28 March 2011

Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Table Signs

With almost 200 people needing to find out where they will be sitting, table tents are a good visual cue to help them navigate to their chair at one of the 25 tables that sat 10 guests each. To maintain the visual theme, I continued using the flame motif and font on the black background. Each table was assigned to a particular branch, department, organization, or combination thereof. 

View of Table Tents (foreground) and Programs (background).

Aside from simply listing the name(s) of those aforementioned entities on the table tent, I also wanted to include language to say "Reserved For", only I wanted to have fun with it and extend it into the food theme, so I added a little extra text to the "Reserved For" line.

One of the 25 Table Tents
When you read menus at restaurants, sometimes the descriptions of the meal can be very artfully crafted. Sometimes they are very straight forward and basic. Other times they border or even cross into becoming pretentious. I wanted to develop a creative and entertaining line for each table tent that could play off of that menu-reading experience--only for mine, I wanted to incorporate a spin on it to refer to the qualities of the library participants themselves. So as you will see by way of example below, I included lines such as "Steeped in wisdom and a hearty bouillabaisse, this table is reserved for High Springs" (branch library). On the flip side, I'd write a different phrase, just so they'd have another to be entertained by. For more examples of the phrases I used, see the bottom image of text choices I came up with. Hopefully, I got a couple of chuckles or at least smiles.

When the event organizer read my selection of phrases, she emailed me: "I love your table tent design concept and all your clever “peppered’ phrases!!  “Steeped in wisdom and a hearty bouillabaisse”…How did you manage that one – Wow!  I, of course, love “Marinated overnight and sprinkled with enthusiasm” too! Many thanks for adding to the fun of the planning stages for this event! Wonderful, Scot – Thank you for your enthusiasm and clever and creative ideas towards the printed materials, decorations, etc. for the volunteer luncheon!  Working with you is a treat!"

Not to be left out, the "apron/heart strings" was included on the table tent sign as well, to reinforce the full compliment of imagery involved in the event (note, I avoided saying "to tie it all together"). These tent cards were simply printed out on 8.5x11 inch card stock, folded twice, and taped together at the free ends with double-stick tape to create a little triangle, or "tent" as it is referred to.

22 March 2011

Library Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Invitation & Program 2011

Event invitation front and back.

The 2011 Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon invitation was a single two-sided 3x4 inch panel, printed 4-up on an 8.5x11 inch sheet of 110lb card stock and trimmed. It featured a public domain photo of a flame, a display font (incidentally named "Flame" as well) duplicated once in red and once in yellow to create a drop highlight, and then the essential venue information on the back side.

Clever Alert!: On the back I introduced the notion of a "heart" formed by the coming together of two lines (in an effort to visually emphasize the love felt by the library toward its volunteers). But in reality, this linear creation had a second implication that was yet to be realized until they came to the event and saw the associated program.

When attendees arrived at the venue they would be seated in front of a place setting that displayed a real, folded black apron with the tagline written on it. Standing alongside the folded apron would be an apron-shaped program that reinforced the appearance of the full-sized apron. Once the program was opened they would see the same heart-shaped symbol from the invitation, now located inside the program in such a way that it would suggest the lines were actually strings from the back of the apron that formed the heart shaped symbol.

This subtlety might be lost on some who only continued to see "heart shaped lines" while others might recognize the "apron strings" aspect right away and forget all about the heart from the earlier invitation. For the visually acute, however, I hoped they would be able to recognize both and hopefully point out the double entendre to their neighbours.

I also enjoyed having the opportunity to do a little copywriting. On the inside panel under the event title and date I crafted the statement:

"Volunteers are a vital ingredient that add
to the recipe of our Library’s success. 
Bringing a blend of talent and experience, 
volunteers make an otherwise basic 
stock into a robust, savory environment
for patrons and staff alike to enjoy."

I love it when I can work in some language that reflects the theme of the event. Others did as well; it sailed right through the client review cycle with an immediate approval.

I printed and trimmed out 360 invitations to be delivered or sent out; 200 programs were also printed and trimmed out by free-hand. It was a lot of work that took a couple of weeks just for the trimming, but I was very happy with the result and so were the many others who enjoyed the cleverness and novelty of the design.

