28 March 2012

Library Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon Invitation & Program 2012 Marketing Designs

Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon invitation front / back resembled a seed packet.

Event program front/ back continued the design theme.
The theme for the Alachua County Library District's 2012 volunteer appreciation luncheon centered on growing, and with an environmental horticulture agent as its featured guest speaker, I worked on the concept of promotional collaterals related to seed packet design. 

I submitted about 15 designs for consideration, and from that, developed a final design that would become the basis for applying to 300 invitations, 200 programs, 21 table marker signs, and 21 florist appreciation table tents. 

The design incorporated use of a public domain flower photo, self generated and vector clip art banners and seal, and a detail portion of a commonly used watercolour image of the Headquarters Library. A brand logo finished off two of the design elements. And...Clever Alert! ...in an effort to further resemble a seed packet, I also included a little faux seed packet language of my own, such as my "Latin" version of "volunteerus appreciatus luncheonata" and a small descriptive paragraph on the back of the invitation about this particular "variety" of volunteer. 

Triangular vertical standing table markers
indicated seating arrangements.
I would have liked the invitation to be an actual seed packet, but unfortunately the costing was prohibitive. Instead, the quarter page invitation was placed into an envelope along with a small seed packet that contained a variety of seeds.

Each promotional item was printed on 8.5x11 inch 110lb white card stock, then hand trimmed to size. Table tents and markers were folded for display.

Since real estate on the dining tables is always a premium, I created table markers that folded to form vertical standing triangle columns. The markers indicated which branch or organizational members sat at the various tables, attended by over 160 people.

Table tent front / back acknowledged the florist arrangements.
Small table tents a little larger than business cards were used to acknowledge the florist that donated the table floral arrangements.

27 March 2012

Spring 2012 Library Newsletter Design: THINK...(ing) BIG

Cover of the Spring 2012 issue of the
library newsletter and program guide.
The spring issue of the Alachua County Library District's newsletter and program guide, THINK... is due to arrive 1 April at each of its 12 branch locations as well as select non-library locations throughout Gainesville, Florida. 

The design theme emphasizes all the big things that are happening within the district...big news, big events, big contributions, big deals...you get the big picture! It is a big, bright edition that will take you through spring and into early summer. 

If you are not able to get a printed copy, .pdf versions are conveniently available online here: www.aclib.us/your-library/blog/think-celebrates-big-read-and-big-reasons-visit-your-library . You might also be interested to read about the Library's recent national award honour at: www.aclib.us/your-library/blog/thinkdetails-national-medal-honor which highlights the library district's big achievement of being one of only 10 libraries or museums around the nation to receive the prestigious National Medal for Museum and Library Service from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

Associated television Public Service Announcement image.

19 March 2012

Marketing Designs for Author Kevin Moffett Library Event

45x45 inch large format display poster
In March, the Headquarters Library will host author Kevin Moffitt. Despite receiving a prolific amount of accompanying review text, I felt it was important to include as much of it as possible on the promotional material in order to educate about who Moffett was and what his book might be about in order to generate public interest in the event. Believe it or not, I cut even more than what finally made it onto the collaterals.

Trimming and piecing together two print-outs to
make one 45x45 inch poster.
For the 45x45 inch large format poster, I had to print it out in two sections, then trim out one section and strip it to the other section. To do this, I cut along a straight area along the top of the author's photo to help conceal the cut, then continued my cut line along a round graphic element to also aid in concealing the cut. After cutting was completed, I placed the trimmed section over the other background printed section and double stick taped them together.
Likewise, on the quarter page handbills, I placed the circular dot into my trim area so that when I cut the 8.5x11 inch pages down into quarter pages, a portion of the red dot I didn't want would be trimmed off with the unwanted portion of the edge.

Marketing collaterals included:
1x 45x45 inch large format display poster
1x 8.5x14 inch author bio page
200x Quarter page handbills
1x Newspaper print ad

Left: 8x14 inch sign. Middle: Print ad. Right:quarter page handbills, 4-up to an 8.5x11 inch page.

Marketing Designs for Author Javaka Steptoe Library Event

Left: 8.5x11 inch sign. Right (t-b): web banner ad, bookmark, print ad.

In February, the Headquarters Library hosted an event with children's book author/illustrator, Javaka Steptoe. Steptoe's uses mixed media for his illustration style. It has a terrific tactile, handmade quality to it, so I wanted to reflect that sensibility in with the promotional collaterals announcing his visit. 

I sourced for images of his books his portrait, then combined them with public domain photos of textured surfaces, layering them together for an irregularly shaped presentation. A bold, roughened display typeface was also used to add to the feel of hand generated elements.

Going above and beyond the call of duty, three of our youth services librarians wanted to create a wall display for the event as well. The idea to re-create three of Steptoe's illustrations on a larger scale. Each librarian chose an illustration they liked from his books and worked for a few weeks to piece together own handmade mixed media illustrations. Once all finished, we hung them on a wall together and I added a fourth panel to include an enlarged image of Steptoe and information about the event. It all came together very nicely and everyone was very pleased with the results.

Top & Bottom: staff re-created enlarged versions of Steptoe's work.
Marketing items created through the design department to promote the event included:
40x 8.5x11 inch signs
1x Newspaper print ad
1x Magazine print ad
1x Website banner ad
1x Online press release image
1x 20x30 inch poster
200x Quarter page handbills
1x 37x41 inch display poster
250x Bookmarks

17 March 2012

Now Open: Library Teen Space Marketing Designs

The newly created Teen Space identity.
The Teen Space entrance.
The ACLD Headquarters Library recently unveiled its new Teen Space, an area specifically set aside for teen reading, resources, games, and activities. A section of the library that housed the audio/video collection was renovated to create the space, and once everything was in place, a series of openings were held to announce its availability to the public. The space is large and in a partially enclosed corner of the library to help reduce noise levels drifting into the common reading area. A false wall with a window and doorway with the word "TEEN" serves as its entrance. 

For developing promotional materials, I went to inspect the aesthetics of the room. The colour scheme was gray and blue; the natural wood beams overhead were brown. The lettering on the entrance wall a generic helvetica-esque font. Overall, unremarkable if you don't consider the already existing architecture. I hoped the furniture would breath some life into the space later. But in the meantime, invitations, programs, and website banner ads needed to be made.

I wanted to promote the Teen Space as a vibrant, fun, exciting, teen destination of choice. But I couldn't do that with the existing bland gray and blue colour scheme already in place, so I just decided to boldly venture out on my own and hope for the best. I did, however, take my typographical cue from the entrance font style and would use that as the basis of a modern looking identity mark for the space. 

My first sense was to portray a person holding their arms wide apart in a grand gesture to impart the concept of greeting an open space. I wanted to investigate integrating the figure with a flood of light rays bursting forward from a central source to create a sense of dynamic energy. Fortunately, I knew I already had separate public domain clip art elements that could be combined together to achieve this affect, so I sourced for these and alternative choices to experiment with.
Teen Space Grand Opening event invitation front / back.
I also thought of a way to partially "frame" the illustration/text elements to further impart the idea of a defined space, so I used  typographical brackets set wide apart on either side of the text. This way it could "contain" the illustrative/text identity, yet also remain as an unenclosed space too. The brackets are also used in the library's quarterly newsletter, THINK..., so they also had a connection to additional library iconography already in use.
Teen Space Grand Opening program. Side flaps folded over the back to open out to reveal the event schedule.
A series of website banners were created.
Just as I used the colourful background image to show inside of the brackets on the invitation, I would also have it be contained within the word "Teen." The swirling background would center around the open armed human figure to focus attention on the teen. I worked with all the elements until I came up with positioning and size relationships that looked well as a strikingly colourful, vibrant identity mark. Then I applied the image to the front of a quarter page invitation, and utilized a modified set typographical brackets that included the background colour in them (rather than reversed out of it as it was on the front) for the back side to contain the invitation message.

