Ohio University Libraries walked away with two awards from the American Library Associations’ (ALA) PR Xchange. The competition, held annually, recognizes the best original designs of public relations materials produced by libraries. This year, the awards will be presented in Washington, D.C. on Sunday, June 23, 2019 during the ALA Annual Conference.
The American Library Association is considered one of the oldest (1876) and most prominent library associations in the world. According to ALA’s PR Xchange, “Entries are evaluated on content, originality, and design by a team of experts in public relations, graphic design, communications and marketing.”
Given in recognition of outstanding achievement in the category of materials promoting collections, services and resources, Ohio University Libraries won the award for its deck of playing cards designed by alumnus (2018) Chance Brinkman-Sull, graduate student in graphic design in Visual Communications (back of cards); and Heaven Herrold, library support specialist, who is completing her undergraduate studies in graphic design in the School of Fine Arts and Design (face of cards).
“I designed the face of the cards, and he [Brinkman-Sull] designed the back of the cards. So, it took me about three months to complete [the entire project],” explains Herrold.
As with all creative processes, none of the design work just happened. There was a lot of process work that went into completing the project.
“I think I did 50 different iterations of the design for the [face of the] Alden cards. Some were crazy looking, and some were more simplistic and not as extravagant. And then once we narrowed that down, I had to come up with the custom icons. So, I did 10 different iterations of icons, and then we narrowed that down,” said Herrold.
There was a real collaboration in the creative process of designing these unique playing cards highlighting the Libraries with the ultimate goal of providing information to undergraduate students about the Libraries’ resources, spaces and services.
“Jessica [Hagman, social media coordinator and subject librarian for Scripps College] is good with visual communications…I produced it, and she helped keep it clean. I worked with Kelly [Broughton, assistant dean for research & education] mostly …to make sure the wording was not confusing,” explains Herrold.
The creative spirit, of course, came from the designers—but for Herrold that passion for design first began to shine with her mom.
“I remember when I was very little, I was about five, and she would walk me through art galleries. I remember seeing all the art there…and I fell in love with design.”
Congratulations to the team of librarians and designers who brought this project from idea to award-winning cards. The cards are being distributed this year to the students at Bobcat Student Orientation. Be sure to view more images on Instagram.
The Libraries’ other award was in the external communications category for “Timeless Treasures from Alden Library: Ohio University Libraries Annual Calendar,” designed by Mark Krumel, senior director of marketing services for University Communications and Marketing. The intended audience for the annual calendar is University Libraries’ donors.
Krumel, who has worked as both a commercial and academic designer for over 40 years, has won quite a few local and national awards throughout his long and successful career.
“I feel very fortunate to do what I studied in school. There are a lot of people who do not have that opportunity. They go to school for one thing and then graduate and end up doing something totally different. So, I always try to reflect on that, and I think, ‘I am pretty lucky to be doing this thing’—no matter what degree of creativity I get to have in it,” explains Krumel.
So where does someone like Krumel, with extensive design experience, go to trigger inspiration?
“I always think you need to begin with the written word. If someone gives me a problem to solve, I need to either talk through it with someone, or I listen to the words they use. And sometimes [it’s] just them talking through something, or [they’ve] given me the copy, and the title of the piece starts to spur that idea,” said Krumel. “But for me at least, there is no true original idea. I have designers who I [have] always looked up to, so I either have some of their books, or work… and flip through those and a lot of time I get inspiration from their styles or their type of work that I have seen.”
As was true for student designer Herrold, successful collaboration is the key to good communication and design work, which is true for all good designers.
“For me, I always enjoy collaboration with someone. Or someone, like you [author of story who has worked with Krumel for over a decade], who has a deep-rooted understanding of words. And I think that is where all creativity starts—[with] the written word. Then from there, you develop images and design.”
Krumel, who will be retiring from OHIO June 30, 2019, has these words of advice for future graphic designers seeking that nugget to success.
“I think a lot of times people do not know what they want until they see something they don’t want. When I was younger that was frustrating for me. But now that I understand that this is how people understand things, and how they process things—I don’t have a problem with it. I always think, ‘Give them a number of ideas, rather than just one.’ … [but always] keep an open mind.”
Krumel continues by saying, “It has been a joy and pleasure working with you and the dean [Seaman]…Whenever we had meetings with folks [from the Libraries] who I did not work with on a regular basis, same thing: they would come in with open minds and be ready for anything I pretty much presented…and a lot of times that is fun for a designer.”