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Publicizing Social Media Accounts

Follow the Michigan Tech Archives on Social Media - bookmark side twoLike so many libraries and archives, the Michigan Technological University Archives was trying to publicize their Twitter account to their campus community. Their solution? A web advertisement on the library homepage and a great bookmark. Sawyer Newman, Communications and Research Assistant at Michigan Tech’s J. Robert Van Pelt and John & Ruanne Opie Library, created the bookmark to publicize the Archive’s new Twitter account and remind patrons of their other social media accounts.

Side one of the bookmark (above) is also a digital slide within the library and on the library’s homepage. Side two (left) includes all of the Archive’s social media accounts for the community to follow.

You can find the PDF version of this bookmark along with the original Photoshop and Illustrator files on the Librarian Design Share Google Drive.

A One Button Studio How-To

Penn State University has created an game-changing resource for educators and students interested in creating high-quality videos: One Button Studio. This studio room + tech app set-up has been replicated at several colleges, universities, and libraries, including the University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Library. Today’s post features One Button Studio instructional handouts/flyers by Randal Sean Harrison, Emerging Technologies Librarian at the Hesburgh Library. Created using Adobe Illustrator, Randal’s flyer design and accompanying LibGuide are extremely helpful to libraries and institutions building or contemplating a One Button Studio installation.

Continue reading “A One Button Studio How-To”

The Anti-All-Nighter

As we continue to make our way through finals week and the end of another academic semester, it’s clear that you are doing some amazing outreach work at your libraries. Earlier this week we shared the emerging trend of The Finals Fairy, a benevolent creature whose power lies in its ability to bring sugary snacks to stressed out students. A bit less magical, but just as effective, are libraries that seek to help take some of the stress out of the end of the semester with study break activities and research and writing help.

Ashley Chassé at the Boston College O’Neill Library did an amazing job promoting her library’s Anti-All-Nighter program with this lovely poster. Here’s Ashley discussing her design:

Continue reading “The Anti-All-Nighter”

Finals Week: It Has Arrived!

It’s that time of year again. The stress levels are high, the self-care activity is low, and college students everywhere could use an extra 8 hours in everyday. It’s final week, and if your library is anything like mine, it’s quiet and full of ultra-focused students.

Today’s design from Jess Burkhardt, Public Services Librarian at the DeSales University Trexler Library, was inspired by the work of librarians at Salisbury University, Michigan State University, and Lafayette College, who all worked hard to bring the magic of The Finals Fairy to their hard-working students.

Continue reading “Finals Week: It Has Arrived!”

Pop Up Research Desks

We all want to find ways to reach out to students and faculty who don’t regularly come to into the library.  Heather Darnell, Library Media Specialist at Northern Virginia Community College-Annandale, found a very cool way to do this: pop up research desks!

Continue reading “Pop Up Research Desks”

Sharing What We Do

There is no shortage of data to describe the work we do in libraries each year. The challenge is to use those numbers and statistics to paint a meaningful picture of our libraries’ values, missions, and goals, and how we work to accomplish them. Today’s post features a new academic librarian’s first attempt at making sense of data using a mashup of infographic styling and statistical charts.

Jess Burkhardt, Public Services Librarian at DeSales University’s Trexler Library created this design using Adobe Illustrator to share 2014-2015 library statistics with her campus community. Here’s Jess describing her design process:

This infographic was conceived in moment; my Director asked if I thought that students would find our annual statistics interesting in their current form on a library Libguide. “Sure, they might – if they find them at all,” I said, “but an infographic might go over better.”

And my infographic endeavors began. Though graphic design has my heart in a whole bunch of ways, I knew that there was a lot about design that I did not know. As I worked my way through an Adobe Illustrator course on Lynda.com I began considering what information to include and the design of the project. Graphical representation of our library proved difficult. I considered symbolizing each of our student workers, librarians, and databases, but each of my visualizations were unable to convey the extent of the information that we had collected. I drew many sketches on different sizes of paper and filled artboard after artboard with drawings in Illustrator just to find that my drawings of books looked exactly like Word art–a compliment that I did not readily accept.

