A new identity for Copenhagen children’s library

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

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.

Before deciding on the final design, Hvass and Hannibal tested the identity on schoolchildren in two workshops. At the library, they left children to play with cut out shapes and stick them to the window of the building, before returning to see what they had made. They also visited a third grade classroom and asked ten to twelve-year-old students to rate a series of logo designs.

“The result was very surprising – the children generally prefered the more simple designs, whereas the librarians prefered the more complex ones with lots of details. So in the end we decided on keeping the logo very simple with the possibilty of adding details when combining it with more of the identity’s shapes,” they told CR.

Hvass and Hannibal are hoping the identity will be used on a range of merchandise, as well as around the building.

“We are hoping we’ll be able to print a sticker sheet with the forms on so kids can use them on their notebooks, back packs or wherever they like! The plan is also to create canvas bags, t-shirts etc and to have foil on the windows so the identity can be implemented in many ways,” they added.

With so many European libraries facing closure – more than 200 were shut in the UK last year – it’s vital that they present themselves as exciting places to meet up, have fun and be inspired. Hvass and Hannibal’s identity system is bold, playful and engaging, and it should appeal to older readers as well as infant ones.

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