Princeton Public Library

Merit Award

Princeton Public Library needed a new brand identity that was simple, clever, and easily translated into a comprehensive branding program to include signage, stationery, and brochure system. They also needed to compete with the popularity of large chain bookstores and avoid any confusion with the nearby Princeton University Library. The architectural solution was to make the new building retail in concept – with lounge seating, music listening stations, and a coffee bar – and the environmental graphic design package follows this approach.

The new brand includes the icon of a person reading a book, emphasizing the "public" in public library, while the simple typography depicts the library as a friendly and approachable environment. The icon portion of the logo has been adapted for use in the identification of the library store, as part of the library newsletter masthead, and also on merchandise. The type style and color choice prevent any confusion with the university.

To identify the different sections of the library and enhance the brand identity, the interior signage incorporates photographs of people reading, listening, and engaging in other activities related to library resources. Materials are attractively merchandised through custom displays, lighting, and graphics, forming interior landscapes that invite browsing and inspired exploration for every level of user. Children are given their own place on the third floor that includes a tower room, cozy story center, and their own outdoor garden terrace.

Jury Comments: 

"A clever take on the traditional library brand. Approachable, friendly, and good use of type that doesn't scream LIBRARY! The interior signage, with its witty digital imagery, takes the stuffiness out of the space and allows it to compete with retail bookstores. Fun and lively, yet after all it is a public library."

Design Firm: 

Hillier Environmental Graphic Design


Princeton Public Library

Location City: 

Princeton, N.J.

Project Area: 


Open Date: 


Project Budget: 


Photo Credits: 

James D'Addio, Hillier

Design Team: 

John Bosio (Principal in Charge), Glen Swantak, Despina Raggousis




Invironments, Precision Engraving, City Signs

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