From iron to inspiration to steel innovation.

In the dynamic expanse of the architectural realm, there are brands that observe, and then there are those that define. UniCote, a trusted name in the Australian coloured steel domain, recently underwent a bold brand overhaul, reflecting a vision that stretches beyond the material.

In this exclusive conversation, we dive deep with James Gregory, National General Manager for Growth and Marketing at Selection Steel, the strategic force propelling this change, to unravel the essence of this branding evolution.

Given Selection Steel’s esteemed 50-year legacy and UniCote’s near-decade of architectural distinction, what drove the motivation behind this new branding direction?

The motivation behind this new branding direction stemmed from the evolution of UniCote over the years. Initially, UniCote began as a single product, providing a high-quality solution for steel roofing and cladding. However, as our journey progressed, we continuously introduced innovative and high-end products for various applications and after nearly a decade, we recognised that it was time for a refresh. We wanted our branding to reflect our current identity and capture our aspirations more accurately. This included highlighting the true benefits and premium quality of our market offerings.

The decision to embark on this rebranding journey was not made hastily. It was during a strategy meeting reflecting on journey to date and the opportunity at hand, igniting the realisation that we had evolved significantly since our inception. Our original branding, while a strong starting point, no longer aligned with our desired identity or how the market perceived us.

It was quite serendipitous that it happens right near our 10th year in business as a brand, rather than by design; however, we feel that it’s quite appropriate the rebrand signifies a welcome repositioning in the mind of the market, not only through the aesthetic of the branding, but the experience with our products and impressions left on those using it in their projects.

The new visual identity of UniCote, from the updated typography to the modern colour palette, is truly captivating. Could you tell us about the inspirations behind these choices and how they represent the brand’s evolution and future direction?

The new visual identity of UniCote is indeed captivating, and it reflects our brand’s evolution and future direction in several ways:

Forward Thinking Design: The updated typography with the 13-degree lean on ‘UniCote’ symbolises our forward-thinking approach. We want to be recognised as innovative thinkers who collaborate with industry leaders to usher in the next generation of steel and aluminium building solutions. This design element not only sets us apart but also represents our commitment to pushing boundaries in the construction industry.

Neutral Tones and Gradients: The choice of neutral tones and gradients of grey in our visual identity was intentional. We purposefully toned down our primary colours, allowing the natural colours and distinct textured patterns of our products to shine through. This decision serves two purposes: first, it highlights the versatility of our building materials, and second, it creates an aesthetically pleasing and modern look that resonates with our target audience.

Honouring Our Origins: We haven’t completely discarded our roots. We’ve paid homage to where we started by retaining the original UniCote font and logo. However, we’ve simplified them to signify a more streamlined and modern approach. This balance between tradition and modernity signifies our respect for our heritage while embracing progress.

Going Beyond the Norm: The main message embedded in our new visual identity is that we’re going beyond the norm. It’s not just about colour or technical details; it’s about being more than just another building product. Our visual identity communicates that we’re on a journey to redefine industry standards and expectations. We’re committed to delivering solutions that are innovative, unique, and transformative for the construction industry – Beyond Colour.

In summary, our updated visual identity reflects our commitment to innovation, versatility, and a modernised approach while honouring our heritage. We’re not just a building product; we’re a brand that’s pushing boundaries and striving to create a lasting impact on the industry.

In the spirit of the David and Goliath tale, UniCote’s brand evolution is a bold statement against industry giants. How do you see this rebrand reshaping the steel landscape and strengthening UniCote’s position amidst major players?

You’re absolutely right; it’s indeed a bold statement, but one that we’re incredibly proud and humble about. Since our inception we’ve remained incredibly focused on UniCote and the aspects within our control, rather than the outside noise. This includes dedicating ourselves to earning the respect and trust of an industry that pours relentless effort into crafting timeless designs.

The comparison tale you raise is an interesting concept because we don’t stop to think ‘we’re going to take on the big corporate of our industry’, but we do listen to the industry voice that had a resounding desire for heightened innovation and choice – so we listened, and we’re now delivering on that through our rebranding and market offer.

What excites us most about this rebranding journey is the opportunity to continually engage with all stakeholders in the building and design sector. We aim to share our knowledge and introduce thrilling new possibilities for steel and aluminium that we believe will shape the next wave of design in this industry. While the industry has had access to a quality product that has been around for 50 years, we’re excited about what lies ahead and the possibilities of the next 50 years.

With the rebranding, UniCote introduces a streamlined four-tiered steel solution suite: Select, Coastal, Extreme, and Lux. How are these offerings designed to anticipate and address the dynamic needs of architects, designers, builders, and the industry as a whole?

Expanding on my earlier point, we took the time to carefully listen to the industry and the diverse group of key stakeholders you just mentioned. We honed in on their pain points, particularly those they encountered when working with other building materials or the incumbent steel option.

First and foremost, there was a notable absence of the right solutions tailored to specific project locations and atmospheric conditions. The palette of available colours had grown repetitive and lacked freshness. In addition, the challenges associated with alternative building materials were causing headaches, severely limiting design flexibility, and compromising on the longevity of projects. In essence, the industry was asking for a genuine, high-quality alternative in this space.

Our ‘dynamic four’ (market offer) was curated to raise the bar. Our newly crafted suite of solutions caters to a wide range of locations and offers an extensive selection of vibrant colours and captivating patterns, all available in the beloved profiles that the industry has come to trust. Additionally, we have some exciting new profiles in the pipeline that we can’t wait to introduce.

UniCote Select remains our flagship choice, known for its dependable durability and available in a vast array of colours. UniCote Coastal, as the name suggests, provides that extra layer of protection, ideal for projects near the stunning yet demanding coastlines of Australia. UniCote Extreme represents our latest innovation – a painted marine-grade aluminium range designed to excel in the harshest environments. Finally, at the heart of our innovative streak, UniCote LUX combines aesthetics and performance flawlessly. It offers stunning patterned and textured finishes with a steel core designed to withstand corrosive environments. Its standout feature is the ability to design without constraints, replicating the look of timber, corten, zinc, and stone, with fewer drawbacks associated with these materials.

‘Beyond Colour’ suggests a deeper commitment beyond tangible products. As the brand looks to the future, could you illuminate its vision in terms of innovation, partnerships, and influence in the Australian architectural narrative?

We want the market/ industry to be excited, because this is just the beginning. The beginning of further collaborative work with industry leaders, the introduction of more innovative solutions, profiles that push the boundaries, and finishes that broaden the imagination on what’s possible using steel and aluminium in Australian design.

Grounded in the enduring legacy of UniCote, the rebrand isn’t a mere cosmetic shift. It’s a decisive leap into a promising horizon. This pivotal evolution is a clear reflection of UniCote’s undaunted commitment to spearheading architectural innovations, challenging long-standing conventions, and charting out avenues that redefine the steel industry. James Gregory’s acute observations shine a spotlight on the vision powering this rebrand, making it clear: UniCote isn’t just keeping pace – it’s setting the rhythm, boldly reshaping Australia’s architectural narrative with renewed vigour and clear intent.

Blending time-honoured wisdom with modern innovation, UniCote’s brand update is a nod to its heritage while looking confidently ahead. Set against Australia’s diverse architectural landscape and powered by a fresh brand direction, an unmistakable energy emerges, echoing resilience and ground-breaking innovation. This goes beyond a mere brand transformation; it heralds the onset of a golden age in architectural excellence. James Gregory’s insights transcend mere commentary; they serve as a compelling call to action, inviting everyone to partake in UniCote’s visionary journey.