21 October 2012

National Friends of the Library Celebration 2012 Marketing Designs

Above diagram shows a large range of collaterals used to promote the celebration.
Descriptions of numbered itemization portion appears at end of this blog entry.
The ALA collaterals sold for promotional purposes.
October 21-27 marks the nationally celebrated Friends of the Library Appreciation Week. The American Library Association describes it as: "Friends of Libraries groups have their very own national week of celebration! ALTAFF will coordinate the seventh annual National Friends of Libraries Week Oct. 21-27, 2012. The celebration offers a two-fold opportunity to celebrate Friends. Use the time to creatively promote your group in the community, to raise awareness, and to promote membership. This is also an excellent opportunity for your library and Board of Trustees to recognize the Friends for their help and support of the library."  You can read more about the celebration here: http://www.ala.org/united/events_conferences/folweek.

Event identity mark.

The ALA offered libraries nation-wide the opportunity to purchase a package of pre-designed promotional marketing materials for libraries to use to promote the national celebration. For the Alachua County Library District, however, the decision was made to develop their own in order to focus more intimately on its own local FOL group. This would require an entirely different design direction.

The first task was to develop an identity mark for the celebration. The design elements of the mark would become  the base design that would drive additional works required for communications and promotion. I had only a couple of hours to explore potential solutions because we already knew we wanted to order pens and wearable buttons to pass out as souvenirs. Production time would take about two weeks and we were already up against that deadline.

An 8.5x11 inch sign demonstrates the primary design
elements used throughout the promotional campaign.
My initial concept was influenced by the notion that this was a national American celebration, so naturally I would be looking to develop something with a red, white, and blue sensibility to it. Additionally, the fact that a presidential election was in high gear at this same time also played into my thinking. I was inspired by the classic "I LIKE IKE" convention button and created one that read "I LIKE FOL." Everything about the button—including the typography— looked the same except the letters were changed. 

Unfortunately, I was asked to come up with a new concept, so, faced with the design of a button first that had content requirements of using our local Friends of the Library logo along with the phrase "Celebrate Our Friends of the Library with Us!" I placed the existing FOL logo under a circular arch that went from one side of the tree to the other. Reversed out of the arch was the required phrase, and as as the arching circle continued under the tree, I added three hearts to fill in the empty space below the FOL logo. This design was accepted and became the base identity that would be applied to other marketing collaterals.

A 45x45 inch large format display poster is flanked by secondary
support visuals of silhouette books and faux polaroids.

Two other pieces needed to be quickly made: an 8.5x11 and a 11x17 sign that would contain varying messages depending on their use. I needed another visual element to compliment the approved identity. I remembered I had used the silhouette of an open book on monthly event calendars for a while, but found the curve of the pages not to my liking, so I created a new book silhouette and used that shape to contain reversed out text of the required messages. 

This silhouette would also become a common design element used on many of the collaterals required to promote the week of celebration, such as decorative elements that contained quotes by famous people, FOL factoids, or library messages.

I wanted the visual appearance of the signs to both have a classic, established quality to them as well as a modern, common quality. To achieve this, I combined an Adobe Garamond italic and small cap style along with an Arial font family mix. 

Requests for primary and support design projects began rolling in. Signs, posters, print and online advertisements, event decorations, certificates, a multi-paged binded presentation booklet, even a slide show. In all, I had over 30 unique items to create within in three weeks—all the while balancing those creations with other promotional projects in the works. The diagram at the top of this blog entry demonstrates the wide range of projects undertaken for this event; a list of those projects are detailed by type and quantity printed at the end of this entry.

Thank you notes and photos of scholarship recipients
were displayed on large format posters as well as
on pages of bound presentation booklets.
Each branch library was supplied with copies of the 8.5x11 and 11x17 inch signs, as well as book silhouettes containing a variety of quotes. They used them in any way they wanted, along with any additional elements they desired to create their own larger posters and bulletin board displays. Photographs of these were then taken to collate together into a bound booklet to be presented to FOL members.

