21 January 2011

Black History Month Flyer

With 11 libraries each holding their own Black History month events from as early as January through to the end of February, we wanted to "package" these independent events together with a common visual element to use for promotional purposes.

I had a few ideas I began to develop, but the one I found most intriguing and promising came in the form of using a "freedom quilt." These quilts were often used to help communicate with escaped and/or former slaves as they traveled northward in search of more hospitable cities and downs to relocate in. Freedom quilts were used by residents in order to indicate a variety of messages, such as if their home was a "safe house" to visit, and what kind of landmarks for travelers to be looking out for--for both good and bad reasons.

I spent a lot of time image resourcing but couldn't locate any public domain photos of any historical freedom quilts. Instead, I used a quilt off of an art CD set we had just purchased, "Art Explosion 800,000." That's right, this 6-CD set has 800,000 images on it, but only a few quilts. 

Since it wasn't a bona-fide freedom quilt, I wondered how I could turn my rather plain quilt into something more relevant to Black History. I decided to infuse into the quilt images of individuals who were influential in advancing the rights and heritage of black Americans. I did this by "sewing" portraits of these people right into the quilt pattern itself, by reducing the transparency of each portrait so that a little of the fabric wrinkles and colours came through into the portraits. As a result, I ended up with a quilt that displayed 24 prominent leaders who championed the rights of America's black community and helped to transform our nation along the way.

The final quilt image became the front of an 8.5x11in flyer. On the back, a listing of all the related Black History Month events was included. I used an enlarged image of the same quilt to become a border around the page and another image, a white cotton surface, as the background. 600 copies were send out to the 11 district libraries. The quilt image will also appear as an ACLD homepage web ad and will be seen in conjunction with other related materials. 

I can't help but to think how awesome this would be if it were a real quilt!

Addendum: If you would like to download this flyer from the ACLD website, here's the link:

14 January 2011

Teen Pizza Taste-Off Social

Oh you lucky teens! Youth Services at the Headquarters branch held a Pizza Taste-Off Social event January 12 for teens. There, they received information about all the great events that take place by and for teens at various branches throughout the district, how to become a volunteer at the library, and of course, PIZZA!

In the end, nine local pizzerias vied for top honours to win the distinction of being named "Teen Favourite". (It should be noted that only cheese pizza slices were used in this competition)

On my part, I produced the promotional materials that included the following:

Four 8.5x11in. signs 
(shown top right)
32 pages of quarter-page handbills 
(shown bottom right)
One 20x30in. "Thank You Sponsors" poster

Each promotional item featured a big, close-up image of a single slice of cheese pizza. Man, every time I saw that piece, I got hungry, so I hope that did the same for everyone else who saw it.

The day after the event, a thank you email by the librarian in charge revealed that 26 teens had come (and come hungry, indeed!). A winning pizzeria was selected by the end of the event. The results are posted here: http://www.aclib.us/teens/blog/gainesville-teens-favorite-pizza

Another email revealed there was left-over pizza in the staff refrigerator, so I went to "inspect it" for myself and found one last remaining slice. Maybe it was the last slice because it was the worst of the picks, but it was still good enough for my breakfast!

10 January 2011

New Year Resolution Display 2011

Do you make a New Year Resolution? If so, you could share it with the library and see what resolutions others make as well.

For the month of January, we wanted to have something about New Year Resolutions. I suggested that we make it interactive by allowing visitors to write their own new year resolution and share it by tacking it up on the display wall. To show how this could be done I came up with a general concept (see top image) and suggested some graphic signage to point viewers to additional information about what new year resolutions were, why they were made, what were popular resolutions, and maybe even some famous or infamous new years resolutions.

The idea was approved and we invited staff to help start kick things off by providing a few of their own. Once up, visitors could see that they were encouraged to participate by filling out a Post-It note of their own and sticking it on the wall with the others. For people who couldn't think of a resolution, an informational graphic sign was posted to provide a brief indication about what a new year resolution was, why people make them, and a sample website link where they could read more about resolutions. The same sign also showed ten of the most commonly used resolutions as examples.

For those who wanted to participate but couldn't think of a new year resolution for themselves, we provided the "Resolution Randomizer"--a box filled with a large assortment of pre-written new year resolutions. All they'd have to do is reach in, pull out a slip of paper with the pre-resolution written on it, then write it on their own Post-It note and place it on the wall. The box idea originally started out as a spinning wheel, but with limited time, resources, and an interest in minimizing potential accidents and vandalism, I considered an alternative way to deliver a random choice to participants.

Now that the display is up, it is interesting to stand in front of it to read what resolutions other people have written. There are some pretty good ones, and of course, there will always be those who resolve not to make a new year resolution at all. Who knows, they might even end up being the most common resolution!

As a way to extend the experience, the librarian in charge of this display will keep an active blog going about it. Each week, she will update readers on what resolutions have been posted, including the most interesting and most popular ones. We hope that by the end of the month there will be a lot of resolutions shared for everyone to read and to consider for themselves.

As for production of the design, I had sourced for images of hourglasses, but didn't find any I liked, tipped in the angle I wanted. So I ended up using the Adobe Illustrator drawn one I created for my concept. Tabloid signs incorporated a blue-hued variation of the January monthly event signs and the same gold spot-lit background texture as well. One of the display team members covered a cardboard box for the Resolution Randomizer, and I formed a table tent sign out of another piece of cardboard. The wall of the display was covered with long sheets of white butcher paper, and the headline was printed out on the large format printer. Additional decorative snowflakes were printed out on both plain white paper as well as card stock for the few that we hung by thread to add dimension to the display.

ADDENDUM: By the time we took down the display after the end of the month, you can see how nicely the display filled up with Post-It Notes placed on the board by patrons who were willing to share their new year resolution. Compare the final photo to my original concept comp and you can see that the actual turn-out came pretty close to the vision. =)

At right are two final photos before taking down the display.

04 January 2011

Library Monthly Event Signs, January 2011

Ahh, the new year is upon us. And with it, a new selection of monthly event schedules for the 11 ACLD branch libraries. I was looking for something that had a festive look, but one that was non-specific, so I went with a soft-focus shot of some holiday lighting. 

Some branches require multiple pages for their listings, so I took the single red image I selected and altered the hue to create additional green and purple versions. Then, when I needed a second or third image, I would use one of these and rotate or flip the image so that the lights appeared in different locations on the page. For pages that ended up with sufficient empty space--mostly where "Special Programs" were--I placed a star ornament that indicated "New Year 2011".

Most monthly event signs are tabloid-sized 11x17in, but there are a couple branches with very few programs. For these branches, I create 8.5x11in versions. Shown above is a selection of the tabloid-sized signs.

Print quantity: 30 total pages.

Happy new year!