Monday, December 9, 2013

Woodstock Public Library branding

The old logo

The Woodstock Public Library was a great gig. Client Amy Raff had a great understanding of her organization, which makes our job a lot easier. Still, we did an entire branding identity campaign for them, met and talked and filled out our special questionnaires and talked some more and finally a theme emerged: the library provides services. All kinds of things pointed to that as the main theme of what they did.

Having thus identified their brand essence, it just took a tiny twist to understand what their brand personality should be. Instead of stopping at 'service' we went one step further and translated it what that meant for the library's clientele: access. Access to books and ideas and thoughts and like-minded individuals. Access to readings and craft sessions and the internet. Access, access, access. Everything that the library offered could be summed up under the conceptual umbrella of "access." Well, the client loved this idea and so we started executing.

Most clients need advertising: print and radio and sometimes tv. The library only needed a logo. For now. Our first step is to take a look at the competitive environment. Woodstock and environs have, as you'd expect, some nice logos and some crummy ones. A popular thing around town is to use the elements from the 1969 music festival for things bearing the Woodstock name. We were not interested in that.

We wanted something original and ownable, not something derivative and evocative of a music melee that happened 50 miles away.

So we started thinking about how to represent the concept of access with an image and/or maybe an image and a tag line. As a starting point, we thought about a door. It nicely represented the big brand idea of access. Also, the library was currently using a lovely illustration of the front of its building in its materials and there was a door in it. So we took a look and it looked pretty good. Combined with a tag line about access, it could be a sweet little logo for our sweet little library.

Well, we liked the door idea and so put pencil to paper to see what happened (something fun always does) and we started thinking about open books as another nice (and certainly apt) representation of the idea of 'access.' And we started thinking about combining the books and doors and slapping a fun type treatment on there. Well, some of the doodles are below.

We wondered if the open door could be made to look like a big "W" or if the open book could.

We experimented a little with the fun combination of letters 'W', 'P', and 'L'.

We pursued that direction a little bit and while it looked real good, it didn't really relate to 'access' directly. 

Oh sure, we could slap on a tagline to add the thought of access, but for now, we were looking for the something a little more organic and so we forged on. We liked the door, which, it turned out, with a little perspective, could be made to be kinda 'W' shaped or even fit inside of a big block 'W'. Here below are some of the sketches:

Once we had the big 'W' shape, it seemed like we could really just put anything inside of it, a door, an open book, anything. Also, one of the client's mandates had been that the logo be iconic and ubiquitous. Now the latter is largely a question of media placement . . . 

. . . but the former is a matter of design and that big 'W' was already starting to feel iconic. We pixelated the pages from the book in a nod to the digital era, cut off the type a little, in order to make it more unique and ownable and bam! we had the logo below. (Which we love!)

Next, we came up with about a hundred tag lines to help express the idea of access and we finally we all agreed on this one: "open doors, opening minds". Here's the new logo with the new tag line. Iconic and nicely representing the brand. (If we do say so ourselves.)

Business cards:


And that's all she wrote! We were well paid for our efforts and can't wait to see the logo all around town. Its first uses are going to be in fundraising letters and come-ons for a capital construction campaign, and naturally, we've got lots of ideas of how to make a splash with that, but, sadly, the library already has a fundraising person working on those questions. We're just happy to do our part and hope that, very soon, the library will stand for 'access' in the minds of everyone around.

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