Event programs in the shape of a miniature apron are lined up in groups of 25 after being trimmed.
The actual adult-sized apron, given to all volunteers as a gift from the library.

Our Volunteers Keep Us Cooking!

The Alachua County Library District is truly blessed to have an incredible number of people who are interested to donate their time and effort to work as volunteers. These people help to boost the level of support and service that librarians could never provide alone.

In 2010, the ACLD benefited from the assistance of 2,495 volunteers who worked 22,314 hours to help the library. The money their time and effort saved the library district equaled the cost it would have taken to employ approximately 10.5 full-time staff employees. 

The kind of work volunteers help with runs the gamut: re-shelving books, newspapers, and magazines; helping patrons with online services, teaching computer applications and homework tutoring for all manner of school subjects; assisting patrons write resumes and cover letters; preparing for and cleaning after program events; scanning, filing and doing other office related paperwork projects...the possibilities are endless.

These efforts certainly don't go unnoticed or under-appreciated by the library staff--and just to remind volunteers in a more formal way, the library district holds an annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon for all volunteers who provided their time and talent to the library during the year.

Each annual luncheon provides an opportunity for speakers from different library administrative departments and groups to offer their personal thanks and sentiments on why they appreciate the work volunteers do for the district. Typically, the program includes a brief speeches from the volunteer coordinator, the library district manager, and representatives from the governing board of directors, the Friends of the Library, the ACLD Foundation, and a guest speaker.

This year the guest speaker is local chef and restaurant owner Bert Gill. Gill is owner of four restaurants in Gainesville and an occasion guest chef on television news segments who provides viewers with cooking tips and recipes. At the library luncheon, Chef Gill would provide a live cooking demonstration, complete with an audio/video set-up that would provide the audience with an overhead view of his demonstration projected onto a large screen.

To promote the event, a theme was developed to focus on cooking and adopted the tagline: "Our Volunteers Keep Us Cooking!" Because Chef Gill cooked over open flame, we incorporated the use of flaming letters as the display font for the event print collaterals. The font was appropriately called "Flame." I also sourced for a public domain image of a flame that I could use in tandem with the lettering. It had been pre-determined prior to my involvement that a complimentary black apron emblazoned with the ACLD logo and tagline would be given out as a gift, so I adopted the apron as the central visual motif for the printed program.

I suggested that the door greeter should also wear a black apron to help further the visual theme connection between the life sized apron and the apron-shaped programs on the tables inside. We also discussed a bevy of possibilities for table center pieces, and in the end went with an understated and elegant floral arrangement and colour coordinated napkins of solid black, yellow, or red.

The promotional collaterals included:

Invitation: 360 3x4 inch invitations, printed 4-up on two sides of an 8.5x11 inch 110lb card stock sheet, then mailed or hand-delivered in colour coordinated envelopes.
Program: 200 3x8 inch single-folded 110lb card stock programs, printed on both sides and featuring a free-hand die cut in the shape of a cooking apron. The program was allowed to stand up on the tables at each place setting.
Table Seating Signs: 24 8x4 inch 110lb card stock table tents, printed on one side and double-folded into tent shape then placed on each table to indicate reservations for each library branch or combined department combination.
Welcome Sign: One 20x30 inch sign to be placed on an easel outside the doorway to the venue.

Of note: It took about two weeks to print and then trim by hand the 360 invitations and 200 programs. At 8 cuts per invitation and 5 cuts per program, plus hand trimming and assembling the poster and table tents, I made well over 2440 cuts with my trusty Xacto blade by the time I finished (that's about one cut for each volunteer, as it turned out!). All for you, volunteers! (and not even one volunteer used in the process).

15 March 2011

Teen Tech Time (T3)

Teen Tech Time is a weekly program that helps provide teens with information and activities related to using the computer. Learning new things and having related activities to practice on help improve user computer skills, considered necessary in today's society.

The key points Teen Tech Time at the library addresses are to:
> Get more laptop time
> Work on special projects
> Learn about research tools
> Hang out and have fun!

