30 July 2011

Art In An Hour: Youth Services Web Page

Welcome to another installment of Art In An Hour. In this episode, one of our youth services librarians came into the design department early in the afternoon, asking if I could enlarge a picture of their youth services web page. In her hands she showed me three 8.5x11 inch printouts of different sections of the youth services web page that she had taped together to form one longer sheet--something about the size of a 11x17 inch tabloid-sized sheet of paper. 

"You want it to be this size, or larger?" I asked, then quickly got out ahead of the answer by asking "What are you going to use it for?" She indicated that she was going to give a short talk to two different groups of kids to show them how to find good books using the youth services web page and related links. "About how many people will be looking at this page? Up to 30 all at the same time? Maybe you'd like to have print outs you could hand out to them to refer to while you're talking? Or if not, perhaps you'll need one much bigger poster size image if they're sitting some distance away." 

"Hmm, yes, you're probably right about that," she'd reflect. She wasn't certain how many people she'd be talking to at each discussion, but estimated that it could be anywhere between 10 and 30, all gathered around on chairs or on the floor. It sounded like a job for a bigger image than a 11x17 inch page.

Double-stick taping the image down to its backing board.
"How about this: how about I do screen captures of your webpage, strip them together as a single image in photoshop, and print it about as tall as one of your usual 23x34 inch poster page sheets you clip to a standing easel for your storytime events. It won't be as wide as 23 inches, but we can cover a foam core board with coloured paper, and then lay the long view of the webpage over it. That way, if you need to do this again in the future, you'll have a dedicated board already set up for presentation. If you ever need to use an updated image, we could print out a new image and lay it overtop the older one, or remove the old one and replace it with the new one. And if you don't need to use it again, wrapping the full board for a nice presentation instead of chopping down the board can save it for a future project." She thought that was a terrific idea. 

The finished presentation board: 36x23 inches.
"When do you need it by?" I asked. "Well, the talks are tomorrow morning. I'm sorry, but I just found out today." she replied. "Oh...so that means you need it by by the end of today!" I said, looking at my watch. 3:00pm. Puppy dog eyes looking back at me. "Okay, I better get cracking then!"

I called up the youth webpage on the internet, took a screen capture of it and pasted it into a Photoshop file. Went back to the internet page, scrolled down, and took a second screen capture, then pasted it below the first image in Photoshop. Repeat one last time, crop and save as a single image file, then create an Indesign layout file to actual size and import the image. Print it out to the large format Hewlett-Packard DesignJet 800 while I wrapped the foam core board with a long sheet of coloured  butcher paper. Once the print was finished, trim to size and double-stick tape it down onto the board. Wa-lah! Deliver to the youth services department.

Time: 3:50pm.

"It's perfect!" she exclaimed, happy to see the vision turned into reality. I was happy to see her happy too. I was equally happy that there were no glitches in the process...mis-information, content changes, printer errors or slow printing, ink running out, lack of materials, etc. It's great when the process goes smooth as butter--especially when time is short and there are other projects in production at the same time (which there always are).

Author Event: Sandra Friend

Top: the 45x45 inch display poster. Middle: one of
the quarter page handbills. Bottom: the homepage
web ad/webslide.
The Friends of the Library will sponsor author Sandra Friend's visit to Headquarters Library on 6 August. Publicity requests to the design department for this event were comparably scant at only one internal 45x45 inch display poster, one website/webslide banner ad, and 100 quarter-page handbills (25 8.5x11 inch printed pages). 

An earlier mention of the event occurred on the calendar of the library's quarterly newsletter/program guide, THINK..., however, and was also listed on the library's online calendar as well--although the program title inexplicably changed somewhere in between submission of the two announcements. Whatever the slant, I'm sure she'll still be covering a theme related to Exploring Florida's Outdoors. 

Two visuals were submitted for design development-of the requested collaterals--a portrait of the author, and one of her many book covers--which were then combined in different but related arrangements for each promotional piece.

20 July 2011

Library Event Series: Art For Life

Left: 8.5x11 sign. Right: 8.5x11 page divided into quarter-page handbills.
Art For Life is a monthly series of events our Alachua County branch library will be presenting in collaboration with the University of Florida's Harn Museum of Art. As the sign says, "specially trained docents bring large posters, hands-on objects, music, and photographs into facilities to engage elder citizens. The program offers a 1-hour educational modules based on art from the museum's permanent collection."

The organizing librarian requested signs and handbills be created in Microsoft Word as a template and delivered to her so that she could update the text as new information became available. This was easy to do and allowed for easy sign/handbill generation and delivery by the local branch library staff. The museum provided a print-quality logo, and I selected an eye-catching frame to draw attention to the unique event.

11 July 2011

Harry and the Potters sign (left), handbill (lower right) and web ad (top right).

In anticipation of the last Harry Potter movie, one of our library branches will be hosting a Harry Potter movie marathon in the days leading up to its release; another library branch will have a music band from the state of Maine--named Harry and the Potters--play for us.

I was asked to create a variety of promotional items to promote each event. Fortunately, a lot of HP imagery already existed and was provided, making my work easier.

For the Headquarters library, a general 30x20 poster was created to be compliment other print items in the youth services area. This poster utilized a large background image of the upcoming final movie, with images of the main characters run along the bottom in a strip.

To publicize the music event, the band had already provided 11x17 posters (13 printed) with their imagery on it; all I needed to do was to design a small area of text along the bottom to indicate the event date/time/location.

