September 21, 2017

Hartford Public Library Rebrands Themselves

Another library has taken branding by the horn and made it their own. Hartford Public Library has just launched a new website, a new logo (in June), a series of videos and collateral to put a stake in the ground about what it means to be a 21st century library.  Here’s their before and after logos:

I first saw their video and was impressed by the good work. So I called up Matt Poland, CEO of HPL, and asked him to give me the back story about their new logo and the video. 

Here are some of his thoughts.

Their work started with the challenging question of: “what is the library of the 21st century?” They had just opened a beautiful new facility that took ten years to build. But over that time, the library brand has shifted dramatically. So they started to think.

The key was to work on new strategic plan which would require a whole rebranding campaign. They started talking with people about the future of the library, and the notion of library as gathering place was underscored again and again. Even to the point where they heard:  it’s a place to grapple with the issues that face us…like this one!

So as they started to think about a new logo and identity they kept coming back to the idea of place. That led to the development of the image of a staircase (in the logo) and the tag:  a place like no other – place to dream, look for work, be educated, thrive together, build a great relationships …this is what the library is becoming. 

They developed this brand statement: 

Hartford Public Library provides an innovative mix of accessible and enriching resources that empower and inspire individuals, drive literacy and fuel cultural development.

Through its physical and virtual spaces HPL extends unique, welcoming and reliable platforms that encourage discovery, confidence and growth.

In its commitment to the community, HPL plants the seeds that will cultivate long-lasting opportunities for a prosperous social, cultural, financial and educational future 

Matt was also generous enough to send some of their strategic planning documents that drove their decisions. They are simple, visually powerful and successful. Clearly they have been thoughtful and very strategic.

Matt offered his contact information in case any of you would like to pursue this further with him: mpoland@hplct@org. Good stuff!

Alison Circle About Alison Circle

Alison Circle is director of marketing communications for Columbus Metropolitan Library. Previously she was an Account Director at Jack Morton Worldwide, a global branding agency, and her primary client was Target Stores. Prior to that she was the National Marketing Director for Minnesota Public Radio and "A Prairie Home Companion with Garrison Keillor." She has advanced degrees in English and Fine Arts, and is a recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant.