Kew Explorers magazine

In collaboration with Kew we produced a one-off kids’ magazine to engage young members

Our brief

With a large family membership, Royal Botanic Gardens Kew wanted to look at ways to engage young members and so asked us to produce a one-off kids’ magazine all about the gardens and plant collections at Kew and sister site Wakehurst. This would then be sent out to family members and used to get feedback and inform their family content strategy.

Our solution

In collaboration with Kew’s marketing team, we created Kew Explorers, a 12-page magazine designed to provide a fun introduction to the gardens and encourage family members to use their membership to visit. After discussing Kew’s objectives, we decided to pitch the magazine at KS2 readers aged 7-11 as this is an age when children become independent readers, meaning they could enjoy the magazine without adult supervision. It’s also an age when children start to form their own interests outside school.

To narrate the issue and provide a sense of continuity throughout, we commissioned children’s illustrator Laura Catalan to create two fictional characters of the target readers’ age, called Fleur and Doug (pun very much intended!), who are peppered throughout the issue with speech bubbles so they can guide the reader through the issue, comment on content and tell jokes.

In addition to using Kew’s existing font set, we introduced a new serif font for the word ‘Explorers’ on the cover to differentiate the magazine title from the coverlines, and we added a hand drawn font for the speech bubbles. We also played with type size and positioning in headlines to ensure a fun and energetic aesthetic throughout.

To cover all aspects of the Kew offering, the content of the magazine included an interview with conservatories manager Scott Taylor, a seasonal heroes treasure hunt featuring things to find in winter, a feature on Kew’s seed bank on its 20th anniversary, a history feature on horticultural painter Marianne North and her gallery at Kew, and an interactive plant personality quiz to round off the issue.

The results

The magazine was well received by both the client and readers, with feedback gathered at an annual members’ event. This also prompted one member to email the marketing team to say, ‘I just wanted to let you know that I thought the latest edition of the Kew magazine for members was very well produced. My daughter also enjoyed the new children’s magazine  – particularly the quiz!  Please do keep up the good work!’

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