It’s all in the balance

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority


One of the most significant challenges for the Reef Authority is to strike the delicate balance of enabling sustainable use of the Great Barrier Reef, while protecting it for the benefit of future generations. Recent bleaching events remind us how much the future of this precious, world-heritage icon and natural wonder remains in the balance.

Our challenge was to sensitively reflect this in a brand system that encapsulates the complex responsibilities of the Reef Authority to manage the Great Barrier Reef – a rich and diverse environment that is deeply connected to the Australian identity, including Traditional Owners, and which despite its economic, social and iconic value is in fact, invaluable.


Grindstone’s approach was to develop a brand of strength, resilience and sensitivity. The Reef Authority is the trusted voice and advocate of The Great Barrier Reef, working towards the vision of a healthy Reef for future generations. It was vital to enable effective communication of science-backed management, decisions and advice with a warmth and intimacy that builds emotional connection.


The resulting nautilus brand mark is a symbol of growth and an icon of strength – it can withstand great pressure but is not invulnerable. The Reef Authority uses the symbolic nature of the nautilus as a metaphor, this is not a true, scientific representation of this animal. Its patterns mirror the shapes of seagrass coral, and waves. They also symbolise the multi-faceted responsibilities of the Reef Authority and reflect biodiversity, a complex ecosystem of interdependent, often symbiotic elements.


Brand Strategy

Brand Development

Brand Architecture

Brand Style Guide


Collateral Design

Information Architecture

The nautilus as metaphor for the Great Barrier Reef and the Reef Authority – represents eternity, sustainability; a precious jewel; the symmetry of nature – balance and harmony. It is a refuge and an icon of strength – it is able to withstand great pressure, a bastion of the Reef, but it is not invulnerable. Its patterns imitate the shapes of the complex ecosystem in which it exists and the multi-faceted responsibilities of the Authority.