A portion of the poster design was repurposed to be used as quarter-page handbills (400 printed), as well as a webslide web ad.

The 30x20 inch display poster generated from provided Harry Potter images.

08 July 2011

Featured In Friends of the Library Newsletter

In July I was featured in the Spotlight on Library Staff section of the Getting to Know You page of the Friends of the Library newsletter. Why the new edition coming out in July says "April 2011" on the banner, however, I have no clue.

Also, never mind that I had to write my own write-up; what was important was that although I meet people from the Friends of the Library and the library district branches, in most cases my contact with them is fleeting and in very specific, project-focused meetings that leave little time for getting to know one another more fully. The Spotlight provided a small opportunity for those who might be interested to get a better sense of my past credentials and interests both in and out of the library. It offered an additional "peek" into both professional and personal sides of my life that could be appreciated and a potential source for connecting further with whomever I may come in contact with as I help the library reach out to others.

This FOL newsletter is the last print issue to automatically be sent to recipients without special request; all others can receive electronic copies by emailing a request to folmembership@yahoo.com. Whew! I made it just in the nick of time. I'm in real print.

For the digital divide, however, here's the text as it appeared in the print edition:

Spotlight on Library Staff

Scot Sterling
Position: Graphic Designer, Headquarters Administration
Background: Joined the ACLD staff in July 2010 after volunteering part-time for 18 months at the Headquarters Library.

I've had both typical and atypical connections to libraries: joining summer reading programs as a youth, attending community performances and events as an adult, logging long hours of study and writing research papers for a bachelor degree in visual communications, then later for a professional certificate and continued medical education credits in diagnostic medical ultrasound. As a college student I worked two summers as a book binder at the University of Kansas library; years later I provided professional design services to the national library system of Singapore. Lastly--believe it or not-- my mother even works as a library communications specialist.

My career as a designer has focused on providing visual solutions for promotional marketing and editorial publishing needs. I’ve worked in many creative environments including advertising agencies, branding consultancies, public relations firms, in-house corporate communications departments, consumer and trade newspaper and magazine publishers, and as an independent freelancer.

The diversity of my work has taken me to equally diverse locations, including Kansas, Texas, New York, Florida, Singapore, and Bangkok, Thailand. While in Singapore, I served as creative director of a branding consultancy that provided design services for the National Library Board--the corporate entity that governs Singapore's entire library system. While there, I helped to define NLB's corporate and retail branding strategies, develop internal and external communications vehicles, and implement display and directional signage for the then 22-branch system which included one national library, three regional libraries, and 18 community libraries.

In my time away from the library, I share down-time with my wife, Sirima. In May 2011, we returned from Thailand where we act as stewards of the family estate. There, we renovated and expanded the family house, and prepared to plant an orchard of 420 rubber trees for future investment. Later, an additional 5,180 trees may be planted, pending acquisition of another property near our home. In time I suspect I’ll be visiting the village school library too; I just donated my old college English dictionary to it.

07 July 2011

Author Event: John Darnielle

The 45x45 large format poster.
Author John Darielle will be speaking at Headquarters Library on 12 July about his most recent book, Masters of Reality.

To promote this event, the only item requested was the in-house 45x45 inch display poster. Since the large format printer only prints a maximum of 36 inches, I printed it out in two strips and pieced them together with double-stick tape.

Aside from the essential event information, I like to make it a point to include some background information on the author. This is because not everyone knows who a visiting author is and can't always get a sense of what their book is about unless it is quite obvious. If I hadn't dug a little deeper into the press information, I wouldn't have realized that Darnielle's book shares the same title as a song or album produced by the music group, Black Sabbath, and that the book is part of a continuum of books written for a series of books named 33-1/3.

For anyone not familiar with the author's work or the topic in which he covered, I thought including mention of it would prove useful for catching the eye and attention of people who would otherwise not give the event a second thought (and most likely also not make any effort on their own to find it if it wasn't placed right under their noses).

01 July 2011

Library Monthly Event Signs, July 2011

July's event signs featured images of people combining travel with technology.
Summer is upon us. School is out, families are on vacation, people are more on-the-go than ever during this time of the year. This doesn't mean that while you're away you'll be unable to visit your library, however, because we have been developing our ability to come with you wherever you may be or go. 

Our summer issue of THINK... newsletter / program guide reported on the library's use of apps for mobile devices that can provide convenient virtual services to patrons both in and out of the physical library. A couple of the images used in that issue were repurposed and used for this month's event signs, and supplemented with two additional ones. Each image features a person using their mobile device (i.e. a smart phone) to stay in touch with the library as they traveled. To help direct the viewer's eye to the technology aspect of the image, a "doughnut-shape" was made around the smart phone, allowing that area to be shown with complete clarity, and having the bulk of the ring thickness serve as a ghosted background to help text on the sign be read more legibly from the rest of the image. I really like the fact that these signs are posted about the same time that the THINK... newsletter is distributed, as well as the QR code signs. Each element compliments and reinforces the other, making the association between travel and technology at the library all the more powerful.

Due to the differing number of events each branch has, each received its own custom event sign or multiple combination of thereof. The images above show the full complement of images, and for four different branches of our 11-library strong district. In all, 22 event signs were distributed to the branches. Most branches receive 11x17 inch tabloid sized signs as shown above; two branches with fewer events receive 8.5x11 inch signs.