San Mateo County Libraries Brand Program

Project Overview

San Mateo County Libraries (SMCL) has been a cornerstone of a very diverse community for over a century. A family of 12 libraries, they offer unmatched programming, a staggering collection of resources, and free access to countless technologies. The library system is a place to explore and grow — through every chapter of life.

San Mateo County Libraries has grown into a network of innovative destinations for learning and their existing identity simply didn’t match its dynamic scope. Pivot overhauled the outdated branding with a system that captured SMCL’s inspiring vision and approachable personality. In order to effectively communicate that each location was a part of a larger community pursuing the same inclusive mission, we adjusted the name from the existing “San Mateo County Library” to “Libraries.” We designed a clean and imaginative logo consisting of a symbol called “The Burst of Knowledge,” placed alongside the wordmark in a modern typeface.

Together, they mirror the spread of information, the family of libraries, and the excitement that emanates from experiencing something new. The corresponding tagline we created, Open for Exploration™, speaks to SMCL’s mission to engage the community through the expansion of knowledge and transformative experiences. Anchored in a bright, simple color palette and friendly, caring language, the new brand feels welcoming and energetic. It’s an optimistic and smart identity that will support San Mateo County Libraries as they evolve for years to come.

Our partnership with SMCL is ongoing, as we continue to incorporate the new brand into materials, spaces, and programming.

Our branding scope of work included:

  • Brand Development
  • Logo Concept & Design
  • Messaging
  • Staff Welcome Guide
  • Digital Look & Feel Design
  • Stationery
  • Business Cards
  • Letterhead
  • Marketing Giveaways & Activations
  • Library Card Concept & Design
  • Bookmobile Design
  • Staff Identification System
  • Library Signage & Environmental Graphics
  • eNewsletter