Never once, did I imagine,
What a joy it would bring
When I hung an old tire,
To make an old “Tire Swing”.
All of my grandchildren,
Played with great delight,
From their first rising,
On late into the night.
Their joy, displayed in laughter,
And songs that they had learned.
Others waited, impatiently,
Asking, “When is it my turn?”
Then they’d climb upon it,
And shout with boisterous glee.
How could I refuse their call,
“Swing me, granddaddy, swing me !”
The tire cost me nothing.
The rope was also free,
And God our loving Father,
Provided a very special tree.
Those moments, I’ll cherish forever,
For the pleasures that they bring.
I hope that your grand children
Will have their “Old Tire Swing”.
~ Grady L. Duncan ~
I’m jumping the gun on this post. I’ve only designed a logo, a bookmark, a banner and a facebook cover image (above) for the Little Free Library Reseda, and there are other projects to be done for them yet. But I’m so pleased to be working with them that I just couldn’t wait to write about what we’ve done so far.
The Little Free Library Reseda is shown above. It’s not that building in the background. It’s just the thing that looks like a big mailbox full of books to borrow, and the bench. That’s what Little Free Libraries are – grassroots community book exchange gathering places where neighbors share their favorite literature and stories. (You can go to http://littlefreelibrary.org/ for more information about Little Free Libraries.)
Heather and Stewart began their Little Free Library when a dog water bowl that they had set out in front of their house turned into a meeting place for neighbors. Stewart (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an excellent carpenter, so he built a bench for dog walkers to rest with a carabiner for them to attach their dogs’ leashes.
Heather is an accomplished educator, which provided the impetus to get involved in the national Little Free Library movement. Stewart built the Library box and decorated it with the interests of their two young girls in mind.
They stocked the library with a variety of books, with the help of donations.
Now Stewart and Heather were ready to get the word out about their library! They set up a dedicated phone line, facebook page, and Goodreads registry. They set a goal of getting everything ready in time for the “Thanks, Reseda” community event in their city.
That’s where I came in. Heather liked the style of a poster I had made for her at another business previously:
So she asked me to make their logo, bookmarks and a banner for their booth at the event. (She wanted brochures too, but there wasn’t time or funding.)
I spent some time researching the best deal on quick printing, and was pleased to find that the most inexpensive online printer was physically located just a few miles from Stewart and Heather’s house! (We chose PrintRunner.com)
Stewart and Heather were very open to whatever I wanted to put on the bookmarks and banners. I considered the Craftsman style of Stewart and Heather’s house, and the importance of children in their lives. I suggested we go with Maurice Sendak–style designs for the promotional items. Sendak’s work was marked by Arts & Crafts era influences.
The only things Stewart and Heather were firm about were the text that should go on the logo, bookmarks, and banner. It was really fun having so much flexibility with the rest of the design.
Here are some early sketches of the logo.
We joked about the adult’s long neck.
We were juggling to get a dog in there, because the dog bowl is how their library started.
Once we all approved of this final black-and-white logo, I went on the internet and researched colors for an Arts-and-Crafts era palette, to compliment Stewart and Heather’s house. I found some historic Roycroft colors by Sherwin Williams and colorized the logo:
After that logo was approved, I moved on to the banner that would grace the show booth at events. Fortunately, Stewart and Heather loved my first idea, which featured a girl and her dog at the Little Free Library.
I drew it in the Sendak style: the girl had a big head and hands, with thin, protruding lips, and a high waistline, illustrated with crosshatched pen and colorized with gouache paint.
The dog is based on Sendak’s beloved Sealyham terrier, Jenny, who starred in his book Higglety Pigglety Pop.
However, the Sealyham breed is nearly extinct today, replaced by the currently fashionable Westhams.
I made the dog a Westie instead because it is easier to see their facial expressions.
Other things we like about the banner design are the dark sky with lights which could be interpreted as fairies, stars, or the lights that Stewart installed to make it safe at night.
There’s also the fact that you can’t tell if the dog is giving or taking the book. It is a reflection on the Little Free Library’s “Take a Book, Return a Book” motto.
The only revisions we needed to make on the banner involved resizing it to fit the pop-up tent and some fine-tuning of the text to make it appear deconstructed, yet legible.
The printer made the banner exactly as specified!
Next, I designed the bookmark front and back.
The hardest part of this was finding a speedy printer to make custom bookmarks at an economical price. We wanted glossy, laminated bookmarks with ribbons an tassels, but they would have been so expensive that they would have had to charge people for them!
Heather was going to sell cookies at the event to offset the cost, but we came up with a compromise. We got the bookmarks printed without rounded corners or holes punched for tassels, or even lamination, to save money.
I designed the bookmarks so they will look fine as they are, but there is an area where Heather and Stewart can punch their own hole to string them with their ribbons if they feel so inclined.
I suggested we take the information that was on the booth banner, and add a map so that people could refer to it when returning books. To make the map fit on the bookmark and also match it’s style, I started by pulling up the library’s address on MapQuest. By zooming in and out and taking screenshots for reference, I could see what freeways, roads, and cross-streets would be relevant to someone who was trying to find their library. I laid these all out in Photoshop, with labels.
Once Stewart and Heather approved the map layout, I made it match the hand-drawn style of the rest of my work.
The back of the bookmark contained all of the information that we thought people needed to know to contact or visit the library.
The front of the bookmark was drawn purely for aesthetic reasons, because I know I like my bookmarks to be pretty and I think other people do too.
One of the most popular and influential artworks of the Arts & Crafts movement is William Morris’s “Tree of Life.”
It is a stylized reference to the Tree of Knowledge. William Morris added birds of his native England to the tree.
I added birds and animals of Reseda instead.
I wanted to put a wise old man on the Library bench, but during the Arts & Crafts era, men were usually depicted as knights or prophets. It would have seemed incongruous. So I rolled out Sendak’s dog, Jenny, again.
The finished bookmark, in Stewart’s hard-working hand!
I look forward to designing the brochures for the Little Free Library Reseda. In the meantime, Stewart and Heather are selling promo items to offset the costs of their labors. If you are interested in purchasing any of these items, please contact them using the links below. And thank you for supporting a good cause.
phone: (818) 584-6885
on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LittleFreeLibraryReseda9139
By Michelle Leveille