Friday Designs: Signs, Inspiration, and Randomness

Happy Friday, dear readers! We’ve made it to the end of another week. The fall quarter (our last as a quarter campus) has started and the weather has turned cool (although it looks like we’ll get another heatwave next week), so it’s time to get back into the academic swing of things. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun so I have a few things to get you through to the lovely first weekend of autumn.

First up, a landscape version of the All are Welcome Sign. In order to put these up in our elevators in the library, I had to reconfigure the signs to landscape orientation. In case your library has landscape-oriented sign holders, I thought I’d share this version (click on image to get the printable PDF), too. Please print, use, and share. We could all use some welcome about now.

image of poster reading, there is no space for hate in our library all are welcome we stand in solidarity with all who fight for equity, diversity, and inclusion

I thought most of us would appreciate Lifehacker’s article, the library doesn’t usually want your used books. We’ve all gotten those well-meaning, but not-so-useful donations. And, if you’re not doing a huge project making altered books, it is a great reminder to send would-be donors to other, more receptive places.

I was thinking of what was inspiring me right now to try out new things in my designs and I have to say it is probably snapping more photos (both digital and instax analog) to see what I bits of photos I can use in other projects and what more I could share about graphic design that would be useful to librarian graphic designers. I think a lot about design and sharing so expect some more examples of designs and redesigns soon.

Also, because the weather has finally cooled down here and that means baking time, I had to share this Joy the Baker recipe for brown butter cookies and cream rice krispie treats. I am so excited to try this recipe soon!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of inspiration, relaxation, and fun. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Friday Design Fun

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that your week has gone well and you have something lovely planned for the weekend. I’m looking forward to finally having a weekend that isn’t abnormally hot for this time of year so I might have the energy to do some design work not related to my library work. It has been a difficult week on so many levels so I thought I’d just share a few fun design things before we run into the weekend.

First, sometimes you just need to have some retro fun and I have to say that this new camera I got totally fits the bill.

photograph of Fujifilm Instax Mini 90 camera

My husband got the above camera for me (Fujifilm’s Instax Mini 90) and I’ve been having a lot of fun taking instant photos. Polaroid-type photos for the win! There is something that’s just a bit wonderful about watching a photo slowly come into view rather than seeing it instantly on my digital camera (not that I’m not a huge fan of digital photos, obviously). It makes taking a photo a bit slower of a process and more of a fun group activity as you huddle around the mini-photo to see what will develop on film.

I’m not sure yet how I want to incorporate this into my design work in the library, but I’ve been thinking about how and when incorporating some more retro styles of design might be useful.

So I hope you have the chance to try something new and maybe a little offbeat that might spark some new creativity over the weekend. You never know what will inspire your next project.

Second, while I’m not a bullet journal person (though my aren’t the photographs of some people’s journals beautiful?), I am a huge believer in keeping paper notebooks, journals, and planners. While my phone is great for reminders, there is nothing to me like writing down plans and ideas in a journal. Below is a photo of my current journal that I use for everything except my yearly planner (which I create every December in a hardcover notebook [yes, I am that kind of person]).

photograph of traveler's notebook

While I’m not an expert in using the Traveler’s Notebook by any stretch, I really do love its flexibility and the ability to decorate all the inserts. It is really useful to my process to have separate notebooks for different projects, but probably the best thing is that I’ve decided I don’t need a beautiful notebook since I’m not on Instagram and can just use it for all my messy, half-formed, thumbnail sketched, odd ideas that may some day come together for something. It is important to give yourself permission to be messy when designing as usually it isn’t that pretty until the end.

Finally, oh my goodness a makecation! This idea of taking a vacation to do craft projects sounds amazing! I totally want to do this and would love to hear about if you’ve ever done a makecation.

So that’s it from here. I need to be off to an all-day faculty retreat in a bit, so I better wrap up this Friday’s post. I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of rest, fun, and creativity. I’ll be back soon with more design notes. Allons-y!

Friday Design: Colors, Fun, and Tips

Happy Friday, dear readers! I can hardly believe we are coming to the end of another month. Was it a good month for you? Did you get a chance to do complete some projects, design something fun, and read some good books? I feel like I need a week to sleep so I can process everything and get some new projects underway. Today, I want to share a few links to design inspiration and a few tips that I’ve been thinking about as I’ve started a new research project on librarians and graphic design.

First, I wanted to share this article from Smashing Magazine, Underestimated power of color in mobile app design. Thoughtful use of color is so important and often an afterthought, at least in some of the recent designs I’ve been seeing. This article is a great overview (or review) of color theory and things to think about to ensure when you use color it isn’t just beautiful, but it is accessible, too. While you may not be designing an app for your library (although that sounds like fun!), lots of our patrons access your library’s website and resources through their phones. This means thinking about how color works in a mobile world makes sense for all of us. Let’s make great color choices for our libraries, okay?

