Hot on the heels of their recent campaign work for The West Australian Pulse exhibition at the Art Gallery of Western Australia, Block reveals another Perth Culutral Centre project: a new brand identity for the State Library of Western Australia (SLWA).
The rebrand comes at a pivotal time for the State Library as it tackles an outdated perception of a library as a building full of books. In reality, the State Library is a multi-platform public resource that empowers access to learning, creativity, and our shared history. Serving the entire state, either physically in the form of a local library or through online services, the cultural institution aims to instil a lifelong love of learning in every Western Australian, regardless of their literacy level.
Mark Braddock, Co-CEO and Executive Creative Director at Block, said: “The impact of the State Library is deep and far reaching. It is a collector and curator of stories, a custodian of Western Australian history, a conduit to the collective knowledge of the world, a place for communities to come together, and a champion of literacy in all its forms. Their services move with the changing needs of Western Australians and it was important that this rebrand, the first-ever formal brand system for the longstanding and trusted organisation, complemented that dynamic nature.”
Part of this repositioning required a move away from the nostalgic image of libraries as soft, quiet, and passive spaces, instead presenting the institution as a contemporary, living brand that is relevant in a digital age.
Braddock continued: “The State Library houses ideas but doesn’t gatekeep them. It invites debate and discussion, encourages you to form – and share – your opinion with the world. Whether comforting or disquieting, you come away from the library knowing more than you did before.”
The thrust of the brief was to bring simplicity, clarity, and flexibility to the identity in a way that would complement the bold energy and ambition of the institution. To unlock the idea, creative team Johanna Borger and Gabi Fountain looked to the community the library serves.
Johanna Borger, Copywriter at Block, said: “There is no ‘one way’ to engage with the State Library, but there is a common trait in those who choose to: a sense of curiosity. What might start as a question about your family history could lead you to the diaries of WWII prisoners of war, century old maps, 1990s Connections nightclub posters, an upcoming author talk, a community group and pretty much everything in between. You can chase what interests you and forge your own trail.”
The new brand identity draws inspiration from these individual journeys of discovery, visually illustrating how one question, one thought, one spark can set in motion endless exploration. Structured but with space to move, the brand identity system poses a simple question: where will the State Library take you?
Accessibility and inclusivity were also central considerations in the project. Gabi Fountain, Senior Designer on the project, added: “As the State Library serves a wide range of Western Australians, it was important the identity was engaging and dynamic, while also having broad appeal. Our aspiration was to create a system that was distinct and uniquely reflective of the library while ensuring it had the ability to be dialled up or down depending on the audience and application.”