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Friday Design: Inspiration and a Challenge

October 21, 2016

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has been going well and you have some lovely weekend plans. Today I want to share a bit more design inspiration and a design challenge. So let’s get into it!

There is so much to love about autumn and the change of seasons can definitely inspire us in life and in our library work. I wanted to share some things that are inspiring me for the autumn and would love to hear what is inspiring you, too.

UPPERCASE Magazine is endlessly inspiring. I love that it is printed with such care and vibrant colors. That in the previous issue the editor and designer, Janine Vangool, explained and showed all the new typefaces she was using in a refresh of the magazine. I love all the interviews and showcases of artists’ works in areas I don’t work in, but find inspiring nonetheless. A recent issue even had a large spread of artist’s books, which was amazing, and the love of print and craft shows through in each issue. Highly recommended for refueling your creative tanks when you think you’ve run out of ideas.

I love the reviews and information from The Well-Appointed Desk. Great round-ups of other posts and news around the web in “Link Love” and this blog keeps me searching for the perfect teal blue fountain pen ink–plus keeps me motivated to write holiday cards.

NaNoWriMo is coming! Is your library participating as a Come Write In spot? You should. Although you’ll be creating with more words than you’d ever use on a flyer (right?), it is a great opportunity to meet a community of wonderful writers and get inspired to create no matter what medium you’re using. Also, you never know when you might get an idea for your library’s next round of marketing materials from another writer’s story. Plus, it is a great excuse–as if you need one–to break out your button-maker and make some buttons to share!

While I don’t have a link for this one, seeing all the signs for pumpkin patches and autumnal festivals around also inspires me in the fall. I love getting new lettering ideas and seeing what works and doesn’t in signage. I always enjoy seeing what color combinations are used and what I might be able to do in the library with them.

So, now, to the design challenge. Find something new to inspire you this autumn. Maybe it’s a new hike, a new sign for a restaurant that just opened, a great book, or a talk with a friend. Whatever it is, translate your inspiration into a design–your choice for format and size–that speaks to you about autumn. Interpret autumn however you want. (Think about how the artists for the monthly Smashing Magazine wallpapers all design for the same month, yet create radically different final products.) Then, if you’re willing, share your design in the comments. I’ll be sharing mine in an upcoming post.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend, full of all good things. (And if you need a tasty, autumnal treat, check out Joy the Baker’s Vanilla Sweet Potato Waffles.) Inspiration is all around you–you just need to look! I’ll be back soon with some more news and notes. Allons-y!



Friday Design: Autumnal Inspiration

October 14, 2016

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope that the second week of October has gone well for you and if you are in the Northern Hemisphere you are getting into the autumnal spirit. To that end, I wanted to share some autumnal-themed inspiration with you today.

One of the best things for getting inspired–whether you need inspiration for your next library graphic design project, your next lesson plan, or just life in general–is to get out of your routine and travel somewhere. Luckily, in terms of both time and money, you don’t need to travel far to get inspired–you just need to move.

This week I happily met up with one of my best friends and we explored a pumpkin patch together. It was a wonderful time to catch up and be enveloped by the sights and smells of autumn in the country. (Totally makes me want to live in a small town, again, too, but that’s a post for another day.) And the great thing about doing even a small trip is that I come back refreshed, energized, and with new ideas of how I want to incorporate autumnal things that inspire me in my next design projects. This doesn’t mean I’m going to design only with pumpkins or have scarecrow themes, but I did get inspired to change up some color schemes based on my day out. Check out some of this great autumnal color!

photograph of blue pumpkins

Gorgeous blue pumpkins that I’d never seen before. What a classy color to use in a design project!

photograph of mini gourds

There were piles of gourds in crates that had beautiful colors and shapes. What a great way to break out of a grid pattern using organic shapes. Awesome colors to sample for fall flyers and web graphics.

photograph of three sunflowers

Gorgeous sunflowers with their own highlights! And check out that sky! What a wonderful, deep blue color to use in a design with the accent colors taken from the sunflowers!

So I hope–and encourage–you to take advantage of the autumnal festivities and pumpkin patches in your area where you might just get inspired for your next design project.

If you need even more inspiration, check out this amazing photo of a view from Bag End featuring a pumpkin. What an amazing way to greet the morning.

Plus we are getting into holiday travel season, so while not exactly design inspiration, it’s still important to share: six pre-flight stretches to prevent blood clots. Thanks, Lifehacker!

Finally, for fun, and because you never know when you could do a library-event to tie in: check out this calendar of all the National Food Days. It’s fun and well-designed.

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



Friday Design: Getting Typography Right

October 7, 2016

Happy Friday, dear readers! I hope your week has been full of pleasant things. Can you believe we are a week into October already? Where does the time fly? Away, just away. But while we have Friday, we might as well talk about typography. And, today, I want to talk about getting typography right.

