30 June 2011

Download Audiobooks, eBooks & More Poster

The 68x44 inch reference desk area display poster promotes the library's OverDrive database service.
In conjunction with our summer theme on travel and technology, and our QR code launch, our July reference area display board will highlight one of our database resources, OverDrive. You can download eBooks, audiobooks, music and video from OverDrive to your PC, Mac, eReader or portable device. OverDrive continues to improve and add apps for mobile devices, including iPad, iPhone, Android and others. You can find out more about it at overdrive.aclib.us.

This large format poster is 68x44 inches. However, my in-house large format printer--a Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 800--is only 36 inches wide. So in order to create the full sized poster, I have to print the image out in two horizontal strips, then tape the top and bottom halves together. It works out pretty well, considering the logistics and cost savings of using an outside printer.

Arrg! Printer drippage!
What doesn't work very well, however, is printing for some weeks after I have replaced the ink heads. For some reason, the black ink drops excess puddles anywhere it wants to while it is printing--mostly along the outer margins of the page where the inker stops and reverses directions--but not always. The droplets of ink don't immediately dry either, and they end up getting on the receiver bed of the printer; on other sections of the print as it rolls against itself or the now-stained receiver bed; on my fingers and clothes if I'm not careful. It's not a very happy scene in the art room during these moments.

So when I'm printing a really long poster and am doing well, then get a big ink blotch on in the last foot, it is particularly annoying. I can live with it spilling ink in a place that would be easy to print out as a detail patch, but if an ink blot is out in the open, it is much more noticeable and annoying. It's such a waste of expensive materials. Do I reprint the entire thing again, knowing I'll most likely get new drops in new places? Or do I try to print out a detail portion to patch it with? Strategy, strategy. Time for a little creative "knifing" to see if I can salvage the two strips by piecing together length-wise, and also making use of whatever remaining detail areas that might serve the piece well.

General concept and supportive text was developed by the display librarian and myself; images came from the OverDrive vendor. QR codes provided during the QR code signage exercise. Quantity: 1 (thank goodness, considering the ink mess).

27 June 2011

Library Bookmobile Schedule Update, 2011

Two older bookmobile brochures (left and center) provided factual 
and concept material for a redesigned version (right).
Our library has two bookmobiles that deliver over 50,000 library materials to patrons annually within the county. The service had been working on updating its route schedule since February 2011 and was in need of a simple brochure that could be passed out to patrons at the locations they visited. The last brochure cited 20 in-city stops and 8 county stops. The new brochure would need to indicate 22 in-city stops and 6 county stops.

Top: Brochure exterior. Bottom: Brochure interior.
The bookmobile manager provided me with a copy of our most current, 2009 schedule for reference, and an even earlier brochure from 1980 that used a message "Save Gas" as a great reason to enjoy the services of the bookmobile. I pulled elements from each brochure to incorporate into my redesign. I would have loved to use a profile view knock-out of the bookmobile, but none existed. If a more extensive set of promotions had been required, I would have requested a special photo shoot for the vehicles. But as it was, this assignment was only for a black/white brochure. So I used what I had, which were images with busy backgrounds, showing the vehicle in slight perspective angles. I showed the newest, most graphically decorated bookmobile exterior and raised the contrast levels of each shot slightly to give the images a crisper appearance than the original photos offered.

The design development was handled entirely in-house, but because a print run of 1,500 copies was requested, services of an outside printer were preferred in order to save wear and tear on our office copier. In order to save on printing costs,the bookmobile department chose to use for this 2-sided brochure a 1-colour black/white quad-fold design (three folds for four panels).

The department was eager to get brochures in the hands of patrons but still had some route schedule changes to finalize, so I printed out 100 copies in-house to tide them over until final changes could be made and the balance of prints could be produced by the outside printer. We made the final revisions the next week and sent them on to the printer.

Left: Bookmobile department concept. Right: Design department deliverable.
Piggy-backing on the request for this new brochure was an additional request: to create an outdoor yard sign that could be placed at the street corner near where the bookmobile would be parked. The purpose of this sign would be to catch the attention of vehicular and pedestrian traffic that passed by, alerting them of the presence and availability of the nearby bookmobile which would also be visible from the sign. 

