By Linda Hazzan | Toronto Public Library
When Toronto Public Library asked Torontonians for input into our current strategic plan, one of the things we heard very clearly from our customers was that they like what we do (Torontonians love their library), but not always how we do it. And so, we embarked on an 18-month journey to dive deep into that insight, to understand from our customers what would make an exceptional customer experience, and how we might deliver on that.
The process we undertook we called Toronto Public Library Experience 360 (TPLX360), an immersive and interactive process that engaged thousands of Torontonians (including library staff), in-person and online, asking them how the library can evolve and activate a transformed customer experience and visual identity.
This consultation and engagement was fundamental to our branding process, and important for several reasons: First and foremost, it informed our choices and outcomes. It also helped to educate and inform our many library stakeholders about their library, the transformation we’ve been undergoing, and the need for modernization and change to our customer experience and brand. Finally, like all rebranding initiatives, we wanted to make sure that our many library stakeholders could relate to and embrace our final brand transformation – customers and customers to be, staff, partners, and the many others who feel ownership of and commitment to the TPL brand.
Signalling our transformation and better supporting our customers’ experiences
The Library’s previous visual identity was established in 2002, shortly after amalgamation, when seven former public library systems in the City of Toronto merged to form one system. The identity consisted mainly of a logo, some typeface guidelines, and a limited colour palette.
After more than a decade of changes that have marked the Library’s evolution as a vital community resource that empowers Torontonians to thrive in the digital age and global knowledge economy, TPL’s visual identity system had not kept pace with the Library’s transformation. The previous system pre-dated many of the innovations that lend unique value to the services TPL now delivers. So, it was challenged to support the Library’s growing physical and digital presence and influence in Toronto, and all the different ways audiences interact with it. We needed a flexible, modern and compelling visual identity system that reflected our changing role, signalled our transformation and provided greater accessibility by TPL’s diverse audiences through the growing number of channels we use to reach and serve them.
The new identity system also addresses some very practical issues the library was having with its previous identity, including greater functionality on digital platforms and with new media. The new identity is designed for movement and animation, and very practically speaking, having an acronym and clean, scalable typography make this new system so much more digital friendly in general.
To see the new brand in action, and to read more about its design, visit tpl.ca/activate.
Continuing public engagement through the brand rollout
As with the whole brand development process, we want to use the rollout of the brand as an opportunity to help Torontonians understand the transformation their library has been undergoing, and engage them in the many things it has to offer. Our goal is to inform, engage, surprise and delight. In addition to the brand rollout across our digital and physical channels over the coming months, here’s some of what’s happening this fall:
Delivered in partnership with the TTC, the “Activate Your Commute” campaign showcases the library’s extensive digital content, promotes the value of library cards and provides a great opportunity to introduce our new visual identity. It offers commuters access to free librarian-curated e-books that they can read while they ride. The website tpl.ca/ttcreads provides free samples of e-books that can be accessed both by library card holders and non-library card holders.
Campaign creative is running across TTC physical and digital spaces for a minimum of two months, and will also include activations at select subway stations to promote the campaign and encourage library card registrations. TPL is also partnering with BAI, which operates TConnect subway wi-fi service, with their welcome and sign-on pages promoting the campaign.
TPL officially announced the launch of its brand on September 3 on our website and social media platforms, along with a cover take-over of Star Metro, featuring a message from the City Librarian highlighting the library’s ongoing transformation. To complement and amplify this messaging, a broadsheet insert appeared in the Saturday September 7 Toronto Star, telling the story of the library and the value of a library card. Also featured in the insert is an oversized map of Toronto that situates all 100 of the library’s branches across the city, and invites readers to explore an online, interactive map (tpl.ca/thebigpicture), where they can take a tour of the branches and see some of the unexpected things their library has to offer.
Director, Communications, Programming & Customer Engagement
TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY
Linda Hazzan heads up the Communications, Programming and Customer Engagement team at Toronto Public Library - a diverse portfolio that includes strategic communications, marketing, brand management, online communications and social media, and the library's high profile literary, cultural and special events programming.