The Evolution of a Library Logo

Darien Library Logo

Darien Library’s new logo is written up at a branding blog:

When you think of public libraries — that glorious old book smell, the studious people learning something new, the kind of light that is rarely found anywhere else, the challenge of judging books by their spine — their identity is probably the last thing you notice, consider or even care for… you are there for the books and what lies between their pages. And that’s exactly what C&G Partners celebrates in their design of the new identity for the Darien Public Library in the affluent town of Darien, Connecticut.

The library is consistently ranked in the top 10 of Hennen’s American Public Library Ratings in the 10,000-population category, and will be moving into a new space in 2009, that will house 180,000 volumes and will feature all the necessary ammenities of a 21st Century library, including gallery space, café, children’s library, 170-person meeting room, improved technology, and, as the ultimate improvement, an identity designed by one of the best identity design firms.

Headed by Steff Geissbuhler, the new logo is decidedly modern and, through the powerful icon design, heightens the importance of the library to levels usually reserved for major airlines, not public libraries in small towns of the U.S.. While the typography, and the very odd choice of leaving out the space between the two words, is nothing to fawn about, the icon is delightful. If you have ever flipped the pages of a book — and, yes, I’m being sarcastic, as everyone has — you can see and feel that motion in this logo, a rare feat for a static mark. I’m not certain, however, what this means for public libraries around the world… is this the new frontier in corporate identity?

Establishing a brand identity and a logo might possibly be one of the hardest things for libraries to do – globally as well as individually. The next step is difficult as well: branding a clear, consistent message across all forms of communication that comes out of the library – including press releases, the Web and in house promotion. This is why I believe we need to teach marketing and branding in LIS education. I’m curious about other libraries and their revamped logs…can anyone point me to more examples?

Kudoos to Darien for the press! Click through and checkout some of the corporate logos examined at Brand New. It’s fascinating.