20 July 2013

Library Children's Area Renovation Grand Opening Invitation, Program, and Web Banner

Completed event invitation shows front and interior pop-up sides.
Exterior illustration went fully around the back and included the library logo.
First attempts to work out mechanics of the invitation folding and
integrated design relationship with the program are shown here.
In July the Alachua County Library District's Headquarters Library celebrated completion of a "rejuvination" (coined by me to play off the word "juvenile") of its Children's Area. A new coat of paint covered walls, new carpeting hit the floor, a colourful selection of new furniture livened up the space, collection stacks and the librarian station were upgraded and repositioned, and to top it all off, a decorative wall mural and set design was built to surround columns to create a "Snuggle Up" center.

I knew as far back as March that an event would be held to celebrate the completion, but it wasn't until May that I even had an idea what was being proposed for the decorative set design. The date of the event wasn't confirmed until only three weeks before it was to take place, and confirmation of speakers at the event not confirmed until the two days before the event. It is precisely because of this kind of lag in event planning and execution that a smart, pro-active designer needs to be able to work in advance as much as possible in order to have a design concept approved and project files prepared and essentially ready to go--save for whatever eleventh hour changes in language might be required. That way, making a few last minute changes won't be as big an issue as trying to start the entire set of collaterals would be. 

Showing use of artist renderings on
the invitation (front) and program (behind).
Once I was able to get my hands on a pencil rendering of the proposed set design, I began to develop a general concept for an invitation and event program. The plan was to either use the pencil renderings as the only artwork on the event collaterals or to use them in combination with photos of the finished spaces in a "before and after" style. Eventually, due to the lack of time between completion of set construction and the celebration event date, I went with rendering art only as the style. 

A highlight of the architectural decoration was to dress four vertical posts with free-form elements cut out of plastic Tyvek or a similar material. These elements were then mounted to the columns and ceiling to create a "tree," complete with leaves and even a tree house for one of the children's book characters. I used this architectural feature as inspiration for the event invitation, choosing to make a pop-up card out of the rendering of the planned set design. 

Program front (top) and back (above) continue use of the
artist renderings and introduce colour in a symbolic nod
to its completion.
It took a number of trials before I could work out the perfect placement of the art on the page in order for a fold to work out well. I would print on both sides of 110lb card stock, fold in half and use an x-acto blade to cut sections of part of the page to enable me to fold it in the opposite direction of the folding card page so that when opened, a shape would be created that emulated the shape of one of the set design columns. I liked that I was able to use the artist's rough concept rendering of the planned work because I felt it lent itself well to an unpolished, child-like quality children could relate to well. It took a number of trials (the variety of attempts shown in the photo) to position the artwork on both sides of the page and the mechanics of the cuts and folds before I could get the pop-up to work out perfectly.

The program was much easier to execute. It was a flat half page front/back card stock, featuring a new artist rendering of the column on the front side, then the same invitation front rendering shown again on the back side of the program, introducing a couple of colours on back to emphasize the column and differentiate it from its associated hanging features. Adding colour to the artwork was to symbolize its completion since taking a photograph of the finished construction wasn't possible in order to  print the program in time for the event.

To round out the promotional collaterals, two website banners were made for announcing the approaching celebration event and later a more generic one to reinforce the newly refreshed space were made. This is where the "before-and-after" visuals were finally put to use.

Two website banners announce the celebration event (top)
and ongoing reminder of its rejuvinated status (above). 
In all, project requirements 
included printing, trimming
die-cutting and folding of 
300 invitations, 
100 programs,
and two web banners. 

Photos taken of the construction phases and of the celebration event can be found on the library's Flickr account at www.flickr.com/acld.

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