This infographic went through many different phases. Images took a disproportionate amount of space, the message wavered between screechy and barely heard at all. After a lot of frustration and a looming deadline I decided to streamline what I had and came up with the final product. It is displayed throughout the Trexler Library, drew a lot of traffic to our Facebook page, and has been placed in our annual report.

This project excites me because it has introduced me to the world of Adobe Illustrator and Library Design Share. I’m excited to be joining your community and am already considering my next design project!

We’re excited to share Jess’ design. If you have any questions about it, you can contact her via email, or leave a comment below.

Reference Collection in Need of a Boost

If your library’s reference collection is anything like ours, it’s likely:

  • underused
  • overlooked
  • full of fantastic info that makes librarians drool

My fantastic colleague, Amanda VerMeulen, recently created a series of shelf signs to try to draw attention to our in-need-of-more-than-a-little-love reference collection.

Continue reading “Reference Collection in Need of a Boost”

MOAR ACRL Posters — This is the end, folks

April and I are wrapping up our series on stellar conference posters today with some wonderful submissions. We hope you’ve enjoyed it. It’s such a tricky medium, and I think the more examples we can see of good work, the better the quality of posters at professional conferences will become.

Data Management and Broader Impacts: A Holistic ApproachTitle: Data Management and Broader Impacts: A Holistic Approach
Presenter: Megan N. O’Donnell, Scholarly Communications and Science & Technology Librarian, Iowa State University Library

Megan’s poster is available via the Digital Repository at Iowa State University. Here’s what she had to share about her design process:

I wanted my poster to be bold, easy to understand, and fun. Since the topic was likely to be unfamiliar to some of the conference attendees, I also needed to accommodate some wordy bits for context. The layout was the most time consuming part – I had everything I wanted pretty early but getting it all to fit and look good took a long time. The wordy bits took up more room than expected but that’s partly because they were in 45 point font as I wanted it to be readable at a distance. This meant losing some valuable space but it was needed. I did save some time by using icons from Microsoft and Icons8.com though I did tweak, combine, and recolor everything on the poster because I was sticking to a limited color pallet. I guess the last thing I should mention is that this is a BIG poster. It measures at 7.5 by 3.5 feet. I did this on purpose. I like to maximize the space I’m given, but it also meant it was going to be expensive to print and a pain to travel with. In the end I decided to pay extra to have it printed on “polyfab” which is a thin vinyl like fabric that can be folded up and packed in a suitcase. My printing choices, while expensive, were worth it. The size of the poster was perfect –everything was readable–and the polyfab, while not without some quirks, was fantastic.

Growing a Sustainable Workshop Series

Title: Growing a Sustainable Workshop Series
Presenters: Chantelle Swaren, Assessment & Outreach Librarian and Nicole Tekulve, Team Lead, Information Commons, The University of Tennessee-Chattanooga

Chantelle and Nicole had buttons, y’all. BUTTONS!!!!! Here’s Chantelle talking about their design process:

Nicole started out sketching her idea for the poster in PowerPoint since she is most comfortable working in that program. After the design direction was established, Chantelle built the working file in Photoshop for more design flexibility and to ensure high-quality output.

We wanted to give a visual nod to the ACRL theme of sustainability while keeping the poster as crisp and readable as possible. To that end, we discarded photos and intricate images in favor of simple icons and limited text. We converted all images and other design elements to fall within our established palette: Pantone 158C, 575C, and white. Many of our images came from openclipart.org and pixabay.com which are great resources for icons and other images.

Throughout the process, we sought input from friends and colleagues, including design help  from Nicole’s partner who runs the silkscreen and design business Grand Palace. If you are working on a poster, our advice is to invite other people to critique your work; it usually improves the final product! After you’ve looked at the same design forever it helps to have a fresh set of eyes suggest minor tweaks (as an example- that’s how we ended up adding the green bar within our poster’s header, which helps to anchor the title).