A strip of signs lay on the production table waiting
to be trimmed after emerging from the laminator.
On left is what I received from the department to consider. I made some modifications--as seen on right--to reduce the number of words so that a shorter, faster-read message could be digested from passing traffic, essential words could be enlarged, typographically styled for more impact, and accentuated with bold, eye-catching colours for the most important and perhaps most enticing words (Bookmobile, Today, and FREE). 

With their approval, I printed, laminated, and double-side tapped it to an inexpensive, plastic-coated corrugated yard sign purchased from Lowe's hardware. 
Total signs required: 7.

23 June 2011

QR Codes in the Library

The "What is?" 20x30 inch sign introduces the library's new QR code service to patrons.
Our library is set to roll out its first stage of QR Code services. "What is a QR code?" you may be asking. Basically, a QR code is a special barcode. When scanned by smart phones (you take a picture of the QR code with your smart phone), the code delivers content back to the phone, such as websites, applications, and information.

Our library mobile website/app officially launches on July 1 and is already featured in the latest issue of ACLD’s THINK…,  now online here: http://www.aclib.us/about/blog/think-newsletter-and-summer-program-guide . The app is called LibraryAnywhere, but most users will consider it to be ACLD’s “mobile site.” For an overview of why adding this service is important for libraries, read Why Worry about Mobile? . It will reveal some very interesting trends in mobile phone versus desktop computer usage and quite potentially its relevance to why libraries should be thinking about both its consumer impact and relevance to services their library offers.

Information about the library's new QR code program is
described in the Summer issue of THINK... newsletter. 
To introduce our newest eBranch services to patrons, I developed a few print items, the first being a 20x30 inch sign that will sit on an easel in a prominent area. The sign displays a large QR Code and asks the increasingly popular question: "What is a QR Code?" The answer is provided and additional QR codes on the sign offer the opportunity to be scanned to show examples of the kinds of places codes can take smart phone users. 

After that, two 8.5x11 inch signs placed at reference desk areas announce that they provide Contact information. Not to leave out those without smart phones, a website address is printed directly under the word "CONTACT" for their reference.

Further into the library, attached to bookshelves are 4x5.25 inch signs that encourage patrons to scan the QR codes on the sign to "DOWNLOAD" the necessary apps that allow them to read materials on their smart phone. 

A 3x4 inch mini sign saying "SEARCH" will be placed near interesting items inside the library that can also be accessed online by simply scanning the QR code on the sign. Patrons could open up the library website to place a book on hold, look for related materials, download ebook or audio book, be directed to a video--a variety of possibilities exist.

And to help us gauge their interest and participation in our QR code efforts, one additional 3x4 sign, "LIKE", can be used to scan. When scanned, it will take users to our Facebook web page where they can then provide feedback comments to the library staff.

Each sign maintains a consistent format, utilizing a dominant, scannable QR code, a single instructive action word ("contact," "search," etc), website URL under the actionable word for those who don't have a smart phone to refer to, a small icon associated to the actionable word, a solid colour border that matches the background of the icon colour, and our library branding.

A colour-coded system of signs appear throughout 
the library for smart phone users.
To kick off the exercise, the following quantities were printed, laminated for durability, and trimmed to size:
What is?: 1x 20x30 inch sign
CONTACT: 5x each of two different 8.5x11 inch signs
DOWNLOAD: 30 each of both the Android and iPhone version signs
SEARCH: 40x 3x4 inch mini signs
LIKE: 20x 3x4 inch mini signs
Left: 8.5x11 inch sheets of mini signs after they came out of the large laminator.
Right: hand-trimming out the 90+ mini signs after laminating.

22 June 2011

Library Summer Reading Program, 2011

A 96x36 inch display board poster was created to use as a route map for participants
to move their button-sized vehicles across while tracking their reading progress.
Summer is here, the kids are out of school needing something interesting to keep them occupied, and parents can keep them both entertained and/or learning by coming to the library. One of the biggest draws we have every summer is the Summer Reading Program. This basically consists of getting kids to read as much as they can, upwards of 200 books or more if possible (if I had to read 200 books in three months time, they'd sure have to be pretty thin ones! But truth be known, I doubt I could even pull off reading 200 articles by then).

