Mention ‘Harrogate’ and what springs to mind? Mineral water, Turkish Baths, the Great Yorkshire Show and afternoon tea at Betty’s are likely to pop into your head, but what about sustainable travel and mobile phone apps?

That was the challenge North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC) gave Brass when it received Department for Transport funding to encourage people to leave their cars at home and find greener ways of getting about.


From residents doing the school run to people visiting the town for business and holidays, the target audience was huge, so the solution needed to be clever. Account Director Dan Brown and Digital Projects Director Jonathan Price got off the starting blocks with a dynamic website and smartphone app to make sustainable travel fun, relevant and shareable.


As well as helping users plot their route and discover places of interest, the app also helps them calculate how far they’ve traveled, how many calories they’ve burnt and how much CO2 their journey would have otherwise produced. They also created an inspiring and iconic brand to bring the initiative to life, fusing Harrogate’s quintessential character and heritage with a modern look and feel that encourages people to explore the local area.

The result, Open Harrogate, provides residents, tourists and other visitors with scores of inspirational ideas and practical information to make it easier than ever to get out and about and navigate their way round, be it by foot, bike or public transport.

Brass led the journey at every stage of Open Harrogate’s fully integrated campaign, not only taking care of the build, design and roll-out of the digital assets but also mounting an external communication plan to promote it all.

A launch event with a high profile regional TV presenter, featuring a cycle ride through the town, was a pivotal part of the PR launch campaign and was attended by key print and broadcast media.

“It was really good fun working on such a bespoke project where the ultimate goal was to reduce CO2 emissions and encourage learning.”

Jonathan Price 
Brass Digital Projects Director

Promotional staff were on hand to give out leaflets and maps, further raising awareness, while all event activity was supported by various digital advertising, as well as presence in exhibitions, literature and
theatre guides. A B2B toolkit for businesses such as coffee shops and guest houses was also part of the publicity push.

“We enjoyed bringing a fresh perspective to Open Harrogate and creating a strong, vibrant, energising and instantly recognisable identity that worked well on digital platforms and was still sympathetic to what Harrogate is as a town.

“It was great to create something so collectively, working closely with the client and its stakeholders within the community. The response has been really positive, and the app in particular has been generating great reviews.”

Dan Brown
Brass Account Director

More than 7,000 people have been on the website since it launched at the beginning of July and the app has been downloaded more than 450 times, demonstrating a strong ROI for the client.

“The work that Brass has done in creating the Open Harrogate brand and online material has been really exceptional. The smartphone application has been particularly well received by local organisations and businesses, and the project has been recognised by ‘Modeshift’, winning a National Sustainable Travel Award.”

Mark Kibblewhite
North Yorkshire County Council