31 May 2011

Library Monthly Event Signs, June 2011

June event posters featured people participating in a variety of outdoor activities.
Now that the rains of April and flowers of May have passed, we move into Summer and encourage people--especially children--to enjoy being outdoors. I developed a series of 10 monthly event calendar signs by sourcing for public domain photos and then applying the June listing of events from each of our 11 branches to one or more of the images. Each branch received its own combination of signs. Eight branches require from one to three pages of these 11x17 inch signs; two branches receive a single 8.5x11 inch scaled down version, and one branch--which has no events due to its small size--doesn't receive a sign at all.

You might think that encouraging people to get outside and away from the library would go against our best interests as a business, but that's not entirely the case. Aside from wanting to encourage well-rounded personal growth that many activities and experiences provide, the library is slowly expanding its services to take place in both the virtual as well as the real world. You don't have to physically walk into the library like you once did to enjoy some of the services the library provides. More and more, library services are being offered via computer, smart phone, and other digital devices. Online websites offer all the essential information to patrons, plus provide accessto virtual databases and downloadable e-books. Our library is even on the cusp of beginning to use QR Codes for directing patrons to information and services. Just take a snapshot of a QR Code with your smart phone and information will be displayed in hand or downloaded to your service (iPhone or Android).

With innovations like these, the library can afford to say: "Hey go on and enjoy the great outdoors. And when you do, remember that the library is closer than ever before, no matter where you go."

21 May 2011

Designer on Display: A View into the Designer's Natural Habitat

Left: a look into the art room at my work station from the hallway. Center: me,
looking outside my window at a visitor. Right: the visitor looking back in at me.
Compared to many people I have a pretty nice office. It's large, open, is pretty comfortable, has pretty much everything I need to produce promotional materials for the library system, and has a nice view to boot. 

It's not only for me, however. The department is open to share with other staff members who may need to use the staff computer or other supplies the art room offers. Some visitors are entirely self-sufficient and start working on whatever they need to do, while others like to bounce an idea off of me in order to explore creative or production ideas. Everyone is free to come and go as they need, and I never know who will stride through "my" door at any time. 

Some days the art room is a veritable hub of activity, filling up with a couple of staff members, volunteers, or even a pre-school tour group. Other times, all you might hear is the clicky-clack of my keyboard as I work alone. Either way. I'm happy to be there.

Due to the arrangement of furniture in my office, it hasn't gone unnoticed that many people know me better from the view of the back of my head rather than the front of it. My door has a slender glass window in it that allows people in the hallway to look in as they pass by--completely unknown to me because I'm usually busy working on my computer, looking in the same direction they are. Occasionally, I'll meet someone who'll say "it's nice to finally meet you and to know what you look like from the front"...and we have a good chuckle over it. It reminds me though of how we used to look at animals in the zoo from the other side of a glass pane--only now I'm the one on display. Now, visitors could "watch the designer in his natural habitat."

One morning this week when I came to work, I entered my office, started booting up equipment, and went around the room opening up all my floor-to-ceiling blinds as I customarily do. While opening the last blind, I saw a young cat standing with his paws up on the window sill looking through the window at my legs. I leaned over the top of the office desk in front of me and peered down to see the cat looking up at me. We exchanged looks--both curious as cats--wondering what each other was doing on the other side. Then, we both went back about our business.

I couldn't help but to think: at least we got to see each other from the front side this time!

The art room and design department. Top left: a look at my work station. 
Top, middle: looking along the length of the large work table toward the far end of the art room. 
Top right: the stash of paper sheets and rolls. Bottom left: the supply cabinets and general 
staff computer station. Bottom, middle: looking back over the work table toward the computer 
and printer area. Bottom right: the Ellis press and letter blocks for cutting out letters.

19 May 2011

TowerTab Thank You Cards

The TowerTab group needed an identity mark developed for promoting future events.
Our Tower Road branch library has an ongoing series of events for teens called TowerTab. They wanted to promote a new season of events, but when I looked for their group identity mark to place on an upcoming flyer, I discovered they didn't even have a logo to call their own. After discovering this, I called the librarian in charge of programming these events and suggested that before she promoted TowerTAB events, she might be well served by having an identity mark that could be consistently used on all promotional items and become easily recognizable to the public. 

