Design Development Work

No images of today’s work since I tossed out most of it when I was finished with the design process. My tasks for the day were to create a print ad and a double-sided bookmark. For the ad, I created 11 layouts. The first two were digital versions of the sketches that were handed to me. From there, I worked out different arrangements of text, font sizes, colors, adding a border, adding images, until I came upon the final design which was accepted. As you scroll through the previous designs, you can see how I slowly tipped my chessboard towards it. Each idea sliding downwards until I arrived at the final image.

I printed out the proofs, marked my two favorite, scribbled a note of guidance, and left them on the requester’s desk. Later, when I returned to pick up the pieces, he had also chosen my favorite one. While checking and re-checking the layout back in InDesign, I got frustrated with the tools. I nabbed the metal ruler from my colleague’s desk and held it up to my iMac’s surface. Then I slowed nudged the text box into place.

For the bookmark, I had looked at the theme idea last week in some confusion. I poked around on the web and found a bunch of photos for a moodboard of sorts and uploaded it the shared drive. On Friday, my colleague wrote back that I was close, but not quite right. I took her words, spent 2 minutes googling and found a lovely stock illustration. She loved it.

Today I started the work of creating a bookmark from that image. I’ll admit, these bookmarks aren’t quite the thing of dreams. I’m a little crunched for time, so it’s more important to get them done than perfect. For this project thought, I made a dozen or so layouts with different words and color choices. Sent it over. After lunch I had my response back. I then laid out 4 or so designs for the back and sent it back. Hopefully tomorrow I’ll get the sign-off so I can mark it as done.

We’re pushing a deadline of Friday here for these ten bookmarks. I’ve gotten works-in-progress drafts for six of them now. Once staff sign off on them, I can move them to the finish pile. The goal is to have all of them back from the print shop by September 1st for National Library Card Sign Up Month.

Wanted: Help Archiving the EPA Website

I’ve found a way to make myself useful. I’m adding pages from the EPA’s website to the Internet Archive. As such, I’ve found perhaps hundreds of pages which are not archived yet. This bookmarklet is easier to use than the official one. Why? It does it within the page w/o opening a new one.

What to Do
* Install the bookmarklet above to your browser.
* Go to a page of links (like the first one in the following section) and then CTRL + left click on all the links.
* Then go through each page clicking the bookmarklet.
* When you’re done, work your way back across each open tab by clicking the back button. Then scroll down and look for additional links + PDFs.
* Close the tabs as you work your way back across them.
* Sometimes it’ll time out so you need to hit the back button, then try the bookmarklet again.

Things to Know
* If it’s a PDF, it usually downloads to your computer. Annoying. Right now I don’t know how to get those in the Internet Archives, but hold onto them.
* If the PDF is hosted online, you can click the bookmarklet to add it to the Internet Archive.
* If the website/page doesn’t allow robot.txt, you can’t add it to the Archive.
* If you notice that you’re working through pages which have been recently archived, go find another set to go through. It’s a better use of your time to find pages which have never been archived before. These random reports haven’t gotten any IA love before.

Pages to Start With
* Air Research Products in the Science Inventory
* Science Inventory pages

If you’re interested in strategically going through the EPA site with me, let me know. We can make a plan of action to go through and get the pages in.

New Micro Report: Clicks in Weekly Events Email

I still feel like I have no idea what I’m doing in developing reports, but this week’s attempt at finding meaningful information is to send a new micro report. It goes to the Head of Adult Programming and the Children’s events coordinator. I list the top 5 events clicked on per category. My ultimate goal is to help event planners be able to better predict their audiences based upon email interactions. This is part of my strategy in reducing descriptions in weekly events emails to just titles + date. If people want to know more, they’ll click through and thus provide us with valuable information.

Now if I can get a steady pipeline from people on their attendance stats…

Elbow Deep in Design

I was pretty busy today working on three designs:

* Works in Town postcard
* Book Sale Yard Signs
* Touch ups to the Museum Passes brochure

I’m fortunate that our print house offers some handy templates to show me how best to setup InDesign for their needs. This was my first full bleed non-bookmark project, so this was a little intimidating to setup at first. The lawn sign took about 40 minutes. I wanted to just use our logo + black text on a white background. I rolled around the fonts a little to do different emphasis. It’s plain, but I think it’ll be easy to read as you drive past in January.

Press Releases Good News + New Digital Signs

This morning I spotted a copy of one of the local newspapers. The Town’s two newspapers are weekly, so we only have to check once a week to see if our press releases got in. Two did! I congratulated the departments on their good work. Then I fired up Asana where I added the details about which articles were approved in which newspapers. We’ll see over the next year if we can detect patterns.

Courtesy of Darien Library

Courtesy of Darien Library

I didn’t have many “regular” panels to make this week. However, I had to address the issue of how a digital sign with light coming from behind looks way different than a physical sign even if they have the same colors. I made a digital panel with 8 variations on the selected color then went upstairs with the not-right printed sign to do a comparison. Two of my colleagues lent me their eyes on this project. No winners the first time. I went back downstairs and made another test screen. This time we selected something which will “blend” (as my colleagues described it).

Then I spent quite a bit of time re-working a few of the signs. You can see an example of one of them to the right. My secret to designing things: public domain images. This art is by Nakamura Daizaburo.

