At 90 years, the Swarthmore Public Library decided it was time for a new logo. An attempt at logo crowdsourcing had only yielded ideas that looked like every other library logo. The Swarthmore Public Library wanted something that looked different and that expressed its unique role in the community (my hometown). So they contacted me.
First, I sat down with Amber Osborne, the library’s director, to review the unsuccessful logo ideas. This was extremely helpful. It showed me what wasn’t working and helped Amber clarify what she was looking for.
Next, I asked Amber lots of questions. And then, I listened. I heard that the Swarthmore Public Library sits right in the center of this leafy town (leaves were important to them). Yes, it begins with books, but it is also so much more. The library is a hub for all kinds of activities, for all ages, all year round. It is a lively place, full of energy. In fact, the library’s tag line is “Read, Meet, Discover, Grow.” Although Swarthmore is a college town, they didn’t want to look “collegiate.” And they didn’t even think that including a book in the logo was essential.
A Concept Emerges
So, I zeroed in on the concept of a hub, a wheel. Amber’s eyes lit up at the idea. None of the other logos had gone in this direction. I created a bunch of sketches and armed with a clear direction, Amber and I worked together efficiently. And it was fun!
We got it all in to a distinctive mark with a wheel shape, a hub, the leaves, the books, and lively palette. The typography is distinguished but not stodgy. There is a version with and without the tag line and also a round version. Additionally, each version has a grayscale and single color option.
What a wonderful collaboration! Read more about it in The Swarthmorean.