The 34x23 inch card design (with trim notch indicated).
She ask that I develop an identity that used the word "TowerTAB" with other words--something akin to a "word cloud"--inset into the TowerTAB letterforms. I developed that idea and found that words running horizontally through narrow, vertical "windows" just didn't work so well. You couldn't see enough of any of the horizontal words for them to have any meaning, so I decided to change the idea around and reverse "TowerTAB" out of a "tab" shape of colour that had the horizontal word cloud imprinted as a shade of that same background colour. The result allowed the word cloud to be a little more readable and incorporated a nice visual of a tab to reinforce the emphasized letters "TAB" in the group name (see image at right).

The librarian liked it, so with that step out of the way we could move forward with one of the first event items of business, which was to create a thank you card that event participants could sign and present to a company that helped provide food for the event. The librarian had seen what I had done for another series of events, PrimeTime Family Reading, where I created 34x23 inch posters that I mounted on foam core board and tucked into giant, handmade envelopes. These poster-sized cards would have language on them thanking the event sponsors and leave plenty of space for event attendees to sign their names, then present it to the sponsor. She liked that idea and asked if I could do the same for the TowerTAB event. I of course said yes. After mounting it on the foam core board, I cut notches into the upper corners to follow the edge of the tab shape and further reinforce it.

The small card for mailing re-created the signed large card.
She also asked if I could make a second card, one that was more of a standard size that could be sent by mail to the corporate office. I said that we could, and suggested that instead of having people sign two separate cards and risk the possibility that some people might sign one and not the other, perhaps she let everyone sign the large card then take a photo of it for me to scale down to the smaller size. She agreed, and sent me the photo by email a few days after the event.

When I received the photo, it was fairly well taken, but the colours of the card weren't the same and the sharpness of the shot was a little out of focus. I decided to use the original artwork design and fit the photo image into the white center space of it to re-create the smaller scale card (see image above). That worked out quite nicely, and everyone was happy with the result.

16 May 2011

Author Event: Vanessa Davis

The 45x45 inch display poster.
Comics illustrator Vanessa Davis will be coming to the Headquarters library to speak about her work and give a workshop on comics illustration. To promote her event, I used images from her website portfolio, as well as a border from enlarging a texture background, to create and print/trim 200 quarter page handbills (shown below) and one large 45x45 inch display poster (above). 

Before I even had the chance to get it out of the design department to hang on the wall, someone asked if they could have the poster after the event. I said I always give first dibs to the featured author since it is their event, but if not wanted, it would be fair game for the taking.
An 8.5x11 inch page contained four quarter-page handbills for printing/trimming to size.

Parents Count Workshop

Clockwise from upper right: a quarter-page handbill, 
a newspaper print ad, a web ad, and an 8.5x11 sign.
A few local and national organizations helped provide support for the Parents Count Workshops series held at the Headquarters Library in May. The series focused on nutrition. For kids, you can't go wrong with Sesame Street!

Production included:
1 web ad
10 8.5x11 inch signs
80 quarter-page handbills

Micanopy Library Re-Opening Sign & Invitation

The announcement sign.
The ACLD Micanopy branch library was renovated in the early months of 2011. After construction was completed and all the new furniture and shelving was installed a "Grand Re-Opening" took place. With the new decor involving a nature theme and green colour scheme palette, I created an 8.5x11 inch sign and  quarter-page postcard sized invitations that evoked a potential scene from the library's nearby Paines Prairie. I used an Adobe Illustrator icon of an egret I had on CD, as well as a sun shape, then repurposed and modified grass from an earlier work I created for a different event the year before.

In all, 200 signs and invitations each were printed/trimmed in-house, then 75 programs were printed/trimmed for use on-site at the event.
An 8.5x11 inch page printed on two sides contained four postcard-sized invitations.
When I emailed the concept to the librarian at Micanopy, she sent back her reply below (the text copied directly out of her email, styled just this way):

BEAUTIFUL DESIGN!!!  I LOVE IT!!!                          

Children's Book Week Promotional Items

May 2-8 was Children's Book Week. The Children's Book Council contracted an illustrator to create artwork for it and made the resulting artwork available to member libraries. This saved me a lot of time from having to make my own custom creation, and I was quickly able to apply the visual to (counter clockwise from left to right): 8.5x11 inch signs, quarter-page handbills, a web ad, and a website blog icon.

Library Monthly Event Signs, May 2011

As a follow-up to last month's "April Showers" monthly event signs, I completed the phrase visually with a series for "Brings May's Flowers." Each library branch received their own combination of signs that list May's recurring and special events. Above are a few of my favourites. Over 22 total signs were created and distributed.