New Logo Celebrates New Energy in Swarthmore Public Library’s 90th Year
The product of a hometown collaboration, the Swarthmore Public Library’s new logo reflects not only the library’s traditional role as a repository of knowledge and culture but also its modern day missions as a resource for users to read, meet, discover, and grow.
Longtime Swarthmore resident and library fan Amy Pollack, founder and creative director of communications firm Twist ‘n’ Shout, created the graphics package on an accelerated timetable, in time for the recent celebration of the Library’s 90th anniversary. The vision was clear, but the path was not completely so, said SPL Director Amber Osborne, recounted the revision and rebranding.
“The leaves in the old logo were used in many Swarthmore organization logos … which connected us to the community but didn’t share how unique and beloved the library is,” Amber said.” When we created our first strategic plan in 2017, I made sure to add refreshing the logo into our goals. With the library celebrating its 90th year, we thought now was a good time. To keep costs down, we first turned to a crowd sourcing website to create a logo, but none of them really spoke to us and we decided to go a different route. Luckily, Amy is a library supporter who was excited to create a design for her town library.”
Amy recalled taking Amber’s call in early spring: “They were six weeks away from their 90th anniversary. I was entering a very busy period and I know what it takes to do this kind of thing. I had a very nice conversation with Amber and said I’d have to sleep on it…but I already had ideas by the time I hung up the phone. I knew I was the right person to do it; I knew I could do it. I phoned back in the morning and said I’ll do it.”
Working with a small team comprising Amber, another SPL staff member, and two library trustees, Amy moved quickly. She has evolved an efficient collaborative process through work with a portfolio of clients, including some high profile nonprofit organizations like Senior Community Services, the Delaware County Literacy Council, and the Foundation for Delaware County. “You need to have a small group to guide the process, with the power to make decisions. After the earlier crowdsourcing process, they were able to articulate better what they wanted, and I was able to ask very pointed questions and get a clear direction, because I didn’t have time to mess around,” Amy said.
Early on, Amy said, “We had zeroed in on a concept: the library as a central hub in the town. Physically it’s in the center of things; it’s a hub in that books are just the beginning; it’s a gathering place; it’s all ages, it’s all year round.” The team wanted energy, color and vibrancy; they didn’t want it to look like other sleepy library logos. And they wanted it to reflect the connection of the library to the town. That’s where the four leaves came in. Amy said: “Read, meet, discover, grow – the 4 leaves are different colors, radiating in different directions like spokes from a wheel hub. I think this feels like Swarthmore.”
The resulting logo was delivered (on time!) in formats that are usable and recognizable in a variety of print and electronic uses. Amber and other library staff are effusive about the design: “This hub, visualized in the logo through the circular shapes, connects to the Swarthmore community through the leaves. The circle of books adds to the depth of the image and acknowledges the discovery and informational aspect of our work. We’re so pleased with our lively, colorful logo! Many thanks to Amy for her work on the library’s behalf.”