We decided to print with PosterPresentations.com and chose the SuperSaver Student Special option – and we were thrilled with the quality. We resized our design to best fit the canvas-size offered;  we adjusted the content to maintain fidelity with our original design, and the new dimensions allowed us to maximize the use of white space.

ButtonsChantelle was kind enough to share the original Photoshop file of their poster, which is now available on the Librarian Design Share Google Drive folder.

 

 

 

 

 

dancingdogsTitle: Dancing, Dogs, and Disco Balls: Sustaining a happy library outreach community
Presenters: Kathy Anders, Graduate Studies Librarian, Stephanie Graves, Director of Learning and Outreach, Elizabeth German, Instructional Design Librarian, Texas A&M University Libraries

Elizabeth German describes how the librarians from Texas A&M created their poster (and how it almost looked like a disco floor!):

The design process really started with the content. We had a couple brainstorming meetings drawing out ideas for what we wanted and we knew that we wanted to have a “happy” poster that embodied the same spirit of our outreach program.  At one point we thought about replicating a disco floor with the different squares being different sections of our poster. But things didn’t start taking shape until we had written everything that we wanted to be on the poster and then we tried to fit it into our design ideas, the dance floor just wasn’t big enough. The idea of a dance pattern just came to me in the middle of the night and we really liked the idea of the movement it implied. Again conceptually, we thought the different points might be inside the shoes of the dance pattern but once we were working with the content, it wasn’t going to work. In the end, I kept fiddling with the content and arrived at this design.

In terms of technology, we went old school and used PowerPoint. It’s a classic and has staying power for a reason. I used Photoshop to manipulate the photos. We don’t have administrative access on our computers, so if you want to install a font you have to send in a help desk ticket every time. I’ve gotten around that (with permission!) by having them install SkyFonts. It’s software that allows you to download whichever Google Fonts you’d like and so that way I had more creative control over the look of the poster. We used Wordle.net to create the wordle. For the data illustrations, we weren’t happy with the excel charts so I created those in PowerPoint. I think if I had more time, that is the one thing I would have gone back to fuss with more.

Take-aways:

  • Don’t sacrifice your content for the design
  • Let go of great ideas when they don’t work.
  • Try creating your own illustrations for data (instead of using Excel’s).

 

 

Spotted at ACRL: Posters, Part 2

When looking for the latest trends in services and cutting-edge technology, you should head to the Poster Sessions of any conference. Beyond introducing you to new concepts, you get to connect with the poster creators and really hear the story behind their research.  Through this series of posts, we hope to bring the virtual poster session experience to you.  Here are a few more of our faves from ACRL:

lisa support tickets

Title: Support Ticket Systems and Reference: New Opportunities, New Challenges, New Service Models
Presenter:  Lisa Campbell, Digital Learning Services Librarian, University of Michigan Library

Here’s Lisa discussing her design process and best practices for poster making and presenting:

I’m often facing limited time and frequent interruptions when working on conference materials. Design constraints help me to work efficiently and manage my stress. Starting work on this poster, I knew I wanted to fill the allotted space (a whopping 4×8 display board) and to use limited fonts, colors, and shapes.For the text, I picked Myriad Pro, which we use for many library communications. Sometimes I’ll seek fancier choices (I like Google Fonts, Font Squirrel, and dafont.com), but here, I wanted a font with which I was familiar. For the palette, I isolated 3-4 colors from a graphic I liked. These became swatches in Illustrator.

I took layout cues from my original poster proposal. I pulled 1-2 key points from each paragraph and pondered how to communicate them visually. I settled on a simple grid with a timeline, screenshots, and key takeaways. I sourced icons from The Noun Project and paid a licensing fee to use them without attribution. Then, I spent hours futzing with Illustrator until–voila!–the poster was done.

