Pentagram’s Paula Scher gives Library of Congress a brand makeover

The world’s largest library and the official reading room of the American Government has a new visual identity that looks to symbolise bookcases through an animated logo.

Pentagram partner Paula Scher has rebranded the Library of Congress, the world’s largest library based in the US capital city, Washington D.C.

Scher has created an identity that is a visual metaphor of a bookcase, where the logotype is “opened up” in both animated and static forms to act as a place-holder for imagery and text.

In this way, the logotype acts as book-ends, while the imagery and text placed in the middle of it act as books.

The core logo consists of the word Library set in sans-serif typeface Druk Condensed Super in black, alongside the full name of the library set in sans-serif Sharp Grotesk 20 in orange. These words are used in many different configurations, such as sat next to each other or on top of each other.

The place-holder graphic element is used throughout communications, such as on newsletter headlines and section headers on the Library of Congress website.

The symbolic logo aims to depict the library as a “place to collect things”, says Pentagram. The Library of congress is the official library for Congress and the Federal Government, but also serves as a national library for the public.

Dr Carla Hayden, librarian at the Library of Congress, says the new identity is “bold and contemporary” and “embodies the Library’s global scale in making the collection accessible to all”.

It holds over 32 million books and other print publications in 470 languages, including photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts, alongside audio recordings, films, fine art and typefaces. The collections are housed in three buildings – the Thomas Jefferson Building, the James Madison Memorial Building and the John Adams Building – and many of the collections are also available in digital format online.

The design consultancy adds that the new identity looks to help the library’s collections be “easily understood” and invite everyone to “physically or virtually take advantage of the treasures within”.

The new branding is currently rolling out across all Library of Congress marketing and communications including books and the bimonthly magazine, brochures and newsletters, the website and app, merchandise and staff uniforms, and all interiors signage and graphics.

Hide Comments (3)Show Comments (3)
  • Dominik August 30, 2018 at 8:58 am

    VERY similar to the work they did for Serpentine…

    • Philip September 4, 2018 at 11:11 am

      yes an almost identical idea. I guess it work’s for the content and it’s also well executed.

  • Christopher Challinor September 7, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    Just spotted this hmmmmmmm!! Feels typographically like RA from Pentagram. Does every conclusion that comes out of Pentagram at the moment always have to be typographical? Or is the client only looking for this in a specific partner? Feels all a bit predictable, sorry.

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