In addition to the library branch display photos, notes of thanks from recipients of scholarships provided by the FOL were also combined together to add pages to the presentation booklet. These same notes, along with photos of the respective recipients were then repurposed into three large posters that would hang on the wall at a midday event at the event for the public and invited guests to attend.

The booklet would also contain photos representing some of the many library projects the FOL supported, as well as a certificate of appreciation. This same certificate would be printed to present to the library's four different FOL organizations, as well as copies made for each branch library to display.

A diorama for Technical Services thanked FOL
 for creating and supporting a popular CD/DVD
movie collection, and in doing so became a
"show stopper" in its own right. 
Perhaps the most ambitious design project was a diorama, conceived by Technical Services Librarian Linda Norris, who envisioned turning a simple card board box into a cinema to highlight her department's appreciation for FOL contributions and support towards creation of the library's very popular movie CD/DVD collection. 

Linda and I worked a few minutes here and there during the next two weeks to fabricate the vision. I started first with sourcing and printing images of brick walls, asphalt, tile floors, theatre screens and curtains, threatre chairs, and scanned/modified a retro photograph of moviegoers wearing 3-D glasses to tape to the surface of the box. Next, a portion of the back of the box was cut away to allow the back image of the movie screen to be illuminated from behind by a flashlight. Old CDs, lamination film, and cardboard "frames" were used to create panels to display the CDs as "Now Showing" and "Coming Soon" attractions. A chandelier was fashioned out of earrings, crowd control ropes were made out of red rope and cotter pins, and even a red carpet over the tile entryway floor added touches of sophistication to the environment. Full height photos of Linda and a few of her colleagues were taken, printed at a reduced scale, taped to poster board, then cut out to become standing figurines that could be placed anywhere around the diorama. And lastly, faux commonly phrased industry quotes and attributions about moviegoing were superimposed over the backs of audience chairs to reflect positive sentiments about the FOL. 

Technical Services Librarian Linda Norris stands with her diorama.
I had been told even before the diorama had left the design department to be viewed by a greater audience that it had become quite the talk of the library among staff members. Even the library director caught a sneak peek of it and suggested that it be set on display somewhere after the FOL Appreciation Event. For everyone who saw it, I hope they all enjoyed it—if not at the October 21 Friends of the Library Appreciation Event, then perhaps wherever the diorama might travel to on its next stop of what could potentially become a tour of show stops all its own.

The Tally (quantity printed):
01. Invitation/Handbill (800) 
02. Bookmark (2,000)
03. 8.5x11 Inch Signs (16)
04. Cake Top Image (1)
05. Event Program (150)
06. Home Page Website Banner Ad (1)
07. 10x10.5 Inch Print Advert (1)
08. 10x10.5 Inch Print Advert Table Top Sign (2)
09. 4x4 Foot Partnership Branch Library Display Poster (1)
10. 21x28 Inch Lobby Poster
11. 48x48 Inch Podium Display Poster (1)
12. Website Blog Icon(1)
13. Wearable 2 Inch Button (1)
14. 7x2 Inch Colour Print Advert (1)
15. 11x17 Inch Signs (14)
16. Presentation Booklet Binder (32 pages each; 
      23 booklets printed in-house, 250 printed via outside vendor)
17. 16x20 Inch Scholarship Thank You Poster (1)
18. Gainesville FOL Certificates (12)
19. Other Municipality FOL Certificates (3)
20. 35x43 Inch Scholarship Thank You Posters (2)
21. 3.25x3.75 Inch Black/White Print Advert (1)
22. Tech Services Cinema Diorama (1 box, 13+ images)
23. 45x45 Inch Headquarters Library Publicity Display Poster (1) 
24. Table Top Wire Decoration Polaroids (8)
25. 8.5x11 Inch Book Silhouette Quotes (5)
26. PowerPoint Slideshow Pages (12)
27. Decorative Book Hang Tags (12)
28. Book Decoration Factoids (144)

Not shown:
Website Blog Page Image (1)
Scholarship Thank You Table Toppers (3)
Writing Pen

Oh, and don't forget that at the same time all this was being done, I was also working on an additional 57 projects from October 1 to October 19!

