Librarian Design Share

inspiration for library creatives


Flyers & Advertisements

Just the Highlights

Library informational handouts and brochures–the kind we give away at orientations, fairs, and workshops–can easily suffer from the classic librarian pitfall: TOO MUCH INFORMATION. Striking the right balance between needed information and visual interest is a challenge. Lindsay Davis, librarian at the Los Banos Campus Library at Merced College has created informational flyers for students and faculty that touch on all the library “highlights,” those crucial services and bits of information that will make the most impact with library users.

Continue reading “Just the Highlights”

Because Photoshop Isn’t Always the Answer

My love of Adobe Photoshop is well known at Librarian Design Share, as is April’s excitement over Microsoft Publisher. We all have our favorite design programs, and everyone from Canva-devotees to Illustrator users can agree that once you find software that works for you, it’s easy to stick with it. But sometimes it’s a nice change of pace to try a new design tool.

Today’s submission from Stephanie Espinoza, eLearning Librarian at the College of Southern Nevada, makes me think I haven’t been using PowerPoint to its full advantage. She’s used the standard Microsoft computing software to create everything from infographics to advertisements for her library.

Continue reading “Because Photoshop Isn’t Always the Answer”

That Librarian with the Beard

We might be surprised by what stands out to our patrons or students about our respective libraries. Sometimes it’s a spot in the building with just the right amount of sunlight and privacy for studying; sometimes it’s a Facebook post that makes them smile; and sometimes it’s just a friendly librarian with an epic beard.

Stacy Taylor, Emerging Technologies Librarian at Adams State University’s Nielson Library, took an aspect (well, person, really) of the library that made a positive impression on students and used it to market the library’s ability to help students. It’s genius, really. Here’s Stacy’s take on this outreach effort:

Continue reading “That Librarian with the Beard”

What Can You Do With Canva?

We’ve seen an increase in the number of submissions we’ve received from folks using Canva, so we decided to devote a whole post to this web-based graphic design tool.

Earlier this week we featured library hours signage from Edita Sicken, Instruction and Access Services Librarian at Manchester University’s Funderburg Library, which she created using Canva. Edita’s also used Canva to create all kinds of library flyers and advertisements, like the ones below.

Chat Graphic

Edita sang Canva’s praises in our last post, but here’s a recap of what she loves about Canva:

  • templates
  • fonts
  • graphics
  • availability of a mobile version for design on the go

K-Cups at the Library

Kasia Piasecka, Reference Librarian at Falmouth Public Library, has used Canva to create fantastic advertisements for library events and programs, like the one below.

Breakfast with the authors

Here’s what Kasia has to say about using Canva for graphic design:

As a past self-professed Microsoft Publisher geek, I was really excited to start using a new (free!) web-based program to design publicity materials and advertisements for our library. I see my role as a librarian and as a designer as complimentary — by strengthening my ability to design beautiful materials, I am promoting the library as the incredible community center that it is. Although marketing the library is a challenge in many communities, I strongly believe that design matters [to your audience], and it makes a difference. It’s very important to market your library, your programs and resources; to carefully design your publicity materials with an eye for detail and a strategy for branding; to identify and choose the best software available to you. As librarians, we are hard-wired to find the best tool to help us, and I cannot recommend Canva strongly enough. I have been absolutely amazed by the variety of designs, presentation layouts, font choices, and overall, Canva’s user-friendly interface.

Long Haul Book Discussion

You can find Kasia on Canva and see all of her designs there, or you can contact her for more details about her marketing materials.

Vintage-Modern Message

Paseo Verde Library in Nevada has the same problem that many libraries do: patrons who loudly carry on phone conversations without regard for those around them.  Instead of shushing or putting up passive-aggressive signage that no one reads, Virtual Branch Librarian Tawnya Shaw designed something that clearly conveys the message with an image that might just cause patrons to do a double-take:


To create this eye-catching design, Tawnya used Photoshop to alter a piece of Victorian clip art and Rockwell font for the text.  The combination of image, font, and white space make this vintage design somehow feel very modern and effective.

Want to get the message out at your library?  You can download the original files from the Librarian Design Share Google Drive Folder and modify as you wish.

Odds and Ends Need Publicity Too

If a student has thought to ask for it, chances are it’s available to borrow at an academic library’s circulation desk. My own library loans dry erase markers, color pencils, laptop chargers, extension cords and floppy disc drives (YES, REALLY), among so many other miscellaneous items. They aren’t expensive and the students are so appreciative to borrow them when we have them.

Stephanie Davidson, Interim Director of the Library at the University of Illinois College of Law, created two fun signs to tell students about all of the different things her library has available to loan.

Forgot Something? Charging Cables

Forgot Something? UmbrellasThese posters/signs were created using MS Word. You can download them for adaption from the Librarian Design Share Google Drive.

Attention Teens!

Teen Hangs

Getting teens’ attention in the library is hard. Luckily, Maggie Block, Young Adult Librarian at the Aldine Branch of the Harris County Public Library, has a great flyer suggestion for drawing them in to library events.

I wanted something that would grab teens at my library’s attention and get them excited about Teen Hangs without bogging it down with descriptions and attempts at “hip” language. And just using bright controllers managed to do just that: let them know this event would be fun and centered around their entertainment needs.

