Design in Libraries is Serious, but Sometimes We Need Fun

Happy Friday and Happy (Almost) Halloween, dear readers! So I think graphic design, and design generally, in libraries is a serious business. How we present ourselves visually, how well we communicate, and how intuitive our services and resources are to use are of great importance to the effective and efficient functioning of our libraries. However, just because it is serious doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun, especially so close to Halloween.

The first piece I ever got published when I became a librarian was a short piece about having fun as a librarian and how important that was to growth. I thought it was obvious. There’s lots of research about the value of play and how integral it is to work and life, especially if you want to be balanced and creative. I thought it would be a short article to get my feet wet and a piece that would help others see that adding some levity to their days could help out. Most saw it that way, but I still recall one comment that said fun and play had no business in an academic library and they’d never want to work with someone who thought that way. I guess not everyone is into playing and doing things differently. But in any case, I still think play is important in libraries and especially when we talk about design work. And what better time to think about play than on the eve of a holiday that is all about play and fun: Halloween.

So for the Halloween fun, here’s a spooky, fun, and somewhat scary look at monsters in literature. Be warned the banner image is a clown. If that isn’t terrifying, I don’t know what is.

Also, for Halloween fun, check out Smashing Magazine’s free Halloween icon set. Not terrifying, even kind of cute, icons that you can use for some last minute designs. Because Halloween means time for designing, right? 🙂

Back in the library, don’t be afraid to play with your designs and try new things. Even if you have a branding manual, you can still play. Sometimes events call for using Chiller in a huge font size on a banner announcing a costume contest or scary book reading. Sometimes you need to allow yourself the room to play with a new icon set for creating some lovely spook-tacular bookmarks to hand out for anyone checking out a frightful book for the weekend. And sometimes you need to tell yourself that even if you get it wrong with your designs, it isn’t the end of the world and no one is going to ship you off as fodder for the Headless Horseman. You always have next time to get it right and you’ll probably learn something along the way.

Design in libraries is serious business, but it is also great fun. Don’t lose track of that and I know you’ll not only create some great designs, but you’ll also enjoy the process.

Hope you have a fantastic, fun-filled, beautifully designed weekend. Allons-y!