Case Study - Shepherdess Magazine


Shepherdess magazine was born to fill a gap. With the pledge to connect, empower and inspire women across rural New Zealand, by offering a place to tell their stories. Shepherdess believes that telling stories is a great way to reduce social and geographical isolation, stimulate ideas and thinking, and foster connections. The publisher saw that there was nothing quite like this in the market and there was no print based platform for female voices to tell their stories both in the agricultural sector and rural communities across New Zealand. Shepherdess Magazine is a proudly independent print publication committed to quality storytelling, photography and design work. We were thrilled to be invited to come on their journey.


To design, produce and prepare for print a magazine that tells the story of farmers, mothers, daughters, sisters, teachers, entrepreneurs, homebodies. The design needed to look and feel like a magazine about the places and issues closest to womens’ hearts. – a much needed publication, ground-breaking in its infancy and the first of its kind in Aotearoa, New Zealand.




Shepherdess. It represents women who chase sheep as shepherds on high country stations, it evokes women who live on the land and it acknowledges the pioneering women before us, such as Kate Sheppard who fought for women’s right to vote. And it’s the name of New Zealand’s new rural women’s magazine. It’s for all women - whether you live on the land, once lived on the land, dream of living on the land, or have an affinity with the land. The relationship between women and the land is reflected in the Te Reo line underneath which reads “Ma te wāhine, mo te whenua. From the women, for the land”. Shepherdess is authentic but it’s also somewhat romantic.


A quarterly publication with nationwide circulation which we designed, art-worked and prepped for print. 100 page including cover, full colour 210 x 275mm on beautiful matte paper stock. Initial print run 5,000 with an estimated readership of 54,000 across the first year. Distributed through Farmlands stores and boutique rural businesses throughout New Zealand, direct to subscribers and primary sector organisations.


A magazine that we are extremely proud of. A magazine that looks good on the eye, feels great in the hand and one that inspires the mind. Working closely with the client allowed us to produce something elegant and simple, to give each page the sufficient amount of ‘fresh air’ to let the wholesome photography shine through, and allow the equally wholesome stories to be told. We used typography that complements each other. Serifs that give a nod to tradition and are comforting, along with a beautiful feminine scripted typeface for that elegant hand written touch. Our colour palette takes the lead from the hero photography where appropriate, so we could use bold block colours to support the stunning images.


The inaugural edition has now hit the shelves and reached mailboxes across the land from the West Coast, to Te Karaka to the Chatham Islands. Glowing feedback was almost instantaneous. Here’s what people have been saying:

“What an awesome magazine! I couldn’t believe how in touch it was with rural New Zealand women. I never thought I would be able to buy a magazine or pick one up in the shop and actually be able to say that I know these people, I know these places and I have been there before. I loved it. Each and every page was designed in such a clear, clean and sophisticated way. All of the photos were beautifully put together and taken in a natural way.”

Tammy Cooper


“Your first issue has just arrived in my mailbox ... and it’s the best thing that has happened all week! It’s beautiful. And clever! Well done.“   

Sally Duggan
Executive Director, Magazine Publishers Association.



“Sarah Jayne is creative, clever, dynamic, and a storyteller. She is exactly the sort of person you want to have on your team when working on a project that uses visual communication to tell a story. She has an eye for good design, is experienced at designing for a variety of forms and scales - from a social media graphic, to a 100 page magazine.

The response to the Shepherdess has been heartwarming, and I believe it is thanks to Sarah Jayne’s eye for visual communication and storytelling. She has created a product that is beautiful, meaningful, and resonates with a rural audience. It has landed in letterboxes from the West Coast, to Te Karaka to the Chatham Islands, and we have had such a positive response. Sarah Jayne is passionate about what she does, and this shows in every aspect of her work - when you are getting an idea off the ground, it is wonderful to work with someone who is equally as excited on a project as you! It feels like a true collaboration.

It is an absolute pleasure working with Sarah Jayne. She is organised, responsive and reliable. She gets things done when she says she will. I completely trust in her knowledge of the technical details of design and getting a magazine off to print - which when publishing a magazine is one less thing out of a myriad of tasks an independent publisher is juggling! And she can have a laugh when things don’t quite go to plan - as is required when working in publishing! Shepherdess would not be what it is without Sarah Jayne’s depth of talent, eye for design, creativity and thought. I am in awe of her skill, and very grateful to have her as part of the team.”

Kristy McGregor
Editor, Shepherdess Magazine