I’m a bit of a type nerd, as you may have figured out from reading this blog, and I could talk about typography for ages if you let me. There’s just so much to explore when it comes to type that it seems like every day brings something new to learn. But today I just want to focus on an instance of getting typography right. I shared some signs recently that I loved and have some to explore later that I really didn’t love, but it’s Friday so we should have something delightful and positive to end the workweek. So here is an example of type done right by Hollander’s:photograph of Hollander's bag showing great typography

Hollander’s is a supplier of decorative papers and bookbinding materials. And, while I haven’t been to their store in Ann Arbor, I did just receive a shipment of supplies that included this lovely example of typography on one of their bags.

Now, it shouldn’t be surprising that a shop that specializes in bookbinding supplies also has a great sensibility when it comes to type, but I’ve been surprised before. This one, though, is great. Everything works.

The serif font used is awesome–readable, upright, traditional, yet quirky. Love how the H functions almost as a drop cap in this setting. The san serif works beautifully with the serif font. Everything is clean and reproduces beautifully even on a brown paper bag. The horizontal line (the rule) between Hollanders and “in the Kerrytown Shops” works to bring the two lines of text together, yet separate them so they are instantly readable.

The contact information is easy to read, which is what you definitely want as a business. People need to contact you so you can make sales. Love that they chose to use some dingbats (I believe these are from Wingding 2) to separate the contact information instead of using default dots or slashes.

This is a great example of typography done right and an example that even something as ephemeral as a paper bag provides the designer with an opportunity to mix beauty and function to make the world a better place, at least typographically speaking.

So with that, I leave you with just a bit more inspiration for your month in the form of Smashing Magazine’s October Design Inspiration post. The photos give me wanderlust while the colors make me want to design all the autumnal things.

I hope you have a fantastic weekend full of autumnal delights and time with family and friends. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

P.S. If you ever want to try your hand at bookbinding and live in the Bay Area, definitely check out San Francisco Center for the Book’s great line-up of workshops.

Friday Design Short: (Almost) October Edition

September 30, 2016

Happy Friday, dear readers! I apologize for this post coming out a bit late. I’ve been caught up with other writing and design projects that I hope to be able to share with you soon. In the meantime, I have a few design links to share before the weekend commences.

First, tomorrow is October. Can you believe it? I can’t, but luckily the start of another month does mean another wonderful selection of wallpapers to redecorate our desktops via Smashing Magazine. So many beautiful, cute, and Halloween-inspired designs to choose from–I might just need to have rotating wallpapers this month!

I know I’ve shared Kern Type, The Kerning Game before, but it’s almost the weekend and I just had to share it again. Besides, it never hurts to brush up on our kerning skills! 🙂

And, finally, while there are some lovely free fonts available online, sometimes you need to buy a font (or two) to create a design project and is a great place to look (among many others that I’ll be sharing in the coming weeks as I post about type and libraries). Also, has a free newsletter and a blog that has some useful posts. If nothing else, it can be fun to look through all the font possibilities–especially when you aren’t on a deadline!

I hope you have a fabulous weekend full of relaxing and creating and reading and whatever else you choose to do. I’ll be back with more news and notes soon. Allons-y!

Midweek Design Inspiration

September 28, 2016

Happy Wednesday, dear readers! I hope you are having a lovely week, reading some great banned books, and designing wonderful things for your library. As a bit of midweek inspiration (because who doesn’t love some inspiration in the middle of the week?), here are a few resources that will hopefully inspire you–or at least make you smile.

Hand lettering is totally having a moment. Well, actually, it’s been having many moments for a few years now and the wave of interest just seems to be growing. Even if you have no desire to learn hand lettering or calligraphy (separate arts, as you know), check out these beautiful examples as inspiration for your next design project: 19 Instagram Accounts to Follow if You Love Pretty Handwriting from The Well-Appointed Desk.

For more hand lettering examples and inspiration, head over to Smashing Magazine’s roundup of many hand lettering artists in The Art of Hand Lettering. Makes me want to work on my handwriting!

If your library is considering a new promotion/marketing campaign for a programming series or whatnot, consider the amazing work of a crowdfunding campaign in the UK that replaced advertisements with cat posters in a London Underground station. Shared not only because the cats are adorable, but the posters also show how simple design and ample white space can make for incredibly striking posters. Something to consider the next time someone at your library wants to cram “one more thing” into the poster or flyer you are designing.

I hope you have a fabulous week, full of inspiration for your work and play. I’ll be back soon with more news and notes. Allons-y!

Friday Design: Awesome Koloa Signs

September 23, 2016

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

September 16, 2016

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!

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