Edmonton Public Library: Spread the words.

Today the Edmonton Public Library (EPL) introduced its new brand, which includes a new logo, brand promise, and shared values. The rebranding is the result of more than six months of work, which included research, design, and some deep thought about what EPL is all about.

Why rebrand?

After a series of personnel changes throughout 2009, EPL found itself with a brand new communications team, led by Tina Thomas. Drawing on her experience in the private sector at companies like Nortel, Tina started to examine EPL’s branding. What she found was that although usage statistics were good, EPL wasn’t growing its user base, and it was stuck with the common misconception that books were the only offering. And although the different branches were nicely integrated behind the scenes, Tina and her team found that many people didn’t realize they were part of the same library.

The rebranding aims to increase EPL’s appeal, recognition, and profile in the community. It’s a single, consistent, and unifying brand identity.

Where to begin?

One of the most important steps in the rebranding process was the creation of a Shared Values Wheel. The core value, passionate about sharing, is in the centre of the wheel, and it is encircled by two rings with the rest of EPL’s values, like ideas champion, open, human, and unrivaled value. Tina told me that once they had figured out the wheel, everything else seemed to come together quite nicely.

The new brand!

Through research, EPL found that many people considered the old logo to be cold, boring, forgettable, and similar to clip art. The new logo better reflects the idea that EPL is about more than just books – “five simple bars can mean a great deal.” It’s modern, fun, and can be transformed in a variety of ways (as you’ll see below). I really like that it moves away from the very obvious book.

The brand promise, spread the words, embodies EPL’s values, which are centered around sharing; not just books, but also music, DVDs, ideas, etc.

EPL provides an exceptional service to Edmonton. It’s worth talking about and sharing. Spread the words is a call to action to this.

Starting tomorrow, you’ll see the new logo and branding everywhere. Sixty-five buses around the city will carry the new ads, and there will be a series of creative TV spots too. Even the library cards themselves will reflect the new branding, and there’s of course reusable tote bags, mugs, and all the usual things you’d expect. Here’s one of the commercials:

Perhaps the most important update will be to the website. In early May, it’ll be updated not only with the new branding, but with a modern look and dramatically improved navigation and layout. Built using Drupal, the new website will enable better integration with the EPL catalogue in the future. EPL worked with Donovan Creative on the rebranding (see their press release here).

Physical signage at the Stanley Milner library downtown will be changed right away. The rest of the branches will be changed as upgrades are required over time.

Launch events!

EPL is launching the new brand with, appropriately, a shared experience. Tomorrow at 6:30pm in Churchill Square, you’re invited to take part in the MP3 Experiment (on ShareEdmonton):

Ever heard of an MP3 Experiment? Think of it as a giant, updated version of the game "Simon Says" …all you need to participate is an MP3 player (iPod, etc.) and headphones. Here’s how it works: anyone visiting spreadthewords.ca can download an MP3 file onto their portable MP3 player. On the day of the experiment (without listening to the MP3 file ahead of time), participants gather at a prescribed public location and at a pre-determined time all push play. Hilarity ensues as participants carry out ridiculous, coordinated instructions delivered to their headphones via an omnipotent narrator and everyone else tries to figure out what the heck is going on.

It’s going to be a lot of fun! Head over to the website, download the MP3, and follow the instructions on the right side.

After the MP3 experiment, EPL is showing an audience participation version of The Princess Bride at the Stanley Milner library (on ShareEdmonton). The show starts at 7:45pm, and participants are encouraged to bring noisemakers, blowing bubbles, and bells, among other things!

There’s much more planned for the weeks ahead as well, including a membership drive and sticker campaign. Stay tuned to @EPLdotCA on Twitter for updates. And don’t miss Brittney’s excellent post on the Spread the Words campaign!

Congratulations to EPL on the new brand!


11 thoughts on “Edmonton Public Library: Spread the words.

  1. I do like the new logo better than the old, but it’s still kind of boring and generic. Also, Helvetica? Really? Anyways, I’m really looking forward to the changes on the website, and the mp3 experiment sounds fun!

  2. Brutal. 6 months to develop a brand as basic as this? And for how much money?! The solution is an obvious one and was not executed well at all. Even if the Library stuck with their old logo concept – update the colour palette and typography – I’m sure it would be much more successful. What a waste, our Library deserves better.

  3. Do you have any suggestions on how it could be done better? If not Helvetica, what other font should have been used? What was the obvious solution and how could it have been executed better?

    I like the brand, it works and it is much more progressive and trendy. The old brand made the library look plain and stuffy, this one has vibrant color and catchy phrases – no problems here 🙂

  4. I gotta agree with Anne on this one. Helvetica is a default choice for anyone that just can’t pick a font. Yes it has its place, but this is not it.

    They are trying to get people excited about reading and excited about visiting the library, and, though I think the animated ads are cute, the logo is definitely falling short. There is nothing about it that is clever or makes you think “oh, I wish I had created that logo!” and that is what I am always looking for when I see a new brand.

    Not up to par, and definitely not worth the cash spent.

  5. The EPL obviously only sprang for $$ for rebranding. They did zero, zip about their hideous website. That is still the old ridiculous one that serves no one.

    Why didn’t they go all the way?

  6. I heard that the EPL cheapskates gave them six weeks to implement, and refused to implement the whole deal. WTF?

    So we are seeing 1/4 of what was proposed. The EPL officials were behind the eight-ball on this one.

    Look at that dorky substandard website. Finish the job, EPL.

  7. Not sure what you are talking about J or who you are talking to but you’ve got your facts incorrect. Our new website is in development and will be launched this summer as the post above states.

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