Maggie’s made the original Photoshop file of her flyer available to download via the Librarian Design Share Google Drive. (We’re just starting it up so there isn’t much in it right now.) Thanks, Maggie!

Now In Concert: Advertising Events in the Library

One of the challenges of advertising library events on college campuses is the non-stop barrage of publicity emails, flyers, posters, and announcements that fly around campus. Whether it’s the ultimate frisbee team’s bake sale fundraiser or the theater department’s latest dance performance, somewhere on campus someone is holding an event. The preponderance of “stuff” going on increases the need for targeted, engaging and attractive advertising for library events.

This is where our latest submission comes in.

Brandon Scheirman, Marketing and Graphic Arts Associate at the Pepperdine University Libraries, created a series of posters using Adobe Illustrator advertising a guitar students’ concert, a part of a monthly concert series held at the library.

Guitar Series Poster Blue

My library holds a monthly classical guitar concert in one of its rooms and my job was to create a series of posters that advertised these concerts in a clear and classy manner. I wanted to go for a little bit of a retro feel that brought color and bold images to the library, which is something that the library has struggled with. These posters have been widely recognized across campus and brought the events together as a cohesive series.

Guitar Series Poster Green

Brandon’s posters are a beautiful example of unifying different designs through the repetition of common elements. In this case, he maintains consistent use of typography and imagery by repeating the same font in different colors as well as the same guitar from different angles. The library logo remains unobtrusive but still present, letting the fantastic, bold poster design shine through.

Guitar Series Poster RedIf you’re interested in learning more about how these posters were created or obtaining a copy of the Illustrator files, please email Brandon Scheirman.

Let Us Know

Assessment isn’t easy, and sometimes the hardest part of measuring your effectiveness is getting patrons to take a survey.  When our library embarked on the LibQual survey last month, we had a goal to reach more patrons that we had in 2010.  We agreed that a marketing campaign was the best way to accomplish this, and that our catch-phrase would be “Let Us Know,” which is simple, but exactly what we wanted patrons to do.  So I got busy making designs to promote our LibQual.

Whenever I start to create something, I look for other examples out there for inspiration.  I found these amazing designs from a French library (and then of course I had to Google translate to understand the text!):



These marketing signs were unlike any others I had seen, and I knew I wanted to create something similar for our library.  In the designs above, you are asked if you prefer your library one way or another…I didn’t have a lot of staff to stage pictures, so I used the pictures we already have.  My designs don’t compare services, but each one does ask a question straight from the LibQual survey.



I placed eight different variations of this design around the library to catch patrons’ eyes, but to remain consistent in design and message.  I furthered our library “brand” by using orange, the color we use on our handouts, website, and instructional materials.  Our patrons are pretty used to seeing “library orange” these days.  To continue the message, we used the phrase, “Let Us Know” with an orange picture in emails to faculty, staff, and students, and we placed this banner on our website:


So how did it go?  Well, we increased our respondent rate by 25% from years past.  We can’t directly count the marketing for the increase, but I’d say it didn’t hurt.

What are you doing to promote your library?  Have you tried to market your LibQual survey?  Share your designs here with us!  And, if you would like the original Publisher documents to modify for your library, contact me.

Flood of Information

Sometimes when bad things happen, you brush them under the rug and pretend they never happened. Other times, you have to address them, embrace them, and then celebrate them. I’m so happy that our library did the latter after our leak last year. We were lucky to have the institution’s full support to repair our space. Once we did that, we decided to throw a party to recognize those who helped us and to welcome back our patrons.


When designing the invitations (above) for our celebration, our library felt that it was important to keep the theme very similar to that of the leak communications. As a group, we brainstormed ideas that would go with the droplet, and we came up with the idea of using an umbrella. It’s a protection device, and that’s what our role was during the leak–protecting both our collection and our patrons from harm. I presented the following designs to the library to vote on:


I used clipart umbrellas from Microsoft Word, filling some with colors and changing the outline colors.  I combined the umbrella image with multiple clipart rain droplets that I previously used.  This design was OK, but it felt like the library had endured more of a flood than just a few drops of water…so I used the curvy line drawing feature in Publisher to insert a “flood” that runs to the umbrella.  Our staff overwhelmingly voted for the flood rather than the drops, and they liked the simpler umbrella best, so we had an icon for our party invitation and publicity efforts.

This design opened a floodgate of ideas (sorry for the pun, but get ready for a lot more to come!).  We decided our party would include a self-guided “Flood of Information” tour, which would highlight the different spots in the library that were affected, as well as connect those spots to a fact about our services.  Each station, named after songs that we thought exemplified the experience, was an exhibit: we had a tape line that showed how far the water flooded; we displayed damaged books; we had pictures and videos from the leak; and we showed a video about disaster recovery.  The five stations were easily found with a map that was coordinated to blue paper droplets taped to the floor.  Below is the two-sided map we distributed to our guests (and I won’t even go into the boring details of making the map, although it probably took longer than any other part of the design!).


To make our party even more personalized, after the tour, we invited guests to enjoy homemade cookies that all of us on staff had baked.  It was a warm welcome back for our patrons and a real celebration of our successful recovery.

If you are interested in any of the designs above to modify for your own recovery or celebration, let me know.

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