Proposal: Library Style Guide

Proposal: Library Style Guide


There are over 100 signs and printed materials in the Davis Family and Armstrong Science Library, however there is little continuity between items and a majority of them do not follow accessibility best practices. Creating a broad visual style guide for library materials will allow staff to easily create consistent, legible printed matter from pre-made templates.

Examples of printed materials within the library:

  • Signs
  • Handouts
  • Posters
  • Promotional items (buttons, bookmarks, etc)

Options to Enact Style Guide

This proposal is presented on a scale that could be altered to best fit the interest of departments and offices within the library. It could begin as a pilot with a single work group and build to a larger scale project, remain narrow in scope but apply to all offices, or a different combination that satisfies all stakeholders. 


Library Users
The only group that will be affected regardless of which staff groups participate. Users would experience changing signage over the course of several months, after which one predictable format would be displayed throughout library buildings. The UX Team could gauge opinion during intercept usability tests.

Staff would have to approve concept and the library’s role in creating guide and templates. Staff would have to adhere to prescriptive rules set out in style guide. To ensure success, staff should be consulted for approval before officially launching the guide, then provided with instructions for creating new materials. Any templates created should be in a program that all staff are familiar with, such as Microsoft Office or Google Suite.

Staff Options
  • Research & Instruction only (other library staff to opt in)
  • All Library Staff (other offices to opt in)
  • Library staff and other offices (ITS, DLINQ, CTLR)


1. Signage Only
I will create style guide for the creation of signage throughout the library. To do so, I will meet with staff who create signs and follow best practices for accessibility to create a short document that indicates which fonts, colors, and formats are acceptable for signage posted in the library. The guide should be only as specific as necessary to accommodate accessibility and cohesion. I will also create blank templates with Microsoft Office or Google Suite in common sizes for staff to reuse as needed. 

  • Deliverables:
  • Signage style guide
  • Templates to create standard size paper signs
  • Instruction session for staff on how to utilize guide and template
  • Existing signs are replaced by new templated signs

2. Signage and Related Materials
I will create a style guide that applies to all materials printed or distributed at the library.  The process of creation would be the same as in option one, but would extend to any handouts or other materials created. Best practices will be recommended for posters and promotional items, but they would be exempt from using templates, specific colors, or fonts.

  • Deliverables:
  • Library Style Guide
  • Templates to create standard size paper signs
  • Templates to create handouts
  • Instruction session for staff on how to utilize guide and templates
  • Existing signs are replaced by new templated signs
  • Existing handouts are replaced by new templates


I would like to see all staff who work inside the library adhere to a signage style guide (Option 1), which would create a seamless visual experience for users, who may not recognize different work groups or departments. I think Research and Instruction would be an excellent team to pilot Option 2, a guide for signage and other materials. Other departments could opt in to the greater scope after a trial period from the R&I workgroup, or not. 

Current Signage Scan

I have taken photos of many, but not all, of the paper signs that have been posted at the library. Each sign has been tagged to understand what purpose it serves and who created it.