By: Meg4 Nov 2010
This is a quick post on a topic I intend to write about in more detail later.
So, it has long seemed to me that it would be useful to have a library logo. Nothing fancy, but something that we could consistently use on print and electronic materials and eventually perhaps on library swag to indicate that the guide/event/service/etc. is sponsored and provided by the Library and its staff. Sure, we could in theory achieve this by including this detail in the text of a poster or research guide, but something that stands apart and is recognizable at a glance should be even more effective. We're not looking for something to scream, but something simple and elegant. Maybe even just a well-arranged typeface.
Last year we started a small group of design and font geeks to investigate coming up with a logo. We had some great brainstorming sessions--think Mad Men--and it was clear that while we knew exactly the sorts of things we didn't want, what we wanted was harder to express. Despite lots of doodling, none of us had the skills to create anything that realized the vagueness. We discussed doing a contest, but weren't sure how to run it. We also talked about approaching a professional design firm, but were pretty sure they would all be beyond our price range. We had even crazier ideas that I can't talk about. But sometime this summer I googled "logo contest" to see if there were any ideas for guidelines floating around the interwebs. Instead I found a number of companies that basically run contests for you. Bingo! (Quick acknowledgment: we're aware that there is debate in the design community about whether these spec design contests are good for designers.)
After a season of delays for AALL, summer vacations, and fall teaching madness, we launched our contest today, and I'm pleased with how it's going. We had our first entries, including one we quite like, within 90 minutes of going live. The contenders run the gamut of the subject line, with even a few that fall into the latter two categories having some potential. We graded them hard since it's the first day and it's already clear that we should have specified no academic regalia and emphasizing library instead of HLS in our initial design brief, but I feel confident we're going to end up with something good.