Front view of the credit card sized reader punch card (to be
 stamped or initialed by a librarian after completion of reading a book).
Requests for publicity materials for the Summer Reading Program have been rather copious. To date, I've created the following items:

1x newspaper black/white ad 
1x magazine black/white ad
1x magazine colour ad
1x newsletter colour ad
1x 2-sided wallet-sized frequent reader punch card (with map picture of Gainesville area)
1x 96x36 inch large format display poster
50x random supporting images of travel vehicles developed for the large format display poster
1x 8.5x11 inch colour flyers (24 printed in-house)
2x 2-sided 8x2.5 inch colour bookmarks, sharing the same back image (3,500 printed off-site)
6x webslide web ads

With the exception of a map I used for the frequent reader punch card, all other images were commissioned and offered by The American Library Association (ALA) to association members. The layouts, modification, and combinations of these images were chosen by myself during the design process to suit the needs of our local branches.
Left to right: colour magazine ad, 8.5x11 inch flyer, reader punch card (top right),
and fronts and back of two bookmarks.

21 June 2011

THINK... Library Newsletter / Program Guide, Summer 2011

I was holding off to publish this entry until the distribution date of 1 July, but people can't wait to get their hands on this issue, so I'm posting it early. Librarians have been dropping by the design department to ask me when it is going to be available; patrons have been asking them when to expect it, eager to find out what's happening for summer. I've had my finger poised over the push buttons on my desk phone, itching to pester the printer about it myself! And for good reason: we've certainly got a lot going on, that's for sure!

If you can't get your hands on one of our 2,000 printed copies, you can conveniently view and download a .pdf version of it here, on our library website: http://www.aclib.us/about/blog/think-newsletter-and-summer-program-guide 

The Library website page where you can download the
current issue of THINK... newsletter / program guide.
This summer edition of THINK... revolves around the theme of technology and mobility. Our library is harnessing the power of newly created technologies to expand our services, be more convenient, and stay right at the tips of your fingers where ever you go, whenever you want us. As the website puts it: "Everybody seems to be on the go this time of year. Now you can take the Library with you!

The latest issue of the Library's THINK... newsletter includes information about our new mobile website app, which is available for any browser, visible via an Android and iPhone/iPad app. Our website also provide details about mobile apps from OverDrive (our downloadable eBooks and eAudiobooks), MasterFILE (magazine articles from EBSCOhost), and World Book (encyclopedia). Handy QR codes provide another convenience for users of mobile devices. It's not just about digital devices. There's much more. Be sure to check out all the great summer events for kids and teens, and other special summer programming."

The design work for this publication began in May and went to the printer in mid-June. Besides my part in developing the creative and production-end of the 12-page document, it also takes the efforts of all our branch librarians to enter their events into our online calendar, plus authors who are in-the-know about the theme-supporting subjects to write informative brief articles about our services, in order to pull it all together. Everyone's timely contributions help to keep the project on schedule--and even ahead of it sometimes--as was the case for this issue. I was very impressed and relieved I didn't have to carry my big stick around with me to chase after everyone for their stuff. So my hat's off to them all for making this the smoothest production I've had yet on it!

Images for the newsletter came from a variety of sources ranging from already existing clip art, and newly created images of signs, to public domain photography and provided vendor marketing kit images, to even taking an in-house cell phone shot of another cell phone taking a picture of a computer screen. The typographic style remains consistent from issue-to-issue, as do most of the other design elements. The cover captured both the technology and travel themes by virtue first of the nameplate with the computer motherboard background, and then the large photo of the woman laying on the beach with her cell phone balanced on her ear as she relaxed. On the back cover, a "guy on-the-go" reinforced the idea that wherever you go, the library can go with you.

I've heard interesting statistics lately about how our "through-door" patronage had dropped slightly over the past year, but that it had been more than bolstered by the "virtual patronage" figures that made up for it considerably--evidence that library services are in just as much--if not more--demand than ever. A surprising revelation, considering that when I go out into our library public spaces, I more often than not witness that every single chair in our library is being sat on by somebody.

