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The Lemonface Kid and the Long Term Plan

A Case Study

The Background

We were commissioned by Horowhenua District Council (HDC) to design and produce a suite of collateral to support their Long Term Plan (LTP). A long term plan is a document that acts like a map or a guide, clearly establishing where you are headed as an organisation and how you intend to get there. It allows you to accurately prioritise work and monitor your progress towards achieving the end goals. Where most LTPs have a lifecycle of 10 years HDC  recognised they were in a period of unprecedented growth in their district, so the plan was made for 20 years, 2018-2038.

The Brief

To design and create a suite of collateral that would entice and engage the community to provide input. It had to be relatable and digestible to encourage people to engage with the LTP and provide their valuable feedback. The theme decided on by Council was to allow children from the community to tell the LTP stories – a nod to the future and the importance that what will be decided now, will have a direct impact on our tamariki of the future. The brief included design and print management.

The Work

We initially began with a photo shoot with 2 primary school children, (Maia and Xander) to be the ‘faces’ and ‘champions’ of the LTP 2018-38 consultation campaign. The ‘kit’ of images we captured in the shoot became the building blocks for all the pieces of the collateral we produced. Namely:

  • Signage (pull up banners, district billboards)

  • Digital – website skins, social media campaign images

  • Direct mail – prepaid postcards asking the community what is important to them

  • Newspaper double page spreads

  • Advertising in community publications

  • The actual consultation document

    • 32 pages including cover

    • Internal pages pulled out to reveal an illustration by Greg straight (commissioned) of the district to show all the services council provide from rates and income collected

    • Infographics

  • Physical Long term plan covers and dividers

The Challenge

The collation and representation of often complex data in multiple formats from multiple partners, collaborators and stakeholders whilst adhering to strict legislative, copy and production deadlines. The collateral needed to appeal to many diverse sectors of the community, be easily digestible, look good, tell the council story and leave no questions unanswered. Where necessary, we softened and simplified the ‘Government speak’ using design and ensured that all the content we received from multiple contributors had the same, consistent tone and feel in the layout.

The Result

A suite of collateral that was cohesive, consistent, bold and vibrant, in both print and digital formats. The landscape format of the main document had a pull out centre and was extremely well received and really ‘sold’ the fabulous illustration of the district. The colourful, simple infographics told the stories that a thousand words would have struggled to do. The signage and engagement collateral went to multiple events and locations over a two month period with impressive levels of community engagement. The two child models gave the campaign a human, relatable and recognisable theme. They even become minor celebrities for a while as their faces popped up on billboards around the district. We were just delighted and more than a little proud with the end result.

This consultation document was a finalist in the 2018 Society of Local Government Managers’ Great Consultation Document Competition. It also got some great feedback from the office of the Auditor General in their 'Long-term plans:Our audits of councils’ consultation documents' report (pages 16 and 17), in which it was said:

"One of the strengths of this consultation document is the frequent use of tips about how to read the information presented and clear indications of where to find the underlying information. Sketch-style graphics are effectively combined with photos from the district and input from the 'champions'"

The Client Feedback

“Sarah-Jayne worked closely with our project team at the outset of our 2018 Long Term Plan process.  Her early involvement added real value to the end product and process.  Sarah-Jayne quickly grasped our vision for the theme of our Long Term Plan and engagement approach. She was able to expertly prepare several different concepts for us to consider. The chosen theme she designed was able to be utilised throughout the Long Term Plan campaign and was a key factor in communicating the story of our Long Term Plan.

Sarah-Jayne’s creativity really shone through in the design of the Consultation Document and the way the theme was carefully worked into our engagement material. Throughout this process Sarah-Jayne demonstrated a willingness to listen to the project team, think outside the box and understand the intended audience. The end result was a Consultation Document that was not only engaging, but also recognised as a finalist in the SOLGM 2018 Great Consultation Document competition for its overall design and clear presentation of issues and information

In recognising that for most people outside Council a Long Term Plan is difficult to understand, Sarah-Jayne worked skilfully to simplify complex information. Through well-considered design, use of infographics and careful presentation of the information, Sarah-Jayne ensured that the Long Term Plan documents were relatable and could be easily understood by the public. Sarah-Jayne’s timely delivery and understanding of the process helped ensure a smooth LTP process and an end product we are all very proud of."

David McCorkindale
Group Manager Strategy & Development
Horowhenua District Council

You can find more images of the work from this project in the portfolio.