If you’re looking to create better posters, I encourage you to inventory your available resources (skills, support, software, printers, budget, etc.) and to let those, along with any guidelines you’ve been given, inform your design decisions. Any poster can be effective so long as its informative, organized, legible, and to-the-point.
And don’t forget to figure out how you’ll transport your poster. Were it not for some very last-minute magic involving a coworker, a hacksaw, a roll of duct tape, and two poster tubes, mine would not have made it to Portland.

nicole acrlTitle: Write Now: Supporting Student Success by Partnering with the Writing Center
Presenter:  Beth Anderson Schuck, Director, College of Southern Nevada Library Service, Nicole Sandberg, Reference & Instruction Librarian, College of Southern Nevada Library Services

Nicole discusses their design process:

We opted for a ‘flow-chart’ look because we thought that would reflect the fact that the project has been an evolutionary process and not just a static idea.  We supplemented that information with the pie charts to illustrate the differences between when students visit the Writing Center versus the Writing Center in the Library.

Based on Beth’s expertise from multiple previous poster sessions, we made the text as large as possible so that it could be read from far away.  For this reason, we kept the amount of text to a minimum and we also felt this encouraged people to ask us questions, which we wanted.  We thought a nice background image would enhance our theme, and found a simple image related to writing from Microsoft PowerPoint templates that blended well enough into the background.  Finally, the blue font and the box background (lower right corner) and the yellow box (lower left corner) closely match CSN’s school colors.

Strengthening Information Literacy  Collaboration Title: Strengthening Information Literacy Collaboration Between Library and Faculty Through a Faculty Associate Program
Presenters: Dorothy Ryan, Sarah Sagmoen, Nancy Weichert, Brookens Library, University of Illinois Springfield
Poster Librarian Designer: Janelle Gurnsey, Outreach & Communications Coordinator, Brookens Library, University of Illinois Springfield

Here’s a bit from Janelle about her process:

1. Content is King: You can design something beautiful regardless of the content. Come up with a good concept for your poster and then think about the design. The librarians created the content and I provided the design. It was in every sense a team effort.
2. Consider the Source: Things I take into consideration are, What am I designing? For what purpose? For whom? The poster on the Brookens Library Faculty Associate Program needed to represent the Library and the University, be professional, clean and easy to read. I used University branding standards to drive the design. I chose bright colors from the identity stamp to give an otherwise simple design a bit of punch. I created the original file in Illustrator .
Advice I would give to those with less of a design background is to use their librarian skills to look for things they know they like and then creatively emulate the principles of those designs.

A Meeting of the Minds

Title: A Meeting of the Minds: Multi-Office Collaboration for Grant Funding and Services
Presenters: Beth Stahr, Head of Reference/Instruction and Eric Johnson, Library Director, Southeastern Louisiana University

In designing our poster, we referred back to the abstract we submitted to ACRL to make sure that we incorporated all the original ideas in our proposal. The steps for collaboration with other campus agencies were the main information points to convey on the poster, so that block of text was located in the center. However, to make the poster more visually appealing, we considered the words in our title, and sought an eye-catching graphical representation of our theme. The words in our title that mattered were: minds, collaboration, funding, and services. As librarians always do, we identified key words for these concepts: brains, money and the use of arrows to show the input of multiple agencies working together. The four color-tinted brains, each representing a different campus agency, were placed on the left side of the poster, and worked together to bring funds, represented by a pot of gold, into the institution, represented by a classical style building. To depict the library’s “services,” we placed a photo of attendees and several slides from our training sessions on the right hand side of the slide. We added the results of a survey of participants to depict the assessment of our training.

While we created this design, we are fortunate to have both artistic and technical expertise at our University’s Center for Faculty Excellence. Their staff helped with font, spacing and color selection and suggested the gradated blue background. The Center also has a large poster printer available for faculty who create posters for conferences. Our poster was created in MS PowerPoint and then re-sized for the Epson Stylus Pro 9800 44-inch roll-paper color inkjet printer. We recommend that someone with an eye for graphic design review any poster to be displayed at a conference.

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