Second, another article, this time on Understanding stacked bar charts. As more and more libraries look to present their statistics and evidence in visually pleasing ways, data visualization is becoming incredibly important skill for librarians. This is a great overview of the why and how to create stacked bar charts. I found this especially timely as we are working on reports in the library now and discussing how to best present our data.

Finally, in terms of design, I had to share a thought from one of the interviews I’ve done recently with librarians about design. It is something that every librarian who is a de facto graphic designer for their library should paste to their wall: “There’s no excuse for ugly.” I completely agree with this statement. In graphic design, no matter what we are creating, there is no excuse for ugly. Whatever we design, there is no excuse to create something ugly. While tastes differ in terms of design, to me, ugly means non-accessible, difficult to understand, and completely without thought to composition, color, type, or theme.

Whatever we create, we owe it to our library patrons and ourselves to create something that is beautiful and communicates our library’s mission, services, and resources clearly and effectively. With graphic design so often being seen as an afterthought in libraries, let’s not give anyone the excuse that it isn’t worth the time because the results are bad. Go out and create something wonderful. It is worth the time and the effort.

And, simply because I love Santa Cruz and it feels like we should all be taking off on vacation soon: One day, one place: Santa Cruz. Enjoy!

I hope you have a lovely weekend full of good friends, good food, and good reads. I’ll be back soon with more. Allons-y!

Friday Design Fun

Happy Friday and Happy St. Patrick’s Day, dear readers! I hope you’ve had a lovely week and have a wonderful weekend planned. It has been a busy week here with final exams and the always too-short turnaround time to get ready for the spring quarter. So today I just have a few, fun design things to share and will hopefully be back next week with some more library design examples.

First, if you are at all interested in fountain pens and ink testing, you’ll love that Col-o-rings are coming soon. Ink testing books on a metal o-ring for easy reordering and the paper looks fantastic. Just what one would expect from The Well-Appointed Desk.

Second, more free icons! These sparkly icon set, Ballicon 3, looks like it could be just the thing to make spring materials shine. So fun and happy!

Finally, because it will soon be officially spring, a springtime salad recipe from Joy the Baker: spring strawberry salad with cucumber and feta.

Have a wonderful day filled with good reads, good design, and good eats. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Friday Design Inspiration: Almost Spring Edition

Happy Friday, dear readers! Well, here we are at the start of another month and it is almost spring. Where is the time going? It is just flying by, but with the days getting longer (and a little bit warmer) it seems to me that spring is a great time to jump start our design work with some new inspiration. So I have a round-up of articles and inspiration to share with you today that will hopefully help with whatever you happen to be working on.

First, it’s a new month and that means another gorgeous batch of wallpaper to refresh your desktop from Smashing Magazine. Check out the March desktop wallpapers and get inspired even when you are stuck in front of your computer for the seventh hour straight.

There is more March inspiration from Smashing Magazine in the form of the round-up of great photographs and illustrations. I love this monthly post as it always gives me great ideas for color patterns, and often places to add to my travel bucket list, too!

I recently got a new laptop and had to move over a number of files, including my all-important font files so this article on how to cut back on digital clutter seemed like very timely advice to me. Whether you are trying to organize and simplify your digital filing structure (or create a structure) or trying to limit the amount of time you’re spending on social networks and checking notifications, spring is a great time to clean up digitally as well as around the house.

And, after you clean, you might find you have more headspace for designing. If so, check out this Elements from Earth to Space Icon Set. You know me, I love icon sets and I hope I get a design that I can use this one with soon.

With the rain finally letting up around here, it’s a great time to get outside and take some photos for my next projects. Are you ever disappointed with how your photos come out, especially if you compare them to those you see online? Most photos could benefit with some retouching and this article shares 10 Photoshop tips to fix your photographs.

And, if all this digital talk makes you crave a break away from the screen, check out this long and useful article on getting started with calligraphy. As a fan of calligraphy and other forms of lettering, I can attest to its benefits for relaxing and inspiring new work. Besides, who doesn’t want beautiful writing? It will definitely set you apart in this age of decline in hand-written notes and letters.

I hope you have a great weekend. I’ll be back soon with some more news, notes, and examples of design. Allons-y!

Friday Design Inspiration: Brush Lettering and Holiday Breaks

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you’ve had a good week and have a lovely weekend with some time for relaxation amid all the bustle at the end of the year. Today I have a bunch of links for inspiration that will perhaps inspire some crafting and designing before we ring in the new year.

First, if you liked reading about brush lettering in Smashing Magazine, you’ll enjoy Part 2 of Brush Lettering that discusses practicing the techniques needed to create lovely, oh-so-trendy brush lettering. I’m looking forward to practicing over the holidays and maybe adding it to my calligraphy work.

