Putting the “Public” Back in Library

Located in downtown Princeton, the new public Library needed to continue to draw a strong member base and compete with the ever-growing popularity of large chain bookstores. They also need to avoid any confusion with the nearby Princeton University library. The architectural solution was to make the new building retail in concept—with lounge seating, music listening stations and a coffee bar—and the environmental graphic design package follows this approach.

The new brand includes an icon of a person reading a book, emphasizing the “public” in public library, while the simple typography depicts the library as a friendly and approachable environment. The icon portion of the logo has been adapted for use in the identification of the library store and on merchandise for sale in the store. To identify the different sections of the library, the interior signage incorporates photographs of people reading, listening and engaging in other activities related to the library’s resources.

The library has become the heart of downtown, fulfilling the vision of civic leaders, city residents, designers and library staff.

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