Case Study: Clearwater Studios connects community and reaches new audiences with rebrand for King Township Public Library

Case Study by Connie Clearwater RGD, Clearwater Studios

In the spring of 2013, King Township Public Library began a re-branding exercise that lasted for 3 months. Specifically, KTPL was interested in developing a new logo, brand strategy and a brochure that would provide a high-level overview of their new 4-year strategic plan. The project also included stationery with business cards, donor cards, table runners, parade banner, retractable banners, outdoor flags and a tent for public events.


Based on a referral from within King Township, KTPL contacted Clearwater Studios to work on the project. Clearwater Studios has been working with various departments within King Township for the past seven years on a variety of projects, including modifications to the new King Township logo, creating branding strategies and directives in 2013 as well as re-branding the King Township Museum in 2012.


The client wanted to create an image that reflected a modern, progressive 21st century library service that would entice users. The concepts needed to be developed quickly and efficiently to meet library requirements and program deadlines.



The target audience was identified as residents of all ages (children, teens, parents, elders), elected officials, community partners & stakeholders, community associations and neighbouring library systems (CEOs, marketing staff). 


The King community enjoys a rich history, values education and is surrounded by beautiful green space. All of these elements were considered in the development of this concept, in addition to the fact that the township is going through a period of growth, welcoming many young families to the area.


Design Process

Because of the rapid growth that King is currently experiencing, it was important to create a vibrant logo that would capture the attention of the new people moving into the various local villages and hamlets.


The client wanted a logo that was modern, simple, clean, colourful, unique and intelligent. It needed to incorporate some similar elements from the new King Township logo, yet needed to be unique. To illustrate the connection, the new logo incorporates the leafy "K" from the King Township logo, the township display font, Gill Sans, and the township's blue for the logo text.





Local papers and town strategy reports provided a strong foundation on which to build the concept for this project. Clearwater Studios then compiled a sampling of library logos from across North America. We wanted to make sure there was nothing similar out there, but also that the image selection was relevant and easily recognizable.




The strategy for this project was to create an image that moved away from historical images and into the 21st century.


It was important for all members of the team, at all four library locations, to buy into the new image and feel proud to be a part of the community it represents. The image needed to be visually engaging, thought-provoking and representative of the client's message.


Seven books sitting on a shelf is a classic image made modern by blending Cubist, Constructivist, Surrealist styling of the 1920s and 40s. This particular style was chosen for its modern and timeless feel. The colour gradient represents diversity in library materials, programs and the ages of the audience. Due to the small budget for this project, stock images had to be sourced. Three key images were selected to represent key target age groups: children, teenagers, parents and grandparents. It was also important to use images of people in groups to convey a sense of community.


Working with the client


Many of the library staff were involved and gave feedback at various stages of the project. I usually start the design process with an exercise that helps me to determine what styles the client prefers, however in the first meeting, the client was prepared with samples of marketing materials and logos that they liked and they weren't afraid to break out of the box.


The energy from these ladies, and their joy throughout the project made it an experience I will never forget. For a designer, this is the reaction we all hope to get from our clients when they see their new logo for the first time.




With two logos already in use and four separate library locations, roll-out for the new identity is an ongoing work in progress. The new logo has been revealed in the library newsletter and on the KTPL website with an official launch scheduled for October. Wherever possible, the older logos have been replaced with the new identity.


Many templates have been created for in-house use. Community outdoor kits were assembled with flags, tents and parade banners to raise awareness of the new identity throughout the community. Budget has been a factor in rolling out the new identity through all of the Library's locations and communications materials, but the rebrand process will continue over the coming months.




"After a very short turnaround time Ms. Clearwater presented us with 3 design options for the logo. Each design concept was better than the last.  Not only were they aesthetically appealing, they all captured the feeling we were trying to convey. 


The new logo is very recognizable and has raised awareness of the library. We continue to receive positive feedback from community organizations, elected officials, neighbouring library systems, CEO's and marketing staff."

- Rona O’Banion, CEO of the King Township Public Library 


Designer Takeaways:

  1. Colour matching across different textures and media is always challenging. It is crucial to the success of the project that you work closely with your printers to achieve the desired results.
  2. Include your client in the selection of cmyk colour values, pantone swatches and web colours, because colour is perceived differently by all. This will ensure your client's expectations are met and hopefully exceeded by the final product.
  3. When choosing stock photography, keep in mind that the images maybe used in large scale at a later date. Purchase high quality images to begin with, and scale down if need be rather than purchase two versions. 

Client Takeaways

  1. Make note of logos and styles that capture your attention - this will help guide the designer in an appropriate direction and move the preliminary designs forward quickly, saving both time and money.
  2. Engage in the design process. Have fun with it, and don't be afraid to try something new and exciting that will set you apart.


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