Imagine Newcastle: Moving Talent to a Progressive, Regional City

  • 2023

  • Digital

Designed By:

Commissioned By:

City of Newcastle

Designed In:


Newcastle is a regional city two hours north of Sydney. The City of Newcastle is progressing its vision to attract a diverse group of millennial and GenZ professionals from Sydney, Melbourne and overseas through the ‘Imagine Newcastle’ digital platform highlighting professional opportunities, lifestyle benefits and the affordability of the area.

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  • The problem was simple; supply and demand. In the last 20 years Newcastle has shed its industrial past to embrace renewable energy, innovative technology and the creative arts, with more artists per capita now living in Newcastle than any other Australian city. With this change came a demand for skilled professionals to work in these emerging industries that has eclipsed the supply of talent currently available in the city. With Sydney less than two hours away, Newcastle needed to find a digital solution to attract and persuade digital natives to consider and make the move to Newcastle.

  • From speaking to recent movers, it was discovered that visiting Newcastle was the most critical factor for people deciding to make the move, followed by an understanding of where they could work, live and relax in their downtime. These insights underpinned the design of the Imagine Newcastle website that showcased the quality of life, the variety of professional opportunities and the affordability of Newcastle, while encouraging users to sign up for a free tour of the city. The Imagine Newcastle platform successfully addressed user needs, helping to convert leads and inform relevant decisions about relocation aligned to user research insights.

  • The response to the website has been overwhelmingly positive, successfully allowing new movers to envision themselves in the city's picture. Since launching in early 2023, over 117 people registered for a tour. In 2020, approximately 90% of tour attendees relocated to Newcastle within a year. These numbers represent single sign-ups, but often a relocating person brings along family and friends, who in turn become advocates for the city. The platform positions Newcastle as a thriving, affordable city with excellent employment opportunities, work-life balance, and proximity to nature, enhancing the quality of life for new movers and current residents.

  • The first impression of the website is vital, acting as a gateway to the city in the minds of people considering the move. It had to feel innovative, creative and progressive in order to position Newcastle in that same light. To achieve this, the website employed significant front-end CSS to accommodate animated icons, seamless transitioning background colours, rotating menu items to draw the eye to key conversion points, a flexible masonry grid and a delayed reveal of elements on scroll for an immersive experience. Over 20 custom, flexible components were developed to provide a library of design features that could be repurposed throughout the life of the digital platform. Each component that was designed and developed had multiple goals in mind; to create a fresh, engaging and creative design for the website user while enabling seamless and agile authoring experience on the backend. The product needed to adapt quickly as the needs of the audience changed. For example, as interest rates rose in Australia and a rental crisis emerged the content team were able to quickly respond by creating a cost of living comparison tool using existing components showcasing the affordability of housing in Newcastle compared to Sydney and Melbourne.