Our initial  visual identity had a photo of four teens crowded together, leaning forward in a photo. It was less than spectacular and there was no reference to technology. So when I got a work request to create a handbill to promote the program, I suggested we first develop a logo that would be included on all promotional materials for it.

Teen Tech Time is referred to as "T3" for short, so I used this to develop the logo. I first sourced for photos of 3 teens using a computer, but didn't find anything I liked, so I went with straight type and sourced for a computer mother board to place onto the surface of the "T". Having this incorporated the suggestion of computer technologies into the letter form.

Radiating out of the superscript "3" were three concentric circles. I offered the program coordinator a couple choices of colours for the 3 and its rings, and the hot pink was preferred. If you like, the pink (typically associated with girls) is to impart the idea that the program isn't just for a group of tech-headed boys. The end result, is as shown. Additionally, knowing that there will most likely be need for printing in black/white, I also produced versions to be placed on both white and black backgrounds.

Teen Tech Week at our libraries are related to the American Library Association's (ALA) Teen Tech Week, but independent of them. So when the ALA promoted Teen Tech Week, our library could draw from their resources and events and fold them into our own special or recurring ones. The ALA had their own series of images associated to Teen Tech Week, and we used them in conjunction with the events they promoted. Among them were visual elements such as the "Mix & Mash" logotype treatment and robot you see on the right, which I used for web ads, then added the names of our specific events down below in a type style that complemented what had already been created. As it turns out, the T3 logo worked well with the ALA Mix & Mash Teen Tech Week visuals too.

So from top to bottom, the full compliment of the newly developed T3 logos; the T3 handbill, and the web ads used to promote events associated to Teen Tech Week.

10 March 2011

Pre-School Puppet Theater: Bear Snores On

From top to bottom: quarter-page handbill, print ad, web ad.
Yesterday our Headquarters branch youth services librarians (three to five of them) put on a story time puppet show for pre-schoolers aged 3-5. I think they do this once a month, and it is always met with great fanfare. In fact, I was told that 88 people attended this most recent show, Bear Snores On.

Eighty-eight. Wow! I was told that it would have been 89 people if I had gotten there at least 15 minutes earlier. I just missed it, and I was soooo disappointed--really! I wanted to see my librarians in action. They actually sit in a big wooden box that looks like a miniature stage. It's a long way from Broadway, but it's also more convenient...if I would only get out of my own bear's den more often!

For promotional collaterals, I usually create an 8.5x11 inch sign design, quarter-page handbills, a web ad for the library website, and sometimes a black/white print ad for the newspaper or other publications.

09 March 2011

Windows To The World

A view from my office into the back courtyard of the Headquarters Library.

Like many people in my business, I've had my share of doing the musical chair scene, cycling myself through whatever creative studios, agencies, and publishing houses allowed me, while I gouged out my career like some giant, lumbering glacier that carved its way through the mountains until it reached its final resting place and disolved into the sea.

Along the way, my office accommodations have run the gamut: from working on a slab of thick glass I straddled between two filing cabinets to make a desk out of while freelancing in my spare bedroom-turned studio; to having my head poke up out of a cubicle amid a vast sea of other cubicles for a major corporation's in-house creative department; to working on a state-of-the-art networked computer system in a private office on the 44th floor of a skyscraper in New York CIty's Rockefeller Center.

Some of my more memorable workplace windows included views directly down into the heart of Times Square; a view into Central Park through a sliver of light between two condominium towers; even a most impressive, expansive, view of the Empire State Building and lower Manhattan from a high rise in midtown. And for offices that didn't have the greatest of views, I was only steps away from such memorable places as Thanksgiving Square in downtown Dallas, New York City's Union Square, Singapore's Chinatown, or Bangkok, Thailand's bustling Plonchit Road and associated side streets---all choked with both street food vendors and vehicle exhaust fumes. Ahhh, those were the days.

Nowadays, my office at the Headquarters Library for the Alachua County Library District looks out through six floor-to-ceiling colonial style windows into the back courtyard of the library. It is a peaceful, quiet, and calming view of flowering bushes, short palms, and creek-side trees with Spanish moss hanging from their branches. I fully open the blinds in my office to let the light flow in, and---because they face north---I can get good, ambient light and avoid the sweltering and harsh, direct light that the southern facing sides of the building get. My office view is the kind one would want to see from their sun room (or as they call their screened-in back porches down here, their "Florida Room"). And since I literally have no view from my own personal residence, my office windows do a lot of making up for that deficiency.

I occasionally wonder which of the many windows were the best I ever had. It's a tough call. But I'd have to say that on views alone, I'd take a serene view of nature like this one any day over the bustling, noisy streets of the big city. This way, I can literally say that I made it over to the other side where the grass is greener.

That being said, however, sometimes I just wished my windows could open.

04 March 2011

Women's History Month Display

A portion of the Women's History Month display arrangement.
March has arrived--literally with marching women! Our third floor alcove display for March features "Women's History Month ~ Women who have made history."

The 116 x 69 inch display area shows women picketing for their rights in the early 1900s. The large photo image was created by printing out and splicing together two 75 x 36 inch large format printouts. The original wording on the largest picket sign was erased and replaced by another printout with the new main theme headline/subhead. 

Additional 8.5x11 inch picket signs were created to show a few specific women who were instrumental in leading movements that promoted women's rights. These were (from left to right): Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Mary Harris "Mother Jones," Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Delores Huerta, and Gloria Steinem. The wooden sticks were also printed out separately and pinned to the large format poster. All the posters were pinned at the top and most left unpinned at the bottom to allow the items to float away from each other a little, adding some dimension to the display.

The large format display poster didn't fill the entire width of the alcove display area, so an additional set of 8.5 x 14 inch pages with a timeline of historical events were printed out and stripped together to create additional picket signs that were placed on both sides of the large poster.
The full alcove display poster is posted above shelving that related books are set on.

02 March 2011

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss

An 8.5x11 inch sign and quarter-page handbills helped advertise the library event.

It's Wednesday, March 2, so you know what that means...right? It's Dr. Seuss' birthday! Okay, I didn't know it myself, but thanks to the librarians who were going to celebrate it with an event, I became better a informed person. And to help them inform others, I created an 8x11 inch sign, a website banner ad, and quarter-page handbills. I heard there was going to be green eggs and ham, so considered going to grab myself a little breakfast there!

The website banner ad.

As the event was finishing up, I dropped by our Story Hour Room. One of the librarians turned to me and exclaimed that their head count revealed 100 people attended. "Good thing they were small people!" I told her. They celebrated by serving cake to all those hungry bodies. I happened to notice that green eggs and ham were conspicuously missing, and so was anyone from the health department—you know, those people who keep tabs on green eggs, ham, and stuff like that.

Library Monthly Event Signs, March 2011

A selection of the 21 designs used to promote library events in March.
March has been designated as--among many other things--National Women's History Month and International Women's History Month. So in order to combine both "national" and "international" designations, I created a set of 21 11x17 inch designs to promote library events in March under the theme tag line of: "Celebrating Inspirational Women In History."

I sourced images from a variety of sources, selected those that were of a high enough resolution quality to enlarge, and worked them into my design. Each branch received their own unique combination set of pages.

Who made the list? Here's the honourees, ranging from ancient times to the modern era:

Rosie the Riveter (used as a nod to "the every-day-woman" in general and more specifically to all those who pitched in during war-time era efforts and beyond), Susan B. Anthony, Catherine the Great, Nefertiti, Sappho, Mother Teresa, Cleopatra, Mae Jemison, Queen Victoria, Queen Elizabeth I, Margaret Thatcher, Madeline Albright, Joan of Arc, Florence Nightingale, Gloria Steinem, Oprah Winfrey, Marie (Madame) Curie.

There were plenty of other exceptional nominees worthy of the inclusion, but I had to stop somewhere. Sorry ladies!

Addendum: Have been receiving very nice feedback on the designs, including this from the Resource Manager of the Library Partnership: 
"WOW!!!!!! I love them….can we just keep you to ourselves over here at the LP…. J"

The Library Partnership's website is: http://redesignfostercare.org/library_partnership/index.htm