If you are interested in getting into brush lettering, you’ll want to read the entire three-part review on brush pens over at The Well-Appointed Desk. I’m linking here to the third installment review on waterproof bristle tips as these are what I’ve gotten from Japan to use.

Do you listen to music while you work or do you prefer silence? Me, I’m a silence all the way kind of person whether I’m working on a design, writing a blog post, or reading. So I had to link to The Atlantic article, The best music for productivity? Silence.

Do you love wrapping presents or think that anything but a box should come pre-wrapped? If you need some help on wrapping odd-shaped items, check out this guide to wrapping with cloth: wrap anything, which goes over wrapping with Furoshiki–beautiful fabric wrapping cloths.

Finally, if you need to create some holiday cards or last-minute winter designs, check out the round-up of free holiday and winter icon sets over at Smashing Magazine.

I hope you have a fantastic end of the year and very happy new year, dear readers. I’m taking a break from posting until the new year so I can focus on family, friends, and relaxing before diving back into everything. I hope you have time to rest and recharge, too, so you are ready for all the challenges–design and otherwise–that I’m certain the new year will hold. Thank you, as always, for reading and I’ll be seeing you in the new year. Allons-y!

Friday Design Inspiration

Happy Friday, dear readers! Can you believe we are a bit over a week into December? The last month of the year always seems to fly by. But on the plus side, there is always so much holiday inspiration for design at this time of year. It can actually be a little overwhelming. So I wanted to share with you some inspiration that hopefully helps instead of hinders your inspiration for the last graphic design projects of the year for your library.

Part 2 of Smashing Magazine’s guide to brush lettering is available. It’s a good guide to getting started practicing your lettering. I’m looking forward to trying out more brush lettering in my work as I was gifted a handful of brush pens from my trip to Japan. It will be interesting to see if I have any affinity for it after having done calligraphy.

Who doesn’t like free icons? I personally love free icon sets and Smashing Magazine has a lovely one for Christmas.  What I really like about this set is its versatility. Even if you don’t want to use it in the original format for an Advent calendar, many of the icons–gingerbread man, mug of cocoa, snowflake, etc.–can be used in other projects, too.

Finally from Smashing Magazine, check out the December design inspiration–so many great color palettes, illustrations, and photographs. Makes me want to create all the things.

Also, in the vein of breaking out of the box and thinking of things in new ways, I highly recommend reading, “The strange, surprisingly radical roots of the shopping mall.” It’s a great article from the TED Art + Design blog and had me considering the design of shopping malls in a new light–even if their original intent has never come to fruition. Food for thought as you work through your redesign projects at the library.

And, purely for fun, check out this article–and especially the video–on the World Sign Spinning Championship. It’s fun and amazing. Plus, the competition signs are well-designed, too.

I hope you have a wonderful weekend without stress over the upcoming end of the year and you have time for good books, good food, and good friends. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

 

Design and NaNoWriMo

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you are well and that November is treating you kindly! How did we get so far into November already? Time is really flying, especially if you are participating in NaNoWriMo. So what does NaNoWriMo have to do with design? I’m glad you asked.

For those who aren’t familiar with NaNoWriMo, it stands for National Novel Writing Month. November is NaNoWriMo, which means thousands of writers all over the world are attempting (and succeeding) in writing a novel in 30 days. Yes, an entire novel–at least 50,000 words–in November. It’s audacious, crazy, exciting, and fun. Plus, lots of libraries get in the action by becoming Come Write In partners and hosting write-ins–meet-ups for writers–at their libraries. My library is a Come Write In partner for the second year and I’m hoping we have even more writers come this year. It’s hard to say no to free coffee and cookies in a quiet library space when you are on a writing deadline. If you’ve never taken part in NaNoWriMo, I really think you should and it isn’t too late to start this year.

But what does NaNoWriMo have to do with graphic design in libraries?

Well, I could tell you that writing a novel will help you with creating great copy for your next flyer, poster, or brochure–it probably couldn’t hurt your copy writing abilities. I could tell you that getting writers into your library for Come Write In events is a great outreach opportunity and they may even take a look at your current exhibits or other programming when they come out of their writing fog–they probably will. Or, I could tell you that there’s nothing like banging away at a keyboard during a word sprint to encourage you to stop making excuses and just get writing–it totally works.

But really, the best reason for doing NaNoWriMo in terms of library design is that it isn’t about library graphic design. You aren’t cropping photos, you aren’t matching color swatches, and you aren’t creating a grid for the next newsletter layout. You’re writing. Pure and simple, words on the screen or in your notebook. You are exercising another area of your brain, taking a break from your sketchbook to get into your word processing notebook. And that’s great!

