Creating a library logo for an academic library.

Author:Kapoun, Jim

The library at Minnesota State University, Mankato needed to update its logo, which was little used and had been created more 25 years earlier. It did not reflect the changes in technology and services offered by the library. This article discusses the importance of logos in conveying an organization's identity and describes the process of developing, producing, and implementing a new logo for the library.

A literature search yielded mostly information on logos for public libraries. Every article stressed the importance of involving as many staff members as possible in the process. We did a web search to identify logos currently being used. We contacted several colleges and universities who had a logo and asked about their design development process. Our discussions revealed several alternatives:

* Have someone in the library design the logo.

* Use your campus graphic design or publications office.

* Use your campus art department.

* Open up the design to the campus community and have a design contest.

* Hire an outside firm to design your logo.

We reported these options to the librarians and the library dean and suggested creating a library logo committee to determine which approach was most appropriate for our library. We also proposed a timeline for completing the project before the next major update to the library web page occurred. The proposed timeline:

* September 2003: Present information to the library staff on developing a logo and call for volunteers to serve on the committee.

* October 2003: Organize the committee. Review options and choose one that best fits our budget and time constraints.

* November 2003: Propose approach to the library dean. (November 2003)

* January-March 2004: Develop the new logo.

* April-May 2004(?): Unveil the logo.

The first task was to present information to the library staff on creating a logo. A Power Point presentation was prepared presenting various library logo examples. The next step was to present the goals of designing a logo. From casual conversations with the library faculty over the past year I had come up the the following goals:

* Attract attention, leave an impression.

* Create a look that is unique and distinctive

* Reflect the philosophy of service the library provides

* Promote a feeling of authenticity and professionalism [Susan Rappaport, 1985, 66-7]

The presentation then examined the existing logo, the floor was open for comments as to why we wished it replaced. Most of the staff thought it looked dated, some thought the font was too small, some thought it looked stiff, and finally the library decided to drop the term Memorial Library from its official title in favor of using the phrase "Library Services."

We next took a look at several logos currently in use at other academic libraries. They illustrated various aspects of logo design:

* Simple designs, usually in black and white

* Designs that reflected distinctive architectural features of a library

* The use of color

* Complex logos that incorporated all the elements above plus incorporated distinctive artwork [Gail Junion-Metz 2003,32]

We then reviewed the various logos used on our campus. Most of the logos on campus incorporated the university colors of purple and gold and some of them used the same font as the official logo of the university. The groups agreed that the multi-color logos did not have the best fit and indicated that the library logo should use the school colors. We had to consider the use of a logo independent of the official university logo in order to understand how and where the logo can be used in the library. The independent logo can be used for all library promotional material, on the web page, and on...

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