DC Public Library’s 25 neighborhood libraries varied greatly in age and maintenance. They lacked consistent identity and wayfinding cues in 2008 when Knot Studio collaborated with Library leaders and four architectural teams to develop a comprehensive wayfinding signage master program for the entire system. Today, exterior and interior, contemporary and historic sign standards strengthen identity and unify the entire system.
As part of the standards, the simple but strong word “Library” becomes the primary identity, and for new buildings, is integrated architecturally as well. Standards include two options for site identification: to serve the constraints of urban sites, one option is a tall vertical, a nod to the DC metro sign. The second option is a low horizontal, relating to the scale of residential neighborhoods. Inside the buildings, signs are designed for ease of updating and maintenance. Features include insert holders and magnetic-backed sign panels so messages can change as collections shift.
Nomenclature standards ensure that messages are consistent from building to building. Standards were applied and refined over the course of six new libraries and the renovation of the historic Georgetown Library. They are now being implemented by the Library as remodeling projects continue.