31 July 2012

Courses Andy Wished They’d Offered in Library School

Every once in a while I get curious to see if anyone else has any information about graphic design for libraries, and when I do, I go to google.com to input a few select phrases to see what pings back. The results always come back with my Library Marketing Design blog at the top, followed by other websites that include some combination of the words I use, although not in the exact order. 

Today, one of the web pages I previewed while doing my search was a thoughtful entry by Andy Burkhardt at:


Thanks to Andy & others for your generous compliments!
There, Andy discussed his views on some things he'd wished he had the opportunity to learn more about both while studying to become a librarian, as well as once he had become one. He offered a few links that other librarians and marketing agents of library services might like to view too.

I felt compelled to introduce myself to Andy and to thank him for his blog post because it expressed what I often feel about marketing for library events and services: that the responsibility falls on librarians who are inadequately trained to generate high quality level promotions and/or have little physical materials or software expertise to do so. 

Librarians, I hear you! That is why I like to find you and let you know my blog is here to raise awareness about promotional marketing for libraries, to offer examples of work I've done for my own library, and to hopefully provide inspiration, tips, and resourceful information to those interested in creating their own promotional marketing materials.

So I commented on Andy's blog as a way to introduce myself to him and other librarians who might find my blog of interest and use to them. I welcome your readership, your questions, and comments on how I can help you more.

My message to Andy:
Hello Andy,
I’m discovering your entry here about six months after its posting and thank you for your links; I thought they were interesting and valuable. Since your entry is asking about library graphic design and promoting library events, I’d like to invite and welcome you and your colleagues with a link to my blog that is dedicated entirely to the design and development of promotional materials for library events and services. I hope you will find it helpful for generating ideas and in the development of your own promotional materials.
At my blog I give examples of my work as the sole graphic designer for the Alachua County Library District in Gainesville, Florida. I show samples of my work, add some commentary about the project requirements and development of the pieces, mention occasional obstacles encountered, and share production tips, ideas, and where to find helpful resources.
I’m happy to receive comments and to strike up a dialog with librarian staff who might be looking for inspiration, information, and advice.
Thanks for your posting and potential interest to join me over at Library Marketing Design.
Scot Sterling

I didn't include this link in my message to Andy, but had it out to review and offer it as a good resource for current designers and designer "wanna-bes": 

15 July 2012

Library Foundation Marketing Brochure Redesign

The redesigned Foundation brochure exterior.

One day, the president of our library district's Foundation called me to ask if I could send to her an image of a large etched glass partition I had taken a photo of a few months earlier.

Redesigned Foundation brochure interior.
The partition is referred to as the Katherine's Tree, named after a former library patron. The etching is of tree leaves, and donors to the Foundation of a certain monetary level can have their name—or the name of someone for whom they are making the donation for—etched onto an existing leaf motif.

The president went on to explain that a local designer had been in contact with the Foundation to offer his services to redesign their brochure for a modest fee, and that the president wanted to use the image on the brochure. I was happy enough to send her the photograph, but was curious why she was interested to use an independent designer not associated with the library district or foundation to do the work.

Alternative Foundation brochure interior design.
The reason I asked was because in the past I had provided extensive design service for the Foundation when they held a fundraising gala event, and being as the Foundation generously supported the library district, I would have thought it a natural consideration for the Foundation to first inquire about the library's ability and willingness to help them out when possible. I looked at it in terms of helping each other out and keeping the work "in the family" as it were.

Also, considering how we are in a time when budgets are particularly tight and under scrutiny, the library could provide design service for free, rather than have the Foundation spend money on an outside designer. The money they saved could then in turn be put toward the cost of printing...or possibly taking me out to dinner! (just kidding on that option). Either way, I considered that because the library and Foundation were in partnership to serve the same community purpose, we would naturally work together to help each other out when possible.

Old Foundation brochure exterior.
The president liked that idea, so I suggested that she speak with the library director to determine if such an arrangement was possible. She did, and everyone agreed that if I was willing to take on the extra work, that it would be a nice way to help them out.

I met with the president a couple of weeks later to go over her brief and see what she was looking for. She presented me with the most recent Foundation brochure, and an insert that went along with it for filling out and mailing in to become a member. The two would be included into the new brochure design, increasing the size from an 8.5x11 inch trifold page to an 8.5x14 inch quadfold. The old design was created around 2007 and was in need of updating both in content and style. I had seen it before, and agreed that a new concept to accompany the need for updated information provided a good opportunity to give the brochure a fresh look.

Old Foundation brochure interior.
She had already taken an old brochure and marked it up, adding and reducing text in various places to show me how she thought it might be best organized. I came prepared too, with a rough sketch to show her what I was thinking of in terms of concept and supportive imagery. Together, we worked out a plan, and a few weeks later I sent her a couple variations of a sample brochure proof to review and comment on. My samples included the same exterior and two styles of interior--one that featured a very large detail of the Foundation logo, another that featured a close-up shot of a detail of the Katherine's Tree glass etching.

A few weeks later, she sent some additional text and requested some minor content and design revisions. Another round or two of proofs and revisions ensued, then we once everyone was satisfied, I sent her a final proof for the printer, along with the file specifications and contact information for a few local printers. This was so the Foundation could shop around for printing services that suited their needs. They could have a pick of price, paper, turn-around time, and any other incidental services. I anticipated from our conversation that they would opt for a print run of between 5-10 thousand, depending on how they wanted to approach their fiscal spending and any concerns about the potential for future content changes.

I am hopeful that they will be much happier and better served than ever before by their new brochure. I'm looking forward to seeing the results...and maybe that steak dinner too! =)

12 July 2012

Cow Tales Story Hour at the Library Marketing Design

8.5x11 inch sign used MS Word clip art
provided by the librarian.

Cow Tales is a youth services event to be held at our Headquarters library. It will feature stories, rhymes and fun for children ages 11 and under.

The librarian putting the event on wanted some signs and handbills to promote the event. She provided the essential text and a cute clip art illustration from her Microsoft Word clip art selection.

Normally I'm not a big fan of the MS Word clip art library, but this particular image I really liked due to its graphic quality and colour scheme.

I typically I send design proofs to requestors of publicity materials to make sure I have all information correct and to their approval before printing. During the single round of edits for this particular project, the only things that changed was to add a subhead to indicate what "Cow Tales" was, add sponsor logos, and add the time of day that the event would take place.

Quarter page handbills use the same image as
shown on the 8.5x11 inch sign. Library brand logo
was included since it would be used for advertising
outside of the the library property.
I chose a simple Arial Rounded typeface for ease of reading and also because the rounded letter forms have a more juvenile appearance to them compared to more angled versions of the same Arial type family.

The event didn't require too much publicity due to already established event popularity at that time of day. So we only printed eight 8.5x11 inch signs and 80 quarter page handbills for display and distribution.

You may notice a small variation between the sign and handbill design. It has to do with the use of the library brand logo. We have a general rule of thumb for use of our library logo: if a promotional piece posted inside the library, it is not required that the brand logo be used on it. However, if the piece will be circulated outside of the library--for example, at off-site locations such as advertising in publications, or as signs and handbills distributed throughout the community at non-library environments, then we include the library brand logo.