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?
Geissbuhler presented the new identity at the annual meeting of the library. You can hear his presentation in these MP3s: One / Two. And in the picture below, if you squint hard enough, you can see some of the process behind the logo — here is a big version of that image.
Thanks to Amie Jones for the tip.