23 November 2012

Library Grand [Re-]Opening Invitation & Program Marketing Designs

Event program front.
My how time flies. Back in late June through September our Headquarters library was constructing a room inside our largest open public space where most of our collections are. The room was to become a "quiet reading room" and was in response to patron comments asking for such a space. 

The library wanted to hold a grand opening to celebrate the room's completion and I was tasked with the creation of an invitation to mail out two weeks prior to the event as well as a program for the day of the event. That was fine, but by the time design development needed to take place in order to be completed in time to send invitations outthe room construction was still unfinished and the furniture that had been ordered for it still had yet to arrive. 

I was also informed that the game plan had changed; the event would now not only be for the grand opening of the quiet reading room, but would also incorporate a grand "re-opening" of the third and main floor of the library since a variety of "sprucing up projects" had also taken place on the floor, such as recarpeting, repainting the interior walls, refurnishing with new patron computer stations, and the like.

Event program back.

There was a small technicality I couldn't get out of my head, however. The library never actually closed for renovations or redecorating, so calling it a "re-opening" seemed like a bit of a misnomer to me. Nevertheless, that is what they wanted to bill it as. I decided to place the "re-" in brackets to signify their relevance and as an alternative to using quote or parentheses marks. I also added colour the lettering to bring emphasis to and differentiate it from the "grand opening" segment of the event title to call attention to what the "re-" actually referred to: the rededication of old spaces recently "refreshed, renewed, revealed" as opposed to the entirely new quiet reading room.

I took photos of the room while it was being constructed on a couple of different occasions, but it invariably had a variety of construction gear and/or transient shelving temporarily stored in the room no matter when I came. By itself, the room also wasn't much to look at no matter what angle I showed it at, so, without a finished room nor any interior decor to use for identifiable imagery on the invitation and program, I looked for other options. 

I began work developing a blue print concept, but I considered this concept too freshly similar to a grand opening we had for one of our new branch librares only nine months earlier. It also looked too unsophisticated for what I would rather show. I preferred instead to investigate other opportunities and settled on some of the existing, unique architectural and interior furnishing features of the building. 

Invitation front.
Invitation back.
I started by taking photos of some nice, large dome lights, with the notion of using the old tried-and-true "the lights are on/we're open for business" approach. I also shot a selection of the library's large wooden ceiling beams used throughout the large public space. Finally, I set my sights on the centerpiece of these beams that criss-crossed high overhead in the large room. The structure was so tall that to get a full length shot of it would require me to stand very far away—thus making the structure very tiny in larger photo—or, to take a shot of it at an angle where I could foreshorten the entire view of it. I ended up laying on my back on the floor near its base, shooting up at it and the skylights that shined down onto it from above to capture a wonderful illumination from the very early morning light. The actual light was much darker than seen on the final image; thanks to the miracle of photoshop I was able to significantly lighten and adjust image contrast globally to bring out the warm hues of the wood tones without completely blowing out details in the light fixture or skylight areas.

The long vertical orientation of the photo would work perfect for the half page layout I would use for the program, but wouldn't work for the invitation in its entirety, so I took the shot with that in mind so I could use a detailed portion of the overall image that focused on a large lighting fixture as a key feature, playing on the "light on/we're open for business" concept mentioned above. Once I had the detail image where I wanted it on the invitation, I duplicated a very small portion of the larger image and laid it overtop part of the letter "P" to show the rod—which supported the light fixture—pass through the hole of the letter form. I also came up with a tagline to clarify why the "'RE-" was highlighted in a different colour than the white lettering (it used a pale tan taken from the nearby wood). "A re-dedication" was really what I would have considered the event, if it weren't for the brand new quiet reading room component. The event was really a blend of dedicating two featured aspects: the new room as part of a renovation, and the newly refreshed areas in the same public space. Either way, I was bringing attention to the "re-" aspect of the overall effort.

A last few items helped to assist promote the event. These included a home website page banner, a 23x34 inch poster that would be installed into a freestanding post, and the rendering of a new floor plan map that identified locations of the collections that could be found on that floor. Each invitation and program were individually trimmed out by hand to ensure no unprinted white paper excess appeared around the image area.

