were eye-opening. “We always knew our water falls as rain before making its way to underground resorvoirs where it’s warmed by heat from the earth’s core but this analysis showed for the first time that that process takes 173 years and leaves the water rich in minerals and bathing salts that have therapeutic benefits.”

“It is amazing to think about … the water that comes out of our bore today fell as rain in 1842 – just two years after the Treaty of Waitangi was signed.

“We wanted everyone else to know the story behind the thermal water too,” Abbot said.

The result is a complete rebrand, with the water itself as the hero.

“We were about to start an overdue rebranding process and the research gave us inspiration to ensure our thermal water was at the heart of that,” Abbot says.

He took the research into Harvey Cameron, which has worked alongside the pools for more than a decade. Managing director Neil Cameron says his creative team immediately saw the potential for water to be the essence of the new brand and they wanted to ensure that what was created had depth.

“I’ve had a love affair with Hanmer Springs for a long time,” he says. “My wife and I married there and the village is still one of our favourite places. Because we’ve been there so often and our team’s worked alongside the pools in strategically planning and bringing to life some of their biggest developments, we knew intimately what the brand had to convey.”

Harvey Cameron head of design Alan Kang says the new brand had to reflect the multi-layered personality of the pools. “It’s a place of boisterous fun but also of indulgence and relaxation. It’s buzzing on the weekends but quieter mid-week.

“There is colour and vibrance in summer but it can be very steamy and dark at night. It’s a superb place to unwind but also a great place to wind up the kids … there are a lot of experiences.”

Because of that, the creative team decided that the brand had to have some depth to it and the experimentation began. “We looked at a variety of executions,” Kang said. “But things really started to take shape when we started playing with watercolour paints and seeing how they formed and reacted on paper.

“All of sudden we had textural elements that brought a richness to the concepts – and the irony that we were creating them with water wasn’t lost on us.”

As time progressed, the team, using the watercolour paint effects, created a stylised droplet of water with two halves that are gently seperated by a swirl.

“To us the droplet symbolises the thermal water that is the lifeblood of the organisation and the two halves represent the business’ two core functions: fun and relaxation,” says Kang.

“But what’s been great is hearing how other people interpret the device. Some have likened it to yin and yang, others to the thermal water rising up from the earth and others to a river and mountains.”

As with any major brand, the logo is just the beginning and the Harvey Cameron team has created a suite of other tools that embody the essence of the organisation.

“We’ve extended the colour palette to include some more rich and vibrant tones,created new icons to showcase specific products and refined the visual language of the brand, such as the textural treatment of images, which all helps to enhance the look and feel,” Kang said.

Graeme Abbot says his team is delighted. “It looks great everywhere – on billboards, on uniforms, online and on signage.

“What’s wonderful for us is that it really showcases who we are and gives us an opportunity to talk about the water and tell the 173-year-old story loudly and proudly.”


Client: Hanmer Springs Thermal Pools and Spa
Agency: Harvey|Cameron
Head of Design: Alan Kang
Design: Michelle Barratt, Georgette Thompson
Copywriter: Tim Cronin
Account Team: Neil Cameron, Rob Densem, Anna Howley

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