Juneteenth Poster, 2011

The Juneteenth promotional items made use of
the Juneteenth flag and a background image
of the Emancipation Proclamation.
Our Library Partnership branch held their annual Juneteenth Celebration last week and asked for a variety of visuals to promote it with. The exercise included a website webslide and blog image, 500 quarter-page handbills, 30 11x17 inch signs, and two different large format 20x30 signs--one to announce the event line-up of performers and one to thank participating vendors.

Each of the items made use of the same visual: a sepia-toned emancipation proclamation document with a modified Juneteenth flag overlapping the center portion of the proclamation so that text details about the event could be written on it. Clever Alert!: And just by sheer luck (that's my story, and I'm sticking with it) the star landed right on Abraham Lincoln's face. Any clever socio-political implications that might be associated with that arrangement, I'll leave up to the viewers.

More importantly to me, not everyone is familiar with the history and symbolism of Juneteenth and it's flag, so I included a few short descriptive lines around the flag's star:

"The Juneteenth flag is a symbol that gives all Americans the opportunity to recognize    American freedom and African American History." 
"The Juneteenth symbol represents the star of Texas bursting with new freedom throughout the land, over a new horizon."
"The Juneteenth celebration represents a new freedom, a new people, and a new star."

The following morning after the event, our headquarters librarian stuck his head in my office door to thank me again for all my help with creating the promotional materials and added that they had over 500 people in attendance--not including all the performers and vendors. Not a bad turn-out, I'd say!

18 June 2011

Facilities Warning Signs

Small warning labels created to hang
on pipes that facilities may encounter.
Our Headquarters Library branch has been undergoing a internal renovation recently. I say "internal" because what is being renovated is our air conditioning system, and for the most part, all the components of that system are hidden away in the miles of ducts, pipes and electrical systems that are hidden above our heads in the drop ceilings. The old hydraulic system is being converted into an electronic one, and that means our crack facilities team is on the job tearing out and rebuilding the behemoth that the aging system has become over the past few decades.

That brings us to my office: the design department / art room. My room is perhaps the most unique office space in the building, cobbled together over the years by knocking out an original exterior wall to create a lunch room, then divided up to create two offices, then torn apart again to create one large office, and a series of mix-n-match patchwork environmental systems to support each of those evolutions. Above my head in the drop ceiling is a tangle of pipe work like you've never seen in your lifetime (nor would want to). It is the bane of the average facilities worker's existence.

So when the facilities team worked their way to my office, they warned me in advance: "this ain't gonna be pretty." Oh, I believed it without hesitation, having seen one after another of them climb up ladders and the shelving on more than one occasion to tinker and fight with whatever entanglement is up in that ceiling.

So for the past two weeks, I've had a variety of itterations of the following scene in my office, accompanied by the jovial commeraderie of our great facilities team members. After a week or so, one of the guys asked if I could make some small labels that they could attach to a variety of pipes, indicating that they were too hot or not sturdy enough to grab, step on, or use as leverage. They wanted two signs, 20 each for the time-being, approximately 2 inches tall by whatever the length would be, determined by the words and height. I created the labels above and added the iconic black and yellow alternating angled construction stripes to it to help make it more noticeable, then laminated them after printing. They said they were perfect for what they needed. Now if I can just get them to clear on out of my garage...er...office!

Work on converting the AC system turned the art room into the "garage."

17 June 2011

Library Website Banner Ads, June 2011

Every week I create anywhere from three to eight website banner ads for our library home page--which we refer to as "webslides" because they appear one after another in five second intervals on a rotating basis much like a revolving slide show. Some of the webslides I created this month are shown here. You can see the latest ones shown here: www.aclib.us

In the past, our public relations / marketing director would select events she would like to promote via webslide and create most herself unless it was more expedient for me to create a particular one. She already had a lot on her schedule as it was, so I made sure she knew I was willing to help create webslides too if she felt overwhelmed. "No, this is the fun stuff," she'd say. It was her creative outlet, so I didn't fuss over it. Besides, it helped me out as well.

