Wayfinding Series: Part 2 of 4
Word Association — You say, “Library.” I say, “Books.”
That was my response before joining Demco. Eight years later, you say, “library” and I say, “early literacy, media labs, streaming music and movies, gathering place, Consumer Reports® database, lifelong learning, robotics programs, meeting space, education, hang out space and so on.” I now see libraries as so much more than I did before.
My perception of libraries has shifted dramatically in large part because I think and read about libraries on a daily basis. I talk with librarians. I visit lots of libraries and library websites. My family says it’s all I talk about. However, this is not the case for the average person. What would it take for your library to become a weekly, if not a daily part of people’s lives — a beloved, essential resource? Branding!
Brand = Relevance + Value + Environment + User Experience + Logo
Think of the brands you like; a brand done well is more than a logo and tagline, right? It creates an emotional, multi-sensory connection — you feel it, see it, hear it and experience it. Effective library branding works the same way. It creates deeper, more meaningful connections with people, increasing their engagement with your brand.
Brand Audit = Circulating, Hanging Out, Listening, Reviewing + Reflecting
Give yourself some time to understand your library’s current reality before making any changes. Be objective, ask tough questions and be open to the answers.
Brand Audit Questions
- What’s the mood and energy level in your library?
- How does library staff engage with customers?
- What is the personality and culture of your library and staff?
- What’s your role in the community?
- What value does the library add to the community?
- How does the design and flow of your physical space influence the customer experience and perceptions?
Library Signage as Branding
Be mindful that library users are consumers with expectations. The moment they step into your library they want what they want, and generally fast. What do you want? For them to have a positive experience and impression of your library. That’s why it’s important to review and assess your communications and signage across all mediums and locations.
- How do the design, language choice and placement of your communications and signs enhance the customer experience?
- Is there alignment across library branches and your website?
- A true litmus test, does it help the customer feel smart?
Your Brand Story
Initiating a branding project is an important aspect of your future library brand, and it will take time. The approach and process you follow may be similar to that of ones library systems, but your specific roadmap and decisions will vary, tailoring them to your situation and community needs. This is your opportunity to take control, influence how people think about your library and give them new word associations.
This is the second of a 4-part series on library wayfinding and signage from Demco.
Part 1 Signage as a Component of Your Space Design, Merchandising and Service Models
Part 3 Creating a Signage Plan Through Observation
Part 4 Intentional Wayfinding Signage Planning Leads to Positive Library User Experiences
What I’m Reading & Watching
- Not Your Mother’s Library, The Atlantic, Deborah Fallows 10/6/14
- Transforming Our Image, Building Our Brand – The Education Advantage, Gross, Valerie, 2013 – ABC-CLIO
- You Are Here, A New Approach to Signage and Wayfinding; Edited and Published by VICTION:ARY, 2013
- Is Your Library Brand Contagioius?, LeMaster, Rochelle 10/24/13
- From Complacement to Contagious: Where is Your Brand on the Spectrum? Berger, Jonah July 2013
- 9 Principles for Great Branding by Design, McNeilly, Mark, 4/16/12