Na­tional Li­brary turns the page with a new visual iden­tity

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY SAKIS IOANNIDIS

The Na­tional Li­brary of Greece will be mov­ing into its new home with a whole new visual iden­tity. The open com­pe­ti­tion for the in­sti­tu­tion’s re­brand­ing at­tracted pro­pos­als from 34 firms, all of which un­der­scored the high qual­ity of work be­ing done by Greece’s graphic de­sign com­mu­nity.

Of the five pro­pos­als that were short-listed, the project was even­tu­ally awarded to a team headed by de­signer and il­lus­tra­tor Dim­itris Pa­pa­zoglou (Gior­gos Matthiopou­los, Gior­gos Tri­antafyl­lakos and Axel Peemoeller), which will be un­veil­ing the fi­nal strate­gic plan for the Na­tional Li­brary’s pub­lic look, ad­ver­tis­ing pro­file and com­mu­ni­ca­tions in four months’ time.

Though the team is not at lib­erty to di­vulge the de­tails of its pro­posal, it stresses that the Na­tional Li­brary’s new visual iden­tity will not be re­stricted to an “iso­lated logo” and its sim­ple ap­pli­ca­tion.

“The pro­posed sys­tem of visual com­mu­ni­ca­tion el­e­vates the role of con­tent into the pro­tag­o­nist of a di­rect, ex­tro­verted and rich visual ex­pe­ri­ence,” the team says. “It in­tro­duces a visual vo­cab­u­lary that re­spects the tra­di­tion of print, while also in­cor­po­rat­ing it boldly into a con­tem­po­rary frame­work.”

Short-listed team As­so­ci­ates, mean­while, had ap­proached the new logo as a mo­tif that was seen be­ing adapted to the li­brary’s sta­tion­ary, ad­ver- tis­ing signs and even T-shirts. In­spired by mo­tifs from the art of book­bind­ing and the ar­chi­tec­ture of the li­brary’s old home at the Val­lianos build­ing, a part of Athens’s Neo­clas­si­cal Tril­ogy, and its new home at the Stavros Niar­chos Foun­da­tion Cul­tural Cen­ter, but also the no­tions of the Golden Ra­tio, the Fi­bonacci Se­quence and dig­i­tal bar­codes, As­so­ci­ates cre­ated a logo in which the build­ing it­self had an as­sumed pres­ence and also used fonts with el­e­ments of the Greek al­pha­bet.

Two in­ter­est­ing pro­pos­als were put for­ward by the K2 de­sign team based on the Greek Beta, the first let­ter in the words for book and li­brary, the blue color of the Greek flag. The first pro­posal was an artis­tic com­po­si­tion of these mo­tifs, while the sec­ond in­cor­po­rated the let­ter Beta into the form of an owl, the age-old sym­bol of wis­dom and virtue.

The no­tions of knowl­edge and wis­dom in­spired the pro­posal by MNP, which used the form of the in­fin­ity sym­bol to spell Na­tional Li­brary of Greece in a geo­met­ric font. The team’s sec­ond pro­posal cast the li­brary as a “bea­con of light” in a sim­ple square frame that was ac­com­pa­nied by a de­pic­tion of the first Greek font.

Holy drew its de­sign from the idea of an open book to sig­nify the in­tel­lec­tual con­tent of the li­brary and its open­ness, or ex­tro­verted char­ac­ter, to­gether with a mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of the an­cient Greek me­an­der, a shape that of­fers it­self to mul­ti­ple ap­pli­ca­tions and in­ter­pre­ta­tions.

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