One of my goals when designing for libraries is to simplify the ad copy as much as possible. Libraries have so many great services to offer, but it can be a challenge to promote those services without overwhelming the public with information.
In these two ad examples, I focused on library benefits (targeted to specific users) and simplified as much as possible. The “What’s Online” ad is targeted to college students. Instead of listing all available library resources, I wanted to promote library online resources that can be used for school work (Mango Languages and eResources) and for entertainment (Kanopy and RBDigital).
The “Check It Out” ad is targeted towards parents. This ad features family services like the children’s center and teen activities, and the convenience of having eight locations across the county. The call to action for both ads is simple, visit us online at mesacountylibraries.org.
You’ll also notice that both ads highlight the social benefits and collaborative nature of the library. The “What’s Online” shows how the library can connect people anywhere, like a dorm room, via the website. The “Check It Out” ad shows how much fun families can have when discovering the joy of reading.
This social theme is something I try to work in as much as possible as it is an important function of 20th century libraries.
From the success of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe to the rise of comic conventions all across the world, nerd culture is taking over. I for one, could not be happier about it.
Mesa County Libraries Comic Con is an annual event that keeps growing year to year. Now in its fourth year, Comic Con is one of the largest events in Mesa County. I’ve been lucky to work on the organizational team from the start, aka Team Awesome, and get the chance each year to design the main poster art.
Like most children of the 80s and 90s, I grew up watching X-Men cartoons, X-Files, and playing video games. Those memories, plus the rise of throwback shows like “Ready Player One” and “Stranger Things,” inspired the design of this poster.
The arcade cabinets are heavily influenced by my time pumping quarters into games at Aladdin’s Castle in the Mesa Mall. Note the carpet detail, a design only found in arcades and perhaps bowling alleys.
Other throwback influences include Marty McFly’s jacket from “Back to the Future 2,” the lens flairs from “Poltergeist,” and one of my favorite video games “Street Fighter II.”
Special edition prints of the poster will be for sale at this year’s Comic Con. If you’d like to get your hands on one, message me and we can work something out.
970West Studio Lounge
I wrote this article for the Summer 2018 issue of Spoke + Blossom magazine.
Mesa County Libraries are challenging the definition of what a library is, and more importantly, what it can be for the community. Just like every library, they offer a wide selection of books and top-notch reference help, but outside of those core library services, Mesa County Libraries offer a radically different library experience than the one you probably grew up with.
For proof, look no further than the new Studio Lounge project.
Studio Lounge is focused on showcasing the area’s talented local musicians through high-quality video productions. Each month, a musician or band is invited to perform their original music at the 970West Studio, a multimedia production facility located at the Central Library campus in downtown Grand Junction.
Using the studio’s state-of-the-art equipment, each performance is captured in HD and then shared in the library’s digital collection and YouTube channel on the fourth Thursday of the month. The library also debuts the new featured artist during its “Library Beat” radio show KAFM Community Radio.
“I grew up watching MTV, and this recording experience made me feel like I was fulfilling my dream of having my own MTV Unplugged moment,” Charles King said. “As an artist, the opportunity to record your heart out in such an intimate setting and tell your story was a priceless experience.”
King, who performs under the name Chaz Roi, recorded three songs from his latest album “If Truth Be Told” during his session. The finished Studio Lounge videos were helpful in both promoting his album release party at the Mesa Theater and as assets when applying for music festival slots and larger shows.
Launched in January, Studio Lounge has featured local bands across a number of different genres. From Americana to R&B, bands Freeway Donna, The Fox & Hound Duo, Shaun Ray and Willie DeFord, and Chaz Roi have all been featured. All lounge videos are discoverable 24/7, and the library encourages bands to share them with their fans through social media.
The next two lounge performances have already been recorded and scheduled for release. Rockabilly trio The Tankerays will be the featured musicians in May, and metal band Sworn Us Under will be featured in June.
“970West gave us the best business card we could have ever hoped for,” Brian Mora, leader singer and guitars for the Tankerays, said. “Having a professional video is like having the ultimate press kit.”
Echoing the same sentiment as King, Mora also grew watching MTV and remembers watching his favorite music come to life through video. Now as a musician and featured Studio Lounge artist, Mora got to make his own video, an experience he called “instant magic.”
“It’s amazing to be able to help local musicians and showcase the capabilities of 970West Studio,” Studio Coordinator Adam Lopez said. “Studio Lounge is good exposure and it’s a new way for musicians to reach new and broader audiences.”
Read with the Rockies
Summer time means different things for different people. For some, it means hitting the road on a family vacation. For others, it’s a chance to catch a baseball game and route for your favorite team. At libraries across the country, summer means summer reading programs.
Libraries have traditionally hosted summer reading programs to prevent summer set-back. When kids are out of school they typically don’t read as much and therefore, lose valuable literacy skills.
To keep kids engaged with summer reading in Mesa County, the library partnered with the Colorado Rockies Grand Junction rookie club, the GJ Rockies, to create custom “Read” posters.
Featuring Corky the Coyote and future Colorado Rockies stars, the posters are free giveaways at a library sponsored minor league night game. This community collaboration is a fun way to promote reading, libraries, and the MLB. Some would even call it a home run.
Well Read Wine
When the Mesa County Libraries Foundation partnered with Grande River Vineyards in Palisade, Colorado to create a private label wine, it was obviously destined to be called “Well Read;” a pun so perfect there we no other choices.
“Well Read” is a, you guessed it, red wine from the award-winning winery in Western Colorado. Working on the labeling for this speciality blend was a fun and challenging project as the Foundation requested a label that was equally sophisticated and accessible to donors and wine enthusiasts.
Bottles of “Well Read” are used to fundraise for the library foundation and the artwork needed to appeal to donors without coming across as pretentious. Western Colorado is a more laid-back community with streaks of cosmopolitan flair.
The art is a simple, three-tone color scheme featuring a modern book shelf, calling back to both the library’s core purpose of reading and the geological “Bookcliffs” surrounding Mesa County.
The fun touches are my favorite, particularly the “Well Read” pronunciation guide and the wine’s description.
“Nurtured in the sunshine of knowledge, “Well Read’ embodies the bold flavors of learning, discovery, creativity, and connection, with exciting hints of innovation and a smooth finish of foresight. It pairs well with rich imagination and boundless curiosity, seasoned with adventure.”