Copenhagen children’s library logo or why local councils should invest in branding


Creating a logo for a library often turns into a children’s community project, where the results of a school based competition result in a well meaning and serviceable logo that has that “can’t be criticised because it was done by a kid” kinda feel.

With 600 libraries closing in the UK since 2009 and another 400 at risk by 2016 (Guardian) offering new services and finding alternative funding is becoming paramount.

I’ve noticed a number of “you decide” budget balancing tools going around by local councils where using monochrome tools to attempt to balance the councils future budget by allocating services to and from the various sectors.

Here’s a link to my county councils “YouChoose” on YouGov. These miserable applications I guess are trying to help you understand why the council is needing to cut certain services and trying to play your hand on which services you’d rather see go. So Children’s child protection verses Libraries? Social Care vs Recycling?

And I say monochrome because there’s only so deep these can go, they don’t allow for improvements in efficiency, or perhaps cuts in Chief Exec pay, better procurement etc. The user ends up seeing things in black and white; Schools or Arts?

This is where we see services such as libraries at risk, they’re seen as “easy” to cut so cut they are.

I’m a massive believer in the idea that council services need to compete with commercial services. If you want kids to get off the sofa and stop playing X-Box then you need to be as persuasive as the X-Box marketeers. That’s why councils need to invest in marketing and promotion. But tax payers hate it when councils spend money on “logos”, so council services don’t, they brand internally and run competitions for school kids.

Then they’re surprised when the new logo or services doesn’t compete with the multitude of options a 21 century citizen has on offer.

In reality they shouldn’t be at all surprised.

So, around the houses to the new identity for Copenhagen’s Children’s Department, which is just perfect. Not only does the logo contain a face, but an ampersand (the finest of characters) too.

And the designers didn’t cut out the kids wholesale, rather supplying them with a set of cut out shapes to create collages and patterns, reflecting back their designs and creations in the final lockups. Indeed they favoured the children’s more simple designs over the more complex ones of the librarians.

It really is a wonderful identity, one for other libraries to keep in mind next time they approach their local primary for a new logo.

Danish design duo Hvass and Hannibal have created a cheerful identity system for the children’s department of Copenhagen’s central library, Hovedbiblioteket.

The identity is based on a modular system of basic shapes that can be mixed and matched to create various patterns. The idea, say Nan Na Hvass and Sofie Hannibal, is that children can interact with the system and make their own designs and stories.


Originally seen on the CR Blog »

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