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Reaching out to inform a county

Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council

Strategy

Reinvent a classic medium to reconnect with the public

Idea

Transform a newsletter into an exciting magazine format with a bold style and tone

Context

Dún Laoghaire and Rathdown’s council have been using a newsletter to promote the county’s facilities and events while informing the public of the latest developments in the area. With an audience of more than 200,000, spanning a very diverse range of people and needs, the newsletter had lost its relevance and become quite generic – a common issue when trying to be something for everyone.

The brief

Clickworks was commissioned by Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council to re-design and produce its key publication ‘dlr Times’. This publication is produced 5 times a year and delivered to every home within the catchment. The requirement was quite simple: create a newsletter that has a clear purpose and focus, is well designed so that the reader can navigate through the content with ease and quickly recognise the sections or articles that are relevant to them.

The solution

Over the six year lifespan of the newsletter, the role of printed communications has been altered by the increased use of online and digital communications. In response to this, periodical publications have had to adapt: become more visually engaging, deliver more relevant and valuable content, adopt a faster navigated design system and assume a defined personality that will help differentiate. These attributes are now seen as standard within the industry and provide a good benchmark for the newsletter.

Structurally the newsletter needed to change in size to move towards being seen as a magazine. The new A3 sheet format would provide the perfect canvas for large-scale photography and imagery, a key component to challenging old perceptions. This also accommodated greater amounts of content, adaptive headline sizes and a streamlined colour palette. The overall effect is a fresh, modernised and more reader-friendly magazine that is flexible and can adapt to the evolving needs of the council’s communications department.

Given the changing demographic of residents within the catchment, the magazine also had to be accessible online. As part of the solution we developed a responsive e-zine format reaching everyone in the DLR database, maximising circulation of the dlr Times.

Results

Initial feedback from residents and businesses is highly favourable, already indicating an increase in readership. With an open rate of 60% and a click rate of 20% (for the May 2017 issue), we expect ongoing county engagement with both the e-zine and the magazine.

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