KENT: A new look and a new logo are both part of what Kent Free Library executive director Stacey Richardson hopes contributes to a new attitude and public perception for the library.
A new, more modern logo for the library went into use at the beginning of March and the mailing of its quarterly newsletter on March 1 provided Kent residents with their first look at the new image.
"I have felt since I started a year and a half ago that the library needed a new, fresh logo and a fresh start, something that was much more vibrant, contemporary and colorful and represented the new vision we had," Richardson explained.
Richardson took over the executive director post when Carmen Zampini stepped down, assuming the post in June 2011. She realized quickly that she wanted to change the way the library was perceived and the role it played from the more traditional library into a place with an active role in the community.
Zampini served as executive director for 38 years, so the transition to Richardson represented the library's first shift in leadership and vision in nearly four decades.
The first major step in that process was the development and passage of a new strategic plan, which was approved by the library's board of directors last year. From there, the process of designing the new logo began in earnest and Richardson entered the process with a clear idea of what she wanted.
Joseph Hughes of the creative design firm North Coast Zeitgeist designed the new logo, which features a modern-looking letter "K" on the left, the library's name in orange lettering to the right and the tag line "For the people" below in grey lettering. The tag line is part of a quote on the exterior of the Carnegie building at the library, a quote that reads, "Free for the people."
Deciding to create a new logo came in part from anecdotal evidence library staff members relayed about their interactions with patrons, with many of the stories suggesting it might be time to update the library's reputation as merely a giant hall of books where people had to be quiet and studious all of the time and silence was the norm.
"We are looking to project a more 21st century vision of the library as a real community gathering place instead of this quiet place where people are getting 'shushed' and the logo represents that plan to move out into the community more with that message," Richardson said.
Another interesting aspect of the new logo is the design of the “K” that stands alone on the left side. It is designed to represent the dual-faceted nature of the library's offerings for patrons, which have grown to include not only tradition media such as books, magazines and DVDs, but also e-books.
"It's exactly what I wanted in a logo; something colorful, friendly and vibrant," Richardson explained. "The 'K' is supposed to look like both a book and a laptop opening up and to represent that blend and balance of traditional and modern technology."