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Simplifying the Copy Machine

Why are copy machines so hard to use?  It seems like the basic functions haven’t changed in years, yet every machine is different, and every one is overly complicated.  The relatively new machine at my library used to take 6 pages of directions to operate!  Even something as simple as placing the document on the glass surface to copy took this much direction:  scan from top glass

Because we apparently have no control over how difficult the machine is to use (press “finish” then “start”?!?), I attempted to at least simplify the directions.  Here is the same procedure as above, hopefully improved:

toscan

I used numbers (rather than Roman numerals) that correspond to the pictures on the side because I find that the images integrated into the directions are distracting. I also used simple colors and clearer images that I found from the online copier manual.  These directions are posted on the wall near our copier, so to improve the user experience from afar, I enlarged the text from the nearly-impossible-to-see 12-point font to an-easier-on-the-eyes 18-point and surrounded the words with a lot of white space.  It’s not the perfect solution (that would be magically making the copier more intuitive), but it works a little better than it did.

If you are interested in seeing more of these directions, email me for the Word document.

Miniature Marketing

medical librarian's month candy2

For Medical Librarian’s Month last year, I created labels to put on Hershey’s Miniatures.  I originally got the idea after receiving a box full of treats from Amigos Library Services for their online conference.  Amigos had affixed a sponsoring vendor sticker on each snack pack. I figured it would be pretty easy to recreate something like this for our library giveaways and special occasions, and that it would be an easy marketing opportunity.

I used Hershey’s Miniatures because they are fairly inexpensive and I knew they’d be about the same size as an Avery 5160 label (1″ x 2 5/8″, 30 labels per page).  Plus, everyone loves chocolate, right?  I used the labels feature in Word (under the Mailings tab) to create a tiny design that included our name, picture, and a tagline.  I did have to trim about 1/4″ off the edge of the labels to fit them length-wise on the little chocolate bars, but this was easily done with a paper cutter.  I stuck the labels on the flat side of the candy so that patrons would have to notice our message when unwrapping each piece.

I ended up creating three similar designs, and because I couldn’t choose which one that I liked best, I used them all.  Patrons commented about the slight difference in the designs as they were picking through the candy bowl, which meant that they had read the message…mission accomplished.  I’ve modified the design for other events since.

Contact me for the Word Avery label template.

Evolution of a Handout

Recently a coworker asked if I could help revise a handout she made.  Her handout was fine and the information was good, but she was looking for a more graphical representation.  She also didn’t like that the handout spanned two pages:

notetaking1

While we were discussing the updates needed, she mentioned that she really likes the way that Consumer Reports formats their product comparisons.  Since this is a handout comparing different tools for note taking, I tried to mimic their style and came up with this:

tools for notetaking2

I pared down some of the information to fit it to one page and kept the logos.  But it still wasn’t quite right.  I couldn’t get the chart to size like I wanted it to in Word, so I copied it to Publisher, which allowed me to customize my colors and stretch the margins for spacing so that the chart was more eye-catching and easier to read:

tools for notetaking3

How do you guys feel about handouts–should they be one-page only?

For the Publisher file of this document, contact April Aultman Becker.

Promoting Classes

class offerings

Sometimes the most basic information can be the hardest thing to represent graphically. This flyer was created to promote our regular library class offerings.  Like a lot of the pieces I make, I utilized more than one Microsoft Office program.  I created the chart in Word because I prefer it over Excel for building charts with a bunch of text, and then I copied the chart to a Publisher document so that I could play with the colors, lines, and layer the images, which is way easier to do in Publisher than Word.  I’m not going to lie; it took me forever to decide on the colors and to fit all that I wanted to say in the limited space to make it a half-page document (color printer guilt), but now that it’s done, we can revise and reuse it each semester.

If you are interested in the Publisher file for this document, contact April Aultman Becker.

Eye-catching eReader Display

eReader Petting Zoo sign eReader Types

Last spring our director purchased several different eReaders and a couple of iPads for the library. We weren’t sure what we were going to do with them at first, but we thought it might be fun to host an eReader Petting Zoo for the campus community. I created these two large posters, mounted them on foam board and set up a display with all of our devices at our circulation desk. We ended up getting a great response from students and faculty and now circulate Kindle eReaders to promote leisure reading.

This is actually a modified Word Newsletter template. For the original files, email Veronica Arellano Douglas.

Calling Out

callouts

I love call-outs, but I guess you can tell that from this flyer.  I find that the mix of screenshots, graphics, and step-by-step text works well with students for database instruction.  For the Word document, email April Aultman Becker.

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