A new floor plan was created by scanning an old
floor plan, then recreating it by redrawing all the
exterior walls and a few select interior ones.
In all, the project tally included:
235 Invitations
75 Programs
100 Floor plan maps
1 Freestanding 23x24 inch lobby poster
1 Web banner

21 November 2012

FOL Appreciation Week Diorama Display Design

From concept to completion: a cardboard box is transformed into a classic cinema.
Top: mapping out the surface coverage.
Bottom: the illuminated movie screen.
My earlier post covering creative work done for the National Friends of the Library Appreciation Week 2012 touched briefly on a diorama display. Due to its uniqueness, I thought it deserved a closer look, so here's my nod to a project that doesn't come along every day...a three dimensional diorama from the library technical services department that went on display at an event to thank our Friends of the Library organization. 

Librarian Linda Norris came to me with an idea to create a small tabletop display. She wanted to convert a medium sized cardboard box into a small movie theater and asked if I could help her with the creation of it. I thought it was a fun and unique project to add to the many other projects our branch libraries were using to thank the FOL group. While discussing the concept, I sketched out a basic rough of what I understood would be our goal: to find images we could use to cover the box interior and exterior surfaces, and to develop presentation frames on the outside flaps that could contain old DVDs to act as movie poster announcements for coming attractions. 
Three interior images include
(top) installation of large prints
onto wall and floor surfaces;
(middle) a red carpet made of
felt laid overtop a marbled
lobby floor image; (bottom) a
thick red string and cotter pins
set into a foam core board
wrapped with black paper served
as a rope barrier for crowd control. 

Linda provided a black and white printed image of vintage movie-goers wearing 3D glasses which I scanned, then colourized the lenses to be magenta and cyan. Another image of theatre seating I used to type faux versions of commonly over-used critic statements I modified to refer to the library's affections for the FOL. The rest of the wall and floor images I sourced for online, then printed to size using our office copier and large format printer. To give the diorama a little more life and to help identify what library department was giving their thanks, I suggested Linda recruit some of her colleagues to have their photos taken so we could use them as theatre visitors coming to see the show. She liked that idea, so I photographed them in a variety of casual poses and printed them at a scale I thought would be favourable to the boxed environment (roughly 9 to 10 inches each).

Once I had all the surface photos printed to size, the first thing I did was to lay what would be the movie scree/red curtain image on the back side of the box to mark with a stick pin where the corners of the white movie screen would be. Afterwards, I cut that portion of the box away to leave a hole in the bottom of the box. This would enable me to lay the screen/curtain image on the inside back wall of the box so that later we could place a flashlight behind the box to project a light onto the paper covering the hole to illuminate the screen. Once that image was secured into the box, the rest of the box wall and floor images were quickly attached using a few short pulls of double stick tape.

Top left: video DVDs were sandwiched between a 
yellow background mounted on cardboard backing 
and a cardboard frame that used a layer of 
transparent laminator film to act as side panels 
advertising some of the library's movie selection.
Meanwhile, Linda fashioned a rope line using a thick red length of cord and cotter pins, then wrapped a length of cardboard with black paper to sink the pins into so they could stand upright. After that was complete, she worked on cutting out and colouring with a black marker two cardboard poster "frames" to lay on top of printed images stating "Coming Soon" and "Now Showing." Between the paper images and the frames, she tacked down with double stick tape a selection of movie DVDs and a layer of laminator film that I had run through the laminator to make hard. The film would act as the "window" for each of the poster frames. Next, a strip of felt fabric was cut and laid on the bottom marble tile "lobby floor" flap to act as a red carpet runway. As a finishing touch to the now classically inspired movie house, a chandelier was created by combining a selection of jewelry and other mixed media objects donated by other staff members.

While Linda was working out all those details, I was busy trimming out the figurines, double stick taping them to poster board, and cutting out a square of foam core board for each to stand on. This part presented a challenge for us, because the figurines stood tall enough to become top-heavy and tip over when standing them up on foam core board slabs. Eventually, Linda was able to get a few sheets of flat plastic that I broke down to size and double stick taped to the base of the foam core boards to add weight to the base so the figurines wouldn't tip over any longer. I cut a slit into the foam core board base and tucked in a tab of excess poster board left remaining under the feet of the figurines when they were cut out. I added a small movie ticket to the hand of each figurine, taped a couple of movie posters to the sides of the exterior walls, and considered it finished!

Audience creation involved a
photo shoot of staff, printing at a
reduced size, trimming out
silhouettes, and fabricating a
base to stand the figurines with.
Tickets in the hands of movie-goers, an 
illuminated movie screen, and an old poster 
curling away from the wall show how some of 
the small details came together to create a 
unique environment for the diorama display.