chapter  5
24 Pages

“Single- minded, compelling, and unique”: Visual Communications, Landscape, and the Calculated Aesthetic of Place Branding

WithNicole Porter

Place branding strategies play a significant role in the professional composition of

landscape imagery, including the depiction of ‘‘natural’’ landscapes. In this paper, Brand

Blue Mountains, a brand currently implemented in the Blue Mountains region

(Australia), is discursively analyzed. The brand sets out an all-encompassing ‘‘Vision’’

defining the identity, values and personality of the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains

landscape, summarized in the tagline Elevate Your Senses. This ‘‘vision’’ is visually

translated into a strictly coordinated and copyrighted suite of logos, graphic design, color,

fonts and various photographic styles. Analysis reveals that the degree of control that

place brand strategists seek to exert over the visual expression of landscape identity is

significant. A highly selective narrative of positive nature-based sensory experience is

constructed through the holistic application of contemporary visual media. The brands’

communications strategy naturalizes and reinforces a particular market-friendly version

of place. The framework that brands set for the representation of landscapes overall

amounts to an exercise in calculated aesthetics, whereby the form and content of

landscape images of various kinds is measured to achieve the greatest market

differentiation and impact which technologies allow. The result of this calculated

aesthetic system, with its taglines, saturated color, careful composition and magazine-

format brevity, is a reduction in the complexity of landscape representations and a

perpetuation of nature stereotypes.