13 December 2010

THINK... Library Newsletter / Program Guide, Winter 2011

The library (read: the marketing & promotions / design department) produces a 12-page quarterly newsletter/program guide called "THINK..."The inner most four pages are printed in one colour--usually black--and the outer eight pages in full colour.

The guide reports on current and upcoming news, events, programs and information related largely to a common theme. The first issue I produced was for the Autumn 2010 which focused on environmental "green" issues. The following issue for Winter 2011 focused on job search and career building assistance.

Prior to my arrival as the district's graphic designer, this publication was a virtual bouquet of visual elements, apparently trying to squeeze the most out of the department's wealth of fonts and clip art--all in one issue. The menagerie of unrelated visuals reminded me of a grandmother's china cabinet collection of ceramic chotskies.

My goal was to refine the publication by reducing the large number of display fonts in favor of using a set standard of fonts as identified by the corporate identity standards, and by using more contemporary photography, illustration and clip art. The end result aimed to make the publication look more up-to-date, more in step with a sophisticated readership audience, and to polish up the public image of the library district.

In previous issues, the name of the publication itself had not even established a consistent styling, ranging from serif to san serif fonts in different sizes. My first goal was to establish this element as a strong visual. Because I wanted a strong impact, I went with a san serif bold font from the Arial family--a font that was already part of the corporate identity standard. 

Additionally, because the library incorporated the tag line: "...thinking outside the book" I wanted to refer back to that concept by setting the word "THINK" into a rectangular "book" shape, and allowing the ellipsis typographical mark "..." to remain outside of the book, as if to say "Think...outside of the book." The connection between the ellipsis and the box itself would be established by utilizing the same background/interior pattern or image. So for example, if the rectangular "book" had a green leaf in it, an extension of the same image would be captured within the confines of the ellipsis as well. It the box was a solid colour, the ellipsis would share that same box colour.

Serving as an additional accent that could vary from issue-to-issue, a symbol relating to the issue's theme could also be placed above the letter "i" as if it were the dot to that typographical character. I worked up about 20 variations of these nameplate designs to present to my supervisor to show its versatility and appeal. Some boxes used solid colours, some images. Each had it's own "i" dot icon related to a variety of seasonal or social references. Thankfully, it was immediately accepted and approved.

Thinking about what to do with the remaining space adjacent to the THINK...name plate, I chose to create a second "rectangle" composed of text that teased to the interior contents. To differentiate from one teased item to the next, I would vary the text colour, but keep each reference within the same colour family--all blues or all reds for example. This relative consistency would unify the text as a single visual item. And as it worked out, the natural reading flow would read: "THINK...(and then the items to be thought over). In time, I would offer each text reference in different colours that were derived from whatever cover image I used.

With the nameplate worked out, it allowed the largest square area of the cover to be designed as required by the issue's theme.

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