19 October 2012

Marketing Designs for Author Lauren Groff Library Event

A 45x45 inch large format poster in a main traffic way of the library announces the author event. 

Author Lauren Groff visited the Alachua County Library District in October. I have to thank her for providing high resolution images that allowed for good reproduction, most notably for use on a large format poster scale.

Fabrication of the 45x45 inch large format poster required splicing
two separate prints together using double sided tape. The incomplete
second poster portion above the completed one shows the line where I
cut one of the posters to lay over the other in order to hide the cut.
Groff provided a high resolution black and white image of herself, as well as a nicely designed cover image of her book, Arcadia. To compliment the two, I sourced for a nice image that I was able to use a detail portion of to use as a background.

I began my design exercise with development of a 45x45 inch large format display poster. For the promotional marketing event materials, I used the three photo images and typography that mimicked the fonts used on her book. As a finishing touch, introduced a small cartouche under her name to add a small, delicate detail to play off the curly flourish that sprouted from the apex of the capital "A" on her book title.

The completed 45x45 inch display poster.
Once the poster design was approved, I could continue with the remaining collaterals. I scaled the poster down to become quarter page handbills, and used a a strong horizontal section of her book cover with stylized text for an online web banner. 

On the 8.5x11 inch page I was using for printing the handbills, I had a little excess unused space, so instead of wasting the paper I took the opportunity to create a complementary bookmark, taking the right side section of the poster/handbill design for use as the bookmark. 

Lastly, the poster/handbill design was used as a small 3.25 inch square black/white print advertisement. The colour conversion turned out quite nicely, avoiding any potential muddiness between the typography and the background images. 

Taken as a set, the large format poster, the handbill, the bookmark, the print ad, and the web banner all maintained a cohesive visual presentation that held together, thanks to the strong imagery and consistent typographical use. 

Trimming handbills and bookmarks out of an 8.5x11 inch page.
Total yield:
1x 45x45 inch large format poster
1x online web banner
1x black/white print ad
25x bookmarks
200x handbills

17 October 2012

Library Recruitment Job Fair Poster Designs

Four posters derived from Welcome Brochure styling and coupled with
visuals from the employee recruitment campaign worked together to promote
an increased effort to develop consistent brand elements for the library.
A representative of our library needed marketing materials to display at a local job fair and asked what we had to offer. Aside from the usual pens, pencils, magnets and such take-away chotskies, we only had a selection of collection and service brochures and handouts to offer. Unfortunately, our newly redesigned welcome brochure was still in the process of being finalized and printed, so it was unavailable at the time.

On site photo shows posters as used
in the folding presentation display.

The job fair would have been a prime venue to have offered welcome brochures, but in lieu of them, I suggested we utilize the design esthetics of the welcome brochure and incorporate those elements in with our recently developed employee recruitment effort, the "I Am The Library" campaign. Combining elements of each together could build a visual bridge between the two projects and strength the message that everyone is welcome, and that "you too can be a part of the library."

The vehicle for delivery of that message would be in the form of a four panel presentation display that could be set on top of a table. On each 18x24 inch panel of the display, a poster could be placed to identify potential job titles for job seekers, to provide a general message and website address directing seekers where to keep an eye out for such openings, and to present the testimonials of current staff members about why they like being a part of the organization. Independently as well as collectively, the posters would work to introduce the library in short, succinct ways to active browsers as they passed by in a crowded, bustling environment. 

People pass by the display at the job fair, providing a sense of scale
to the display. At this distance, poster text is easily read.
As it has increasingly become, the production window for the project required a quick turnaround. Text and visuals were created, vetted, and posters printed for assimilation in only a couple of days time. The result was a simple and modestly sophisticated presentation that brought attention to itself through the use of large visual elements on bold backgrounds related to our print, online, and television recruitment campaign and the branding design elements put forth through the welcome brochure and other promotional marketing templates available to all branch staff.

15 October 2012

Library Marketing Templates... = Design “Magic”?

