27 January 2012

Dinosaur & Fossil Books at the Library Brochure

Exterior side of the booklist brochure.
The Alachua County Library District has teamed up with the Florida Museum of Natural History to promote the museum's exhibit Crusin' the Fossil Freeway. The library will be making available materials from its collection and wanted a brochure to distribute to the public. The resulting Dinosaur and Fossil Books booklist tri-fold brochure was created to highlight some of the reading materials on both dinosaurs and fossils.

On a first design concept I presented, I used images of dinosaurs, but the librarian then asked for images relating more to fossils, so I re-sourced online for dinosaur bones and fossils and located a few  offered for public domain use. I reworked the images to take out the backgrounds so they would stand alone as silhouettes, allowing text to wrap around the images.

I also sourced online for free fonts that looked like bones and found a few to try out. For the cover headline, I used a bones font for the word "Fossil." For the word "Dinosaur" I set a horror type face to outline, then imported the texture of a dinosaur skin into it. Inside the brochure, I colour-coded the book names to differentiate between the fossils (brown fonts) and the dinosaurs (green fonts). The result provided a simple and clean design that was visually appealing and easy to read for people of all ages.

500 copies were printed out-of-house on a basic 70lb white paper stock and distributed among the libraries within the district.
Interior side of booklist brochure.

25 January 2012

U.S. Citizenship Test Web Banner

Simple web banner image for website display.
One of our branch libraries helps community members study for their U.S. Citizenship test. They wanted a web banner for our website to let people know such a service was offered, so I whipped up a simple graphic that could be supported by a caption line underneath with all the additional details.

 It took a while to find, but I eventually located a straight-on image of an American flag to use as a background. Next, I used a second piece of clip art that showed a selection of people standing together, and imported it overtop the flag. 

Originally, I was going to keep the silhouette people the solid black they were found as, but after placing it over the flag, I was intrigued with the idea of knocking back the translucency of it to be 50% opaque. To me, this could be interpreted as as a visual message of "being 50% here...living in the U.S., but not fully citizens, somewhat a demographic in the shadows, and yet emerging out of it to become fully recognized as citizens." It was simple, yet could have a message intertwined into it, if one was so inclined to assign it one. 

Either way, I was happy to have done it. Within the past year I've had two friends take their U.S. Citizenship test and pass...one from Thailand, and one from China. The Chinese friend I actually spent about eight weeks helping him to study by drilling him twice a week and giving him whatever backstory to the answers I could. He said it helped him a lot and along the way, I re-learned many things myself. Once he was ready, my wife and I drove with him an hour and a half to the testing center to support him as he received his certificate. We were all very happy for him and proud of his efforts, so doing a little web banner--simple as it was--had a special meaning to me.

A Psychic Design for a Medieval Tarot Card Reader

The event sign design was "written in the cards."
In late January, our town celebrates with a medieval festival. It gives the Library a community event that we can build off of for a few events of our own. One thing our youth services department does is display medieval themed constructions of castles, shields, tapestries and the like from a local school contest. 

Another interesting thing they did this year is to have one of our librarians offer tarot card readings. She really knows how to do it from years of experience, so it wasn't like we just plopped some random novice down on a chair and said "okay, get crackin'...make up some interesting story about these cards as you flip them over! No one will ever know!" No, not us. Our reader—we call her Madame Psyche—gave 30 readings during her library event. And even though it was a youth services event, she said most of the interested people were adults. Well, that would make sense to me anyway.

To publicize this event, the youth department only requested a design for an 8.5x11 inch sign, 10 copies to be printed out. I went sourcing for images that had a medieval flair...shields, castles, helmets, flags, and tapestries. I ended up finding a nice tapestry with a unicorn posing over some shields, surrounded by a simple border of vines and shields. I blocked out the inner illustration of the unicorn so that I'd have a flat colour background to lay text over, then added a deck of tarot cards with a few sample cards splayed out in front of the deck. I styled the event text in some hand tooled/hand generated fonts and sent the concept on for approval. I couldn't resist to add my own little clever tagline: Your attendance is already written in the cards.

Not long after, I heard back via email from the requesting staff person that it was approved for print. A few minutes later, a second email came in, this one from Madame Psyche herself. She said she loved it, and in fact, had the very same deck of cards I chose to use for the sign and would use them for the event. 

Now, how's that for "psychic designing"? J

01 January 2012

Happy New Year Predictions at the Library

Happy New Year 2012 to everyone! Last year for the new year we asked visitors what their new year resolutions were. We had a great response from visitors and look forward to another round of interactive participation this year. To change it up for this year, however, we're asking what everyone's predictions are for the new year. We'll be asking them on our library Facebook page (www.facebook.com/alachuacountylibrary) and at the Headquarters Library, where our alcove displays a large format poster of a crystal ball, among other interesting things. 

On the book shelf beneath the poster, visitors are encouraged to fill out Post-It notes and place them directly onto the image of a large crystal ball in the center of the poster. The poster also provides a definition of what a prediction is, as well as some suggested reading from our collection of books. Viewers are even primed with a selection of potential our own predictions...from the serious to the downright silly. We look forward to everyone's response and will be updating a library blog post with all the results (and saving them to read again at the end of the year!).

This large format poster at 116x72 inches was printed out in-house in two 116x36 inch sections, then stripped together using double stick tape. Images are a mix of clip art and photographs provided from a variety of sources.

Picture of the display after installation. Post-It notes with viewer predictions
already began accumulating in the crystal ball.

Detail of where patrons have added their predictions into the crystal ball.
A few more days after this shot, Post-Its spread up into the headline
and covered the wooden base.