A New Decade,
A New Begining

CLIENT

Visit Howard County

PROJECT NAME

Visitor Guide Publication

INDUSTRY

Tourism and Hospitality

Howard County, located in Central Maryland, is diverse and dynamic, offering just about anything a visitor could ask for. With natural views in Patapsco State Park and unique historic towns like Ellicott City, to the bustling metropolis of Columbia, the county attracts millions of visitors each year. It boasts a lengthy and exciting list of one-of-a-kind restaurants, breweries and wineries, special events, high-end and eclectic shopping, live entertainment, outdoor attractions, museums and historic sites, and much more.

Postern engaged with Visit Howard County, a member-based organization, in 2019. They were looking for a marketing agency to create a refreshed, turnkey visitor guide for residents and visitors alike that effectively showcased the vast variety of attractions and reflected the personality of their county. We leveraged our past experience with turnkey publications, like the Frederick Visitor Guide and the Montgomery County Visitor Guide, allowing us to begin a productive partnership with Visit Howard County.

CHANGES AND CHALLENGES

The publication would become available at the start of 2020, and the start of a new decade called for a new beginning for the Howard County Visitor Guide. We embarked with the intention of creating a totally redesigned piece—one completely reimagined and that sparked excitement regarding the contents inside.

With so much to do, see, and explore—from favorites like Clark’s Elioak Farm and Old Ellicott City, as well as new attractions like the Merriweather District, green spaces, and parks—we wanted the publication to feature classics in a new light while showcasing the latest attractions.

New photography and imagery, updated design concepts, and contemporary copy would provide the building blocks for an updated publication. Whether a long-time resident or first-time visitor picked up the guide, they would be offered a renewed perspective of the county.

Lastly, because the shelf life of this publication would stand for an entire year, the guide would need to be highly engaging. It needed to be refreshing so that readers would feel invited to reference it again and again throughout the changing seasons.

SERVICES

TurnKey Publishing

Ad Design

Conceptualizing

Content Strategy

Copywriting

Design and Layout

Illustration

Ad Sales

Print Management

Art Direction

THE PROCESS

CONTENT

Our first step in the process was to develop a content plan. We chose to tune into current national conversations and emerging trends and drew connections to the relevant places and events in the county. These concepts became the basis for spreads throughout each section.

We also chose to personalize the guide by featuring outstanding people who have made the county what it is today, including Howard County Executive Calvin Ball, Toby Orenstein of Toby’s Dinner Theater, Chef Thomas Zippelli of The Turn House, and Martha Clark and Nora Crist of Clark’s Elioak Farm.

They each give a face and voice for the county, and, through their personal experiences, visitors can get a sense of the community’s culture.

Keeping these goals in mind, the Postern team presented a ‘choose your adventure’ flow chart, a focus on festivals, a ‘this or that’ chart surrounding wineries, breweries and distilleries, a self-care section, resident bios, and hand-illustrated maps—all of which speak to residents and visitors alike.

LAYOUT

Once the content had been determined, the Postern team developed comprehensive outlines and layout maps to present the information in a cohesive, digestible way. The guide was broken down into sections, beginning with engaging editorial, followed by business and organization listings so that readers could easily find the information they were looking for.

PHOTOGRAPHY AND IMAGERY

It was important to get the right mix of photos from all across the county to effectively showcase everything it has to offer. Two full days of photoshoots throughout the county were meticulously planned, art directed, and executed in a variety of places, like Patapsco Valley State Park, Savage Mill, Ellicott City, and Columbia.

DESIGN

All of the pieces of the puzzle had been collected and now it was time for assembly. To continue the energetic, engaging feel, we used a bright color palette that has a modern feel and matched it with an intentional, airy design layout.

Visit Howard County is a membership-based organization, giving us the ability to offer Howard County businesses an effective advertising opportunity. We created a media package for members, managed advertising needs, and designed and placed the ads within the guide.

“For example, when you visit the state park, it’s natural and open. Oftentimes, you can’t see any houses or roads from where you are. I wanted that feeling to reflect in the layout by leaving intentional white space and using images with natural light sources.”

CECILE MADONNA

POSTERN DESIGNER

THE FINAL PRODUCT

When the project was finalized, the team at Visit Howard County had a 76-page guide that highlighted everything Howard County has to offer in a colorful, easy-to-read publication. The hand-drawn maps and custom photography made the publication feel authentic to Howard County, and relevant copy spoke to visitors and residents, offering a reinvigorated perspective.

The collaboration between the Postern team, the Visit Howard County team, and the organization’s members made it possible to create a successful publication from front cover to back. The guide is currently published online in a digital flipbook and distributed to local businesses, as well as to visitor centers throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Virginia—with 60,000 copies to be distributed throughout 2020.

“Visit Howard County was happy to partner with Postern on our 2020 Visitor guide which showcases a fresh new look and feel that highlights Howard County’s unique attractions through features like Howard County First Timer, What’s More Your Speed?, Choose Your Own Adventure, Worth Planning Ahead For, and many more. Postern helped us focus our vision and create a wonderful guide to help visitors get the most of their visit to Howard County.”

AMANDA HOF

EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR VISIT HOWARD COUNTY