This post accompanies a workshop I am doing today at the New Librarian Symposium in Canberra. It includes additional information and resources to support the content of my workshop.


Some think marketing is promoting a service or selling a product and ultimately a one time deal. I’m sorry, but that’s not quite right. In fact, marketing is an ongoing process. Your library should have documentation such as a marketing strategy to help inform the many design decisions you will make. This documentation can also come in the form of content marketing or promotional plans. Whatever type of documentation your library uses, make sure you know where to find it.

If you are looking for inspiration to kick-start your marketing plan, Ned Potter is a well-known name in library marketing. I suggest following his blog or purchasing his book.

Whether you focus on creating quality content or selling a service, marketing is all about understanding your audience so well that your service fits them and sells itself.


At design school you are taught there are 6 fundamental principals of design: balance, proximity, alignment, repetition, contrast and space. However, in my years as a Graphic Designer, I found that if you chose colours, a font and layout that works well, people will love what you do.


The colours you choose convey the mood of your design and can highlight items you want to be noticed. The colour wheel is a tool designer’s use to help them choose colours. For the last few years, I have been using the example below to guide my work.

Modern Colour Wheel Poster. Giris Avotins


Use pen and paper or a moodboard to brainstorm some of the qualities and characteristics (eg: bubble font and style to celebrate your library’s birthday) that you want your design to communicate. Then use that to guide what type of font you use. It is easy to get overwhelmed with all the different font options available. Therefore, before doing anything else, I recommend choosing a font first.

A great place for finding complimentary fonts is Google Fonts. You can even get stats on font usage in different countries.


The layout gives structure and purpose to your design. By using white space and alignment to your advantage you can direct a reader’s eye or emphasise information.

There are also slight differences that affect layout between print and online material. For print, the biggest difference would be allowing for bleed and colour changes. For online you should:

  • Use complementary colours to help users grasp the structure of information.
  • Ensure good contrast between text and background with minimal background patterns.
  • Avoid distracting images or elements like blinking text and continual animations.

And remember “a picture is worth a thousand words” means that complex ideas can be conveyed with just a single image. It also characterises one of the main goals of graphic design, which is to make it possible to absorb large amounts of information quickly (

Reading: Design School  I  Design Courses I  Graphic Design Theory  I  Graphic Design Don’ts

Social Media

social media plan and/or policy should consider your library’s goals, including an understanding of your audience and what platforms would be the best way to reach them. For guidance, I’d suggest looking at what the National Library of Australia has done with its social media plan.

And when you’re considering content to put online, though written in 2008, the points raised in this open letter to museums is still relevant to today’s GLAMR organisations.

If you are looking for examples of social media done well in GLAMR, see what’s on offer at the Museum of Australian Democracy‘s Facebook page, follow Melbourne Museum, Museums and the Web or CSIRO on Twitter and check out Wellcome Library, LIANZAOffice or the Victoria Albert Museum on Instagram.

Reading: Free Social Media Tools I  Museums + Social Media I Social Media Marketing Plan


wilber-bigGIMP is an image manipulation program, where you can edit and manipulate images, so think of it like Adobe’s Photoshop. One thing I have found useful to remember when using GIMP is that Save and Export have very different functions, so don’t confuse the two:

“In former GIMP releases, when you loaded an image in some format, let us say JPG or PNG, the image kept its format and was saved in the same format by Save. With GIMP-2.8, images are loaded, imported, in the XCF format as a new project. For example, a “sunflower.png” image will be loaded as “*[sunflower] (imported)-1.0 (indexed color, 1 layer)”. The leading asterisk indicates that this file has been changed. This image will be saved as“sunflower.xcf” by Save. To save this image in a format other than XCF, you must use Export.” (

To help navigate the program after today here is a video that highlights the various parts and toolboxes within GIMP and what you can do with them.


Gravit is an online workspace. To access your work again you just need your username or email and password. This program allows you to create your own illustrations, so think of it like Adobe’s Illustrator, a place where you can create your own vector drawings, icons and logos.

One of my favourite parts of Gravit is it’s built-in access to a large library of stock photos provided by Unsplash allowing you to use their high-quality images for free. You can even use the photos for commercial purposes.

Here is an introductory video about the elements of Gravit so you find your way around it after today.


Canva, like Gravit, is an online workspace. Once you log onto your account you have access to over a million photographs, graphics, and fonts. Its focus, however, is on making it easy to create social media content, so I’m not sure how’d you go using it to create your library’s “What’s on this Winter” booklet.  The templates provided in Canva can also be very rigid and not easily adapted to suit your needs.

That being said, it is the easiest program for design newbies to use and to learn design principles from.

Below is a short video showing how to use Canva, in case you forget something when you are home.

Readings: GIMP Tutorials  I Gravit Tutorials I Boost Your Design Skills I GIMP Basic Photo Editing I  Creating Icons with Gravit  I  Creating with Canva, Pablo and Gravit  I  Canva on YouTube

Resources: Hubble Space Telescope  I  Unsplash  I  Freepik  I  DaFont  I GIMP Keyboard Shortcuts  I  Gravit Keyboard Shortcuts  I  Canva Keyboard Shortcuts  I How to Design a Memorable Brand

Social Media: @GIMP_Offical  I  @GravitDesigner  I  @Canva


That’s all for today!
DFTBA (Don’t Forget to be Awesome)