Above, the full range of monthly event sign template sets. Each branch library received
four coloured choices to select from for display of their monthly calendar of events.
For branches that required two sizes of signs, a template set for each size was created.
Unbelievably, I've been away from Library Graphic Design since the middle of August. Now, here it is the middle of October. Believe me, it hasn't been because of lack of work to show. No, quite the opposite in fact. In the 21 days of work immediately after my last post I'd completed 97+ projects and had more pouring in by the day. In the month of September, I tread the proverbial waters with over 80 projects in the works, and in October over 90 projects were in production (and only a count of projects, not including components of projects, for which one example is shown above).

This kind of project quantity has led to the discussion of how such a level can be sustained without burning out the single designer generating the creative for it. One of the more palatable options was to put the power into the hands of people wanting publicity materials when the designer could do no more. By this I mean create basic document templates that any staff member could use to expound upon to develop specific marketing materials when those items could get by without requiring the creative skills a designer. 

The template is a document that places important, standard elements into a format that becomes the base design that should be maintained for purposes of brand consistency and recognition from one project to the next. Having these standard elements already in place diminishes the chance that they will be inadvertently left off by the subsequent user of the document, while leaving room where users can place whatever additional elements they want in order to make each project unique.
One set of branded marketing materials for one of the 12 branch libraries
shows the uniformity of design that carries through from (left to right):
11x17 inch sign, 8.5x11 inch sign, quarter page handbills, and book cards.

To make these templates available to all staff, however, means the designer overseeing consistent brand development first has to create them. And in order to develop the entire complement of no less than eight branded documents specific to each of the 12-branch library system, 204 individual final documents had to be delivered to the branches. And in order to do that, the full process involved creation of 612 separate files. So initially, the effort to reduce work overload ironically actually significantly contributed to a work overload. Few people realize this is the process required as part of a holistic branding effort by the designer to provide the one or two materials that any single individual user might utilize on the rare occasion they need it.
This example demonstrates how one 8.5x11 inch page 
renders three book cards for one of the 12 branch libraries.

Once in place, however, one hopes these templates will be used by the non-design staff to help reduce work primarily done by the designer. It also gives people who perceive a template as meaning the work is virtually finished and "all you have to do is..." an opportunity to experience and appreciate first-hand for themselves what that "all" actually involves in the remaining development of project. The "magic" patina of a template will quickly wear off to reveal the reality of the remaining content development, information/presentation judgment, and production work left to be done before it reaches the hands of the public consumer.
This example shows how one 8.5x11 inch page renders four
quarter page handbills using the branded design template.

In my case, the process of developing branded marketing materials involves creating each design using the layout program InDesign, then saving the work as an image and importing it into a Microsoft Publisher layout. Creating the branded content as an image helps remove the possibility that it would be altered—or worse, left off the marketing piece entirely. The collective group of documents are then placed in folders on an intranet server for the appropriate branch staff to have access to. And if someone accidentally deletes or otherwise mucks up a document, I can redistribute a copy of the master document that I retain.

The drawback to releasing templates to non-design staff is that quality control is significantly diminished. Templates rely on others at every possible level of technical experience and visual savvy to exercise good judgement on the quality and quantity of visuals and information presented on the documents. Rarely would these documents be submitted to the design department for review and comment. Instead, the materials would simply appear wherever they are locally created and corporate brand managers would just have to hope for the best.

After the fact, perhaps there could be opportunity for review and give advice, but it is unlikely since these items would rarely be sent to the marketing department unless otherwise requested or required as part of the process. This would be a decision left to a marketing manager to decide on its importance for publicity and brand management. Additionally, with an ever-changing workforce, educating staff who might potentially create marketing materials would become a never-ending exercise in itself that still couldn't guarantee premium results. It would also replace the workload of one kind with the workload of another, which wouldn't necessarily provide the solution initially sought (to reduce the workload of the designer). At that point, the designer would effectively become a design manager—an additional role and scope of work not initially accounted for.

At least with the branded content consistently formatted from one piece to another, this treatment will aid in building brand recognition and provide actionable information (contact information and website address) for viewers to refer to whenever unique design and information is unclear.