Get the Look and Feel Consistent

This section covers:

  • Assessing whether your promotional materials are a coherent package
  • Ensuring you have a recognisable library style/brand
  • Making the key message/s clear and consistent

It’s easy to find yourself with a range of promotional concepts, tools and materials that are sound in themselves but, because they lack consistency, result in a confusion of messages. A consistent look, language and labelling presents a more readily perceptible and professional message to users.   Each piece of ‘collateral’ should have a clear aim implicit in its design. Is the primary purpose intended to be creating awareness? Or is it a guide to use?   Aim to get across one key message, not many.

Action:  Draw from the following:

  • If your “health check” suggested your existing promotional or explanatory material is varying in style, quality, labelling or description then set up a small, creative group to impose a common look and message for existing and planned new resources.
  • Consistent layouts and styles may be used for different target groups – vary only content and images. One way to ensure consistency is to develop (through consensus!) and “brand guidelines”. In larger libraries these could be part of a promotions manual; in smaller, a one-pager on what to use may be sufficient (logos, font, colours, materials, etc.). Your suite of material should be clearly related in look, labelling, presentation of content, writing style and terminology.
  • For each promotion, the length, emphasis and depicted context of each kind of promotional format (the ‘collateral’) may vary but the core message (of the content, value, use, relationship to need, etc) should not. So the newspaper media release will vary from the Facebook post but the key message should be the same.
  • Ask a range of staff and/or users to review drafts of all new material. Take account of their responses to the message and whether it appeals. Ask them what they think the key message is. Then redraft until it is consistent. Poorly designed material is a turn off, may impede the message and is certainly not cost-effective. Take account of a range of potential preferences – don’t let one staff member impose their design ethic if it is going to be at odds with likely user perceptions or tastes.

Get professional input or production on the design side if you can afford it. If not borrow examples from other libraries or any service organisation. Many government agencies provide good models these days – evaluate the government reports and brochures on your library shelves.