The same identity image was used for the front of the follow-up promotional piece, the event program. I wanted to continue exploring the connotation of spacial relationships, so I made the program long, then folded two panels over the back to meet together in the middle, allowing them to open outward much in the way french doors would. The panels would display the event date and location, and opening the panels outwards would reveal the program schedule of events displayed inside on the program back.

TV PSA image.
Quarter page handbills, 20x30 inch welcome posters, a television public service announcement image, and a series of website banner ads were also created to promote the openings. Each utilized the Teen Space brand identity, and where possible, the library identity as well. At the grand opening event, the Teen Space identity even appeared as frosting on the cake!

Once the opening ceremonies were past, a rethinking and renaming of the Teen Space tagline would change from "A Space Of Their Own" to "A Space Of Our Own." 
Folding / trimming of the grand opening programs. Print two-sided front / back,
trimmed side excess areas, then folded to fit to back seam before trimming top / bottom
so that back flaps were evenly aligned with the front / back center panel.
The grand opening event even included a cake with the Teen Space identity on it!

Library Rules: Library Conduct Signage Design

A new conduct sign was created in three sizes to be displayed in library environments.
As we all know, the library has always been a place where people could go for reading. In order to do that, a certain amount of ambient quiet has always been encouraged in library settings. Earlier generations of visiting patrons used to be more restrained and considerate about noise. But with the passage of time, the evolution of library services and activities that include much more than readingas well as generational changes in behaviourthe rise in noise has increased in the library setting.

I'm sure few librarians relish the task of enforcing library rules of conduct, but this has fallen upon them as first responders to violations. After that, reinforcements—additional library staff, managers, private security, and even city police are called if needed. Problem behaviour reports are then generated and even no trespassing violations are issued to serious or repeat offenders.

Library staff look for ways to reduce their front-line involvement, as well as a way to validate interjecting themselves into problem behaviour situations. Often, violators will feign not knowing rules exist for simple common sense and courteous behaviours. A way to address this lack of knowledge and to raise awareness about what isn't acceptable public behaviour is by posting rules where patrons will see them.

Unfortunately, when a code of conduct sign is installed, it is all too easy for patrons to not  notice a sign in a location that displays the rules. I can empathize with patrons who might miss seeing such a sign due to the visual assault I see myself when upon walking in to some libraries. There is simply way too much material clutter to take everything all at onceespecially if standing in a room to read all the signs posted everywhere isn't your primary reason for coming to the library.

Whether or not patrons actually see a conduct sign or not, there is no way for library enforcement to guarantee they have. Therefore, librarians request additional signs be placed in all areas where undesirable behaviours occur. Then, when signs are placed there and problem behaviours continue, they ask that the signs be made bigger.

One can easily see where this escalation in signage creation and placement is going and ultimately how ridiculous it will become. Because at the end of the day, no matter how many signs you make, nor how big you make them, there will always be some problem behaviour visitor who will say they didn't see a conduct sign or know the rules (when in fact, it would be almost impossible not to know).

Finding a suitable informational vs. aesthetic balance is always a challenge I face as a designer. Whereas librarians want multiple, large signs conveniently placed within eyesight and an easy finger-pointing distance away for when they have to address behaviourly-challenged patrons, I want fewer and less conspicuous signage that doesn't add to the already volumnous clutter on display in the library environment. I believe that the exercise in behaviour modeling should be in continually educating the public about conduct rules without posting a written message over every available surface of the library. This will undoubtedly continue to be the ever-present debate between first-line responders who must manage patron behaviour, and designers who must manage aesthetics.

The early conduct sign I inherited when arriving at the ACLD.
For our library, no conduct signs had ever been created for consistent district-wide use. The closest that had been developed to date was the "please be considerate" sign which was used in a couple of  libraries. Later, different libraries would request signs with different messages that pertained to specific offending behaviours they wanted to address. This resulted in a variety of ad hok, unrelated new sign designs and sizes, with new language on themnone of which looked like they belonged to the same corporate organization.

