Our new library bags arrived earlier this year. There is a bit of story behind them and how Anstey, the library’s echidna mascot, came to feature on the design.
When another order of bags arrived with the standard logo late last year, we decided they would be the last lot. After that, the library bag would be refreshed. We would embrace a new design!
It’s funny how something as simple as a bag can bring about so many opinions. Of the 40+ staff who work in the library, everyone had a different perspective on what colour, size, shape and design a library bag ought to be.
The majority agreed the new bags should be made from sustainable materials, to reflect council’s slogan ‘Naturally Better’. We ordered sample sizes, filled them with books and walked around the library with them to test bag shapes. Staff and 20 customers were shown the samples and asked what they thought. A compromise was soon met and the size issue was sorted. But how to go about creating a new design?
We wanted a new design that was eye-catching and captured the fun and dynamic nature of Tea Tree Gully Library. A take-home advertisement for the library. Unique, reusable, sustainable.
Something a bit hipster.
Last November, we were talking about the hipster generation and their impact on marketing and society. Did you know there are now more than 25,000 baristas in Australia? Ten years ago there were 8000.
Douglas McWilliams, economist and founder of the London-based Centre for Economic and Business Research, says ‘Hipsters have identifiable spending patterns and homogenous tastes. But they don’t want others to copy them, so they keep up by changing their tastes, by moving on to the next thing.”
Hipsters traditionally reject popular, mass culture and spend their money on products that reflect their individuality. Acknowledging the hipster impact and the digital age means branding and new library bags are required to be just that much more sophisticated.
That’s where Bernard Salt came in.
Bernard Salt, who writes a weekly column for The Australian, had written an article that very week, announcing he had determined the ‘epicentre’ of hipster cliques in major Australian cities. As a way of measuring the hipster flow and its impact on a city and culture. In the article, he claims to have pinpointed the hipster centres of Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane.
On impulse, we decided to google each of the centres. That’s how we came across the adorable logo of the cafe that marks Melbourne’s hipster centre zone: Bluebird Espresso.
Cute, simple and memorable. We loved it and thought we’d try and create a similar design for our very own library bag. Instead of a bluebird – we decide to use the library’s mascot, Anstey the echidna.
Anstey has been our long-time mascot, much loved by staff and customers. He features on the mural in the children’s area and on the postcard with the children’s programs. There’s even a stuffed toy version of Anstey. But these Anstey/s are very much designed to appeal to children – it’s adults who mostly purchase library bags.
We sought echidna-spiration from the web.
All lovely and pretty echidnas. We thought about going to a graphic designer to try and replicate one of them, but our Arts & Cultural Coordinator Kelly took the idea home and worked into the night to come up with a grungier, hipster Anstey.
She created the artwork using a rubber pad, ink set and scraper. The yellow colour block behind Anstey was used to make him pop on a black calico bag (as chosen by staff and customers when we walked around with samples).
Transferring Kelly’s design from a rubber stamp sheet onto a piece of calico turned out to be easier than we thought. A graphic designer created a vector of the original illustration to send off to the printers, and voila. We had our very own Bluebird Espresso / Bernard Salt-inspired, grunge Echidna ‘hipster’ library bag.
The bags are $3 each and can be purchased from the customer service desk within the library.
Thank you Bernard Salt and Bluebird Espresso.
You can read Mr Salt’s ‘hipster’ article, published in The Australian on 8 October 2015 here