This break from consciously working on graphic design–but still working on a creative project–will give your subconscious time to process and find solutions to your design challenges. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to create even better designs for your next outreach brochure or flyer for storytime. This is a great thing that should also absolve you of any lingering guilt for taking time away from doing more and learning more on graphic design. By widening your scope of creative endeavors, you widen your personal encyclopedia of inspiration and understanding to draw from in your next project.

Plus, you’ll probably have a chance to eat a cookie and drink some coffee or tea while resting your wrists before another wordsprint. And, who knows, you might find another graphic designer among the writers at your event who you’d never meet otherwise.

So get out there and find inspiration through writing. You never know what you’ll be able to bring back into your library graphic design work until you do. And, good luck and fast writing to all my fellow WriMos! 🙂

I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

 

 

 

Friday Design: Awesome Koloa Signs

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has gone well and you have a relaxing weekend planned. I’ve been traveling this past week and wanted to share some signs I particularly liked in Koloa. You can see, there isn’t any Helvetica in sight and these signs provide some good examples of what libraries can do to make their signage unique and even playful while still communicating effectively.

So here are a few of the signs I saw while walking around:

photograph of Kaua'i culinary market sign

This is a great sandwich board sign for the weekly farmers market. It is cute, easy-to-read, uses the branding font for “The Shops at Kukui’ula” and manages to look professional and homespun at the same time. Love it and the market that it advertises. And, check out the great use of the same colors in the image of the basket and the type used on the sign. This is some thoughtful graphic design. You could try the same color sampling and minimalist design in your next library project.

photograph of sign for Halele'a Gallery

This is the beautiful sign for the Halele’a Gallery in the same outdoor shopping complex. Not Helevetica and still classy! Love the drawings of ferns and fronds around the gallery’s name to create what looks like a name seal. It is beautiful, subdued, and would look great on everything from this sign to letterhead, business cards, and (of course) seals. So lovely. Execute all your library designs with this much grace and people will notice.

photograph for Martin and MacArthur

Another great sign, this one showing a beautiful example of using flourishes for the capitals. Notice in the background on the building how the same “M” is used above the name in the sign. Beautiful, classy, with a lovely color palette that completely works with the yellow of the building, the white of the trim, and the tropical plantings out front. This is signage done right.

Has your library considered how its signage will work within the context of where you will hang it? If you haven’t, you should.

photograph of store directoryThis is one of the store directories. Notice how they same font is used consistently, even though all these businesses uses different fonts in their branding. Easy to read, no extraneous information or little descriptions that no one could ever possibly read at a glance.

Does your library have a directory? Is it as clear and easy to read? If not, its time to make it clearer. Also, note that you don’t have to use a san serif font to make directories readable, you just have to select your font with care.

photograph of sign asking people not to smokeThis is without a doubt my favorite sign at this shopping center. It is witty, clever, and gets its point across without some large, red circle with an “X” over a clip art image of a cigarette. Notice that the san serif font used is playful, which reinforces the language used, but it is still clear.

Libraries could learn from this when creating signage that we want to be more positive instead of negative–especially in regards to noise issues and cell phone use. Clear headline with clever copy. Would love to see such signage in libraries, though probably sans chicken.

Hope you enjoyed this look at some signage and how you can apply lessons from them to your next library sign design. I hope you have a wonderful weekend full of reading, creating, and fun. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

 

Friday Design Inspiration

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope you’ve had a good week and are on the cusp of a fabulous weekend. I have a short post full of design inspiration to help with your next design projects this month.

I’m still loving the monthly design inspiration from Smashing Magazine and the September edition doesn’t disappoint. I hope you find something inspiring from their picks, too.

Also from Smashing Magazine, more free icon sets. These are going to be so useful for work. I can see about a dozen projects to use them on in the library already. 🙂

Do you get inspired by travel? By museums? By great art? If you do, definitely check out the amazing video, “All the art in London in one day.” Makes me tired and energized to travel all at the same time. Now I have the itch to book a trip to London, too!

And, if I can leave you with just one graphic design tip at the end of this short post of design inspiration, is this: if you decide to put a border on a sign or a flyer for your library, please consider what purpose it serves. Are you putting it there for decoration? Or does it serve a design purpose? Remember, we are always trying to communicate in the most clear way possible through our designs, not create framed art on paper. I just ask you to consider: do you need a border or do you need to rethink your design? I’ve been seeing borders pop up more regularly on library signs lately and I’m wondering why. So, that’s your design tip/thought for this Friday. If you have found uses for borders on your flyers and signs at your library, I’d love to hear about it. Please leave me a note in comments. 🙂

I hope September is treating you well, that you have a wonderful autumn in front of you, and that you are able to keep creating wonderful designs for your library and life. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!