After getting requests for more different signs, I asked that the district approve development of a standard sign design that would be used district-wide. The first requirement was to reduce the 33-odd formally identified rules of conduct down to a more manageable top 10 or lessotherwise the sign would either have to be very large and dimensionally impractical, or the text would have to be very small and ineffective for reading. We needed a sign, not a memo.
A conduct sign to address specific single rules.

Next was to develop a simple and recognizable style that utilized the corporate brand elements—logo, type face, colour—one which reflected the corporate identity design sensibilities. I first proposed a sign style (seen right), and later  was asked if I could include pictogram elements to further illustrate each behaviour for quick identification. The result was the sign at the top of this blog post.

The sizes this sign design was applied to include 1): a 20x30 inch large format poster that would be placed in a glass enclosed pedestal display at the entrance of the Headquarters Library; 2) a 5x6 inch small sign that could be wall mounted in a variety of locations in every library; and 3) the same 5x6 inch sign image used as the screen saver on computer monitors.

04 March 2012

Library Event Marketing Design: Keep It Simple

8.5x11 inch sign.

When time is of the essence and a program you want to promote isn't a particularly visual one, often times the best solution is to give more room to the typographical information and less to visuals trying to illustrate the subject matter.

A good example of this was a recent event that addressed how to search for college scholarships. Aside from the event name, location, and time, I thought including the events descriptive text would help pique potential attendee's interests, so I worked it into the design for both an 8.5x11 inch sign as well as quarter page handbills.

Knowing that I was going to attempt to get the descriptive text on such a small space as a handbill meant that I would want to work out my solution on that promotional piece first. If I could get something to work on that item, then I knew for certain it could easily be applied to a larger promotional piece.

Once all the text was in place, I selected and styled a sophisticated font for the essential display information. I then worked out a styling solution for the descriptive text and assessed what kind of room I had left to work with.

Handbill design, four up to one 8.5x11 inch page.
There wasn't much remaining room, so for the illustrative element I considered visuals that had to do with money, paper, and searching tools such as binoculars and magnifying glasses. While sourcing for images, I liked a particular silhouetted magnifying glass and chose to work with that. Because it didn't require being in a boxed in area, I could wrap the essential text elements around it.

For a little enhancement of the message theme, I chose to run a line of typographical dollar symbols behind the magnifying glass, then enlarge them when they passed through the glass lens.

An additional online web banner completed the promotional materials. Because the web banner was smaller in dimension than even the handbill, only showed for five seconds on page, and also made use of a descriptive caption line below it, less text in the art area was necessary. I used the most essential event information and then angled art elements at a slant to make it more dynamic.

Overall, the solutions were an easy and simple. They took minimal time and effort, which resulted in a clean and sophisticated styling of promotional pieces that were better served by not getting bogged down in grander, more complicated illustrative storytelling.
Web banner shows the most essential text elements, and
leaves the finer print details for a (unshown) caption line below.

The full compliment of print and online elements used the promote the event included:

200x quarter page handbills
10x 8.5x11 inch signs
1 website web banner

Repetitive Motion Injuries: Chopping Board Shoulder?

Just one of the many projects that were
hand trimmed using the cutting board.
It seems most professions have some sort of physical repetitive motion injury potential: carpel tunnel syndrome for typists, back pain for heavy lifters, ankle tendonitis for drummers, tennis elbow for tennis players, leg burns for pole dancers, (I suspect). Who knows? For graphic designers--aside from computer keyboard use--I can't think of many other physical things we typically do on such a high volume, repetitive basis. So, just like in every sport or activity, when you don't use certain muscles frequently, they get out of shape. You don't even realize it until a particular project calls upon their use again. 

This is the case when a number a projects I worked on between late January until late February called attention to the topic for me. During that time, I designed a variety of bookmarks, invitations, event programs, and handbills. As I finished printing projects, each required me to trim them by hand, using a manual cutting board. By the time those four weeks passed, my shoulder was telling me it had a pretty good workout. Curious, I tallied up all the cutting I had done, discovering I had cut 2,146 separate items for 13 projects. That was a lot of cutting board paper chopping

And there is still more to do.