A logo for the dawn of a new … something

Let’s pause for a moment in this new year and ponder the meaning of squares and circles, circles and squares, and, most importantly, circles in squares.

When I think of squares and circles, I naturally think of libraries.

The new library logo.

What? You don’t?

I didn’t either until the Lawrence Public Library changed its logo to something that looks like a peephole in a fence. Or is it the door to the barn where Mr. Ed used to hang out?

Oh, sorry. That isn’t what the library says. Rather, the library assures us that circles and squares are “enduring, classic shapes …”

True enough.

“… representing the library as a strong community anchor.”

Or a peephole in a fence, but let’s go on.

“The use of bold red conveys positive energy, vibrancy and enthusiasm.”

I’ll buy that. The InfoPlease almanac calls red the “most emotionally intense color,” one that “stimulates a faster heartbeat and breathing.”

An announcement on the Lawrence Public Library website, www.lawrence.lib.ks.us/


“I’m sorry, dear. I can’t check out that book right now. I just looked at the new library logo and my heart is racing. I think I’m aroused.”

Let’s consult another source, one that helps designers find the right colors: “In advertising, red is often

used to evoke erotic feelings (red lips, red nails, red-light districts, ‘Lady in Red’, etc),” it says.

Oh, my.

“Excuse me. Do I have to be buzzed in to the section with the bodice rippers?”

Not buying that? How about I compare the new library logo to something more serious, like a flag.

If the library’s intent was to form its own country, it’s in luck. The new logo looks like the flag of Bangladesh.

The flag of Bangladesh

No, wait. Make that Palau.

The flag of Palau

Or is it Japan?

The flag of Japan

Maybe the flag idea is too complicated. Let’s consider the logo a work of art. It could easily fit into the portfolio of Kasimir Malevich, the artist who embraced geometric abstraction and created the Suprematist movement in the early 20th century. Malevich, after all, suggested that “the ideas of the conscious mind are worthless.”

Kasimir Malevich's "Black Circle," 1913. www.ibiblio.org/wm/paint/auth/malevich/sup/

That’s a perfect philosophy for a library, isn’t it? And Malevich’s 1913 painting Black Circle looks amazingly like a library logo!

Either Malevich was prescient or the library has created its own art movement.

So let’s review.

The Lawrence Public Library has adopted a logo that:

a.       Could be the start of a new abstract art movement.

b.      Would be ideal if the library wanted to become its own country.

c.       Looks like a peephole in a fence.

d.      Only Mr. Ed could appreciate.

e.       Is utterly baffling.

The library's previous logo.

And that’s just the beginning. The library website says that the new logo “means something different to everyone who sees it.”

Unlike the old logo, which was actually clear and symbolic. Yes, the library means something different to each of us, but if an organization can’t clearly and coherently define itself for the future, how does it expect anyone to follow?

What’s that you say, Mr. Ed? This is giving you “The Empty Feed Bag Blues”?

Me too, Ed. Me, too.

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