Happy New Year!
We’re back in the studio and it’s the time of year when we are all taking a little time to reflect on the previous 12 months, and consider just some of things we’d like to achieve in the year ahead. The practice of religiously making ‘resolutions’ at midnight doesn’t quite work for me (I’m not sure how many times I have said that I will start running), but I do like setting an overall goal for the year. Now, I didn’t do this amongst the bubbles and fireworks this year, instead, I happened to start in December with my Year of Learning. I think it’s very easy to get into a habit of doing what you know you can do, rather than trying something new, and I’m not the only one who believes that “complacency breeds no innovation“. This year, I am actively learning. I kick-started things by finding new lettering techniques on Skillshare and adding some more design titles to my bookshelf, all of which has led me to look at some fantastic brand identities for libraries around the world.
The Friday Five #2 –
Library brand identity design
Hovedbiblioteket by Hvas & Hannibal
The children’s department of Copenhagen’s Central Library was in need of a new visual identity, in an attempt to encourage children to explore the physical learning spaces in an age of digital technology. Denmark design studio, Hvas & Hannibal, created B&U – a playful brand with a completely modular icon system. Reminiscent of tangrams and ‘build-a-face’ games, children – and adults alike – can play around with the system “creating stories and characters of their own”. As well as encouraging play and creativity, this concept allows the identity to continuously grow and be adapted for a variety of different applications.
Vicente Aleixandre Library by Txell Gràcia
Colour and typography play a big part in this bold new brand identity for the Vicente Aleixandre Library in Badia del Vallès, Spain. The starting point is a contemporary monogram that stands out from the more traditional institution designs. The angular shapes that make up the logo allow for a simple, yet effective graphic to be used throughout various applications, including posters, banners, way-finding window decals and architectural details. This is a great way of using a single shape to create a cohesive brand identity across print, digital and live environments.
New York Public Library by Marc Blaustein
After over 25 years, the New York Public Library had a rebrand in which they moved from their very regal lion profile, to a much more contemporary icon. Designed in-house and art-directed by Marc Blaustein, the new logo keeps all its original elements – the lion, circle and name – but they have been modernised for use in both print and digital formats. The previous logo, with its serif typeface and detailed illustration, had significant legibility problems when viewed at smaller sizes and kept the library firmly in the past. Based on the iconic statues that flank the library entrance (Fortitude and Patience), the new design instantly updates the library brand with “a logo that is user-friendly, accessible, dynamic and relevant”.
Stadsbiblioteket Göteborg by Aoki
Taking a modern approach to a classic literary symbol, Aoki has created a brand identity that I really love. The monochromatic logo cleverly uses a collection of book spines to house the name of the library – both a bold and simple design choice. This allows for the icon to be stacked and shelved into a repeat pattern, and it’s here that colour is introduced, appearing throughout the rest of the marketing and promotional materials.
Jejkowicach Public Library by Natalia Bilska
This award-winning project by Natalia Bilska is a glowing example of a successful brand identity that uses iconography and colour at the heart of its design. This is something that has featured heavily across designs in this post, which makes sense as it serves as a way to inject personality into a public sector that is often seen as somewhat old-fashioned in today’s technically-advanced world. Here, Natalia has taken inspiration from the layered geometric logo and designed a complete collection of bespoke icons. These can be seen on all aspects of the brand, from corporate stationery and signage, to wall-decals and library cards. A worthy winner of first place in a contest organised by the Polish Association of Applied Graphic Designers and Library Development Program.