Ness Botanic Gardens, owned by the University of Liverpool, is a much-loved garden of national importance, with a long history associated with the Victorian plant hunters and their discoveries. The Gardens were responsible for the introduction to Britain of a vast range of plants gathered from the Far East, a collection which has been responsible for shaping how British gardens look today.
Until Big Drum became involved, Ness Gardens was not being seriously marketed. It had no brand, no memorable corporate identity, no guidebook or garden map for visitors to navigate round and interpret the 64 acres, few up-to-date photographs, and a fledgling weddings business which relied on photocopied information.
what we did
Working closely with the Curator Paul Cook (now Curator of Harlow Carr - the RHS garden in Yorkshire), we established a brand for the Gardens and took thousands of photographs of the planting, visitors and the staff at work, for use in the new promotional material. We wrote, designed and produced the first modern guidebook, including creating an illustrated garden map. We produced a high volume 10pp third A4 visitor leaflet every year, a glossy weddings brochure, and every other item of marketing material, including TV screen slides, print advertising for news and trade press, what's on booklets, educational trails... We also produced all the promotional and event management material needed for the BBC Radio 4 Gardeners' Question Time Summer Garden Party. This huge event attracted the highest audience to a Radio 4 event: it was so successful it enjoyed an unprecedented return to the Gardens the following year.
This is what former Curator Paul Cook says:
"When I was Curator of Ness Botanic Gardens I looked for a team which could create a garden guide book for our visitors. When I met Jenny and Jon I knew we had the right people for the job. They transported the Gardens onto the pages of the new guide in an amazingly short time period. It was an ambitious project and needed us all to work together closely - refining, going back and refining again - until we were all happy that the words and the illustrations did justice to the wonderful gardens.
"What Big Drum excelled at was thinking creatively and keeping to tight deadlines, so the excitement of the art and restrictions of budgets was balanced and achievable. I had found two people so committed to their craft and so much fun to work with - and I remember the time we worked together as exciting, fun and productive. It was a time that resulted in work of the highest quality."
Every minute of working with Ness Botanic Gardens - and Paul Cook - has been a delight, and it is work of which we are extremely proud.