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KLM creates new brand identity for The Library of Birmingham

The next stage of the branding for the new multi-million pound Birmingham Library has been unveiled by KLM.

The brand identity will make its first appearance on the hoardings surrounding the Centenary Square site and will be there until the opening in 2013.

In the meantime KLM is producing a set of brand guidelines, stationery templates, advertising and POS.

“We have been impressed by KLM's highly creative and collaborative approach to the brief. Their concept for The Library of Birmingham’s visual identity stood out from the competition for its insight and imagination, and their team has followed through to deliver stunning results,” said Cllr Whitby, Leader of Birmingham City Council

Jon Derry, chairman at KLM added: “This was a pitch we were absolutely delighted to win. A national pitch for developing the brand identity for a prestigious multi-million pound development... who wouldn’t be? The new Library of Birmingham is an exciting project; one that’s hugely important to the city and the West Midlands region – and KLM is enjoying playing its part in it all.”

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The Brief

A dynamic landmark set in the very heart of the city, incorporating world-class architecture and state-of-the-art technology, with a development budget of £193 million, the new Library of Birmingham is quite a project.

So too was the nationally tendered brief for creating its brand identity issued by Birmingham City Council.

“…forward thinking, organic, an ever-evolving brand with the community playing an intrinsic part. Delivering against a clearly stated ambition to redefine the purpose of libraries in the 21st century, whilst taking into consideration how the identity will engage and benefit the people of Birmingham. Inspiring, inclusive, transforming, connecting… a brand that must appeal to all potential users, be fully-inclusive, engender public support and avoid the sort of negativity that often accompanies publicly-funded projects.”

The solution

As befits a building destined to be home to millions of emotional words and countless inspirational ideas, KLM, the Birmingham-based marketing agency, set the foundation for the brand positioning in a powerful strapline… rewriting the book.

A statement of radical change and bold ambition, it acknowledges that, from the outset, the new Library of Birmingham will challenge (and continue to challenge) the conventions and definition of what a library should be.

Then came the solution for the visual identity. It started with a major PR event to find 26 ‘characters’ from within the community – children, mothers, students, teachers, artists, writers, workers, business people, scientists, doctors, athletes... each of them set to play a part in the overall identity of The Library of Birmingham.

The chosen characters will not only act as the launch platform for the new branding, they’ll be used to represent the library’s different content sections. A young child holding a graphical representation of a book will become the living icon for the Children’s Section, a local musician or writer the face of the Arts Section and so on.

And so the brand develops as a flexible and evolving identity. Not one fixed logo, but 26 ‘variations’ ready to be applied in any number of ways.

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