Before she left in May, she worked up a production schedule for creation of webslides that would take us through June. Now with that time coming to an end and with no additional events selected for webslide promotion, I'll just pick up the slack and do the choosing myself until her future replacement can take back the responsibility. It won't be too much of a stretch for me; I work with the advance event schedules while producing the monthly event signs and THINK..., the 4x a year newsletter / program guide that covers all the branch events.

Typically, we can read an overview of all the events published in the Events section of our website ( www.aclib.us/events ) to get the gist of what an event is about. To get an image for the webslide, I'll often send an email to whomever is organizing that event to find out if an associated image already exists that we can use, or if I need to locate one myself--usually relying on domain free images culled from a variety of sources, if needed. Once a suitable image is decided on, all I need to do is to add the name of the event to the ad. I'll create the webslide using one or any combination of Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and/or InDesignUnderneath the image on the website, a caption will provide all the event details. 

Some recurring events already have webslides created in the past that we can re-use; newer recurring events and one-off special events require new webslides to be made. Not every event gets a webslide; we have only up to eight available rotational slots in our slide viewer and we generally let those slides stay up for an entire week.

08 June 2011

Library Services Poster: Help Through Tough Times & Tight Budgets

A 20x30 inch poster reminder.
Nobody needs reminding that it's been a couple of tough years for many people. But one thing that some people may need a reminder about every once in a while relates to some of the services, products, and facilities the library has to offer the community to help reduce their burden and them get ahead--especially in tough times.

Many people who use the library regularly may not need this reminder, but for those of us who are more casual users, or focus our attentions on other limited areas of the library, can certainly benefit from it. 

Aside from what patrons traditionally expect from the library such as books, periodicals, and video offerings, the library also offers mobile library services to more remote areas that would otherwise create a long trip to patrons. Job hunters and people seeking other organizational and institutional aid fill our libraries every day to use our stationary stations and laptop computers--or even bring their own--to gain access to the internet. We also offer database and other electronic services, such as JobNow! and E-Government. Some branches even hold basic computer skills classes to help those who have little experience using a computer or need help using certain software programs.

The best thing about all the offerings is that they are all free...and what with the economic squeeze on our personal budgets, these all help to relieve some of the burden that many people may have.

To remind patrons, I was asked to create a 20x30 inch poster that promoted these services. I used a large background photo of the inside of our Headquarters Library and placed images for each of the services over a translucent, white background that partially covered the photo, leaving the uncovered outer edge to work as a border. Included, the library website address reminded visitors where more information about these services can be found.

02 June 2011

Author Event: Mindy Seegal Abovitz

Top: 45x45 inch display poster. Middle: Quarter-page handbill. Bottom: Web ad.
Mindy Seegal Abovitz, drummer as well as founder and editor of Tom Tom Magazine: the only magazine about female drummers, will be speaking at the Headquarters Library branch, June 4, 2011. 

To help promote this event, I was asked to create the following promotional materials: 
2 newspaper advertisements
1 website ad
1 large format 45x45 inch display poster
200 quarter page handbills

Abovitz provided with a logo for Tom Tom Magazine, and two shots of herself posed as if drumming. Both shots of her, however, showed her sitting at a dark, poorly lit drum set wearing black or dark pants and tank top; her long, dark hair hung down over her face, completely hiding it. I think it's fair to say that few people would recognize that this was a woman--let alone Abovitz. Even better lit drums would have helped to communicate that it was about drumming. 

I decided to use the supplied visuals for the print ads but not for the in-house related promotions. Instead, I sourced for public domain drums and found a couple I liked. I settled on one and used it as the largest element. I used the speaker-provided images as support visuals. Because the large drum and support visuals left little and irregularly shaped open spaces, I kept the language information simple and clean, although I did overlay a semi-transparent lettering "TOM  TOM" on either side of Abovitz's profile photo of to add a little more texture and subliminal messaging to the poster. Below is how it framed out in the display on site. As with most displays, books associated to the speaker event are set out nearby to reinforce the topic and for patrons check out if interested.

On a production note, I should point out that the maximum measurement of my large format printer is 36 inches, so in order to create the 45x45 inch poster, I have to print the poster image out twice--positioned once high, then a second time low--after which I trim them out and strip the two together with double-sided tape.

The 45x45 inch display poster on site in the Headquarters Library.