Yesterday I talked with one of the admins about signage and branding for a few minutes. She said that she liked that our signs are within a certain color scheme. It really ties everything together when all the signs are somewhere on the blue-green spectrum. While evaluating the digital sign, I stepped backwards and looked around the first floor. Yes, I could see what she means. It feels like we’re a little closer to my ideal of having a consistent feel like Target does: your brand colors everywhere.

Tomorrow I’ll share the fun video Krishna and I made to advertise the Stuffed Animal Sleepover. Just got to find some fun holiday music for the background.

Feeling Good

I was buried again, but at the end of the day, I feel fairly accomplished. We’re launching a heightened focus on NoveList next week and I’ve been working closely with Reader’s Advisory on the launch. I made that mockup a couple weeks ago and found out the pricing for a custom sign last week. I sent my colleagues to the Noun Project last week to look for icon ideas. The press release was sent out last week today.

However, today was the first day I really dug into it. By working so closely with everyone, today we developed the icon that then went into the logo. From there we chose colors, revised our previous vision, and made the desktop wallpaper. Tomorrow I’ll take the final measurements and do a color test before designing that custom sign.

I also did a mockup for new semi-permanent signs for our first floor. We’ll likely meet next week to solidify the plan before I make the final designs. This project makes me anxious though I was told the signs may go up for only two years. The previous signs I made have been up for nearly four years!

Them I created bookmarks to promote our Lonely Planet travel guides. That’s the project where we have a year-long plan for in place to promote it steadily.

I did a lot of planning today. The final interesting thing that ties into this was going through the items to promote our latest book groups’ video. We’re really ramping up publicity there, so it’ll be interesting to see the turnout in hits.

New Email Layouts

email_layouts_2016

The only thing that mattered to me today is setting up two different email designs for the weekly events email. Above is a sneak peek. I just sent the newer design off to three reviewers to see what they think. The new one is mobile-first, reduced images, and more playful. I reviewed MailChimp’s inspiration site for ideas before trying something new.

The email design might get rejected for not including summaries of the events. That was a concern the last time I ran the weekly email and was testing designs. This week’s email has 20 different events in it. They get long fast. I’m trying to tighten them up while still being bold and readable. We’ll see how it goes over tomorrow when they see that design…

On a good note, my boss complimented me on yesterday’s Need to Know emails about the new publicity workflows. A+ to me.

Mini Golf Lawn Sign

Courtesy of Darien Library

Courtesy of Darien Library

We’re gearing up for our upcoming Mini Golf fundraiser. I hit up several items on my to-do list over the past two days. This is the first time I’ve made a lawn sign, but it’s more or less the same design as the poster and flyers I’ve made for the past two years. What you’re seeing here are the samples I took to my boss. Once I looked at the print out, I noticed that they needed more padding. My boss then choose his favorite layout.

/done

Putting Asana Through the Paces

The following is a note to myself to go over what I did before I kicked myself thoroughly. Asana has great documentation, but it feels a bit overwhelming. Especially for someone who is inclined to just poke at it for five minutes then just keyword search my questions instead of patiently reading through the docs. Here’s what I did while testing a scenario:

Created a Publicity folder in my personal Gmail account and a Google Form + Response sheet.

Set up an Asana workspace titled “Publicity.” Created a project titled “Publicity Submissions Inbox” so that emails from the Google Form would go into there to then be assigned to projects themselves. Why Google Forms? It’s one of the two form products suggested on their site (the other is Wufoo).

Ran into an issue where I need a way to allow people to upload images and related documents since Google Form doesn’t natively allow that. I tried this method, but it just sends people an email which they then need to click through. There’s another option but it costs $30 (wait, may be free). Another option to try is this one. We’ll just need to have an HTML page uploaded to our server somewhere.

OR I could create a JotForm which allows attachments, send that to me, but then have Outlook auto-forward it to Asana. What I’m trying to do is just avoid me having to hand type this stuff up myself in Asana. I bet it’d work if I just had JotForm send the emails directly to Asana too… I’m not sure if I can have emails dump into a generic “catch all” inbox to then turn into projects or if I have to send them to a workspace first as I did with “Publicity Submissions Inbox” as a project described above.

Another challenge: how hard is it to change the descriptions into tasks in Asana? Emails are treated as a task. May be able to send a task directly to a workspace and skip the step of creating a project from each submitted task.

Started Using Asana
After fussing with the above, I decided to just copy my colleague’s publicity uh…to-do sheet into Asana. I pulled it into pieces then set up a little structure showing what’s due 4 weeks ahead of time, 3 weeks, etc. I then started commenting and adding attachments. I didn’t get the lawn sign finished so I can check-off one of the tasks, but will do so in the morning. I’m really excited to get that first checkbox.

On Monday I’m going to my first public service desk meeting to tell the department heads what’s up and the new publicity process. My boss agrees that a form would be the best way to gather data from staff. They’ll likely be unhappy since I’m going to require they start thinking about their projects way in advance. I’m doing that because the lazy rule has been to send me things three weeks in advance. That’s fine, I can usually get something done. But with such a short turn around, this means I can’t get it into the newspaper, the weekly email, etc. So by moving the date to notify me way out, this means we can look for patterns and figure out which pieces play well together.

For example, there were two different college programs happening recently. As far as I can tell, no one had thought to tie them together. My colleague who is over adult programming saw the opportunity and reached out to the other department. Now they’ve got a two-hit wonder program which makes the Library shine. That’s what I’m seeking to accomplish. Better value for our patrons’ buck.