Soffitto Biblioteca Salaborsa con wayfinding Chialab

Biblioteca Salaborsa

The communication campaign and visual identity of the first Italian
library without boundaries.

Biblioteca Salaborsa

Our collaboration with Bologna’s Biblioteca Salaborsa began in 2000.We created and developed the visual identity of the library, which was opened to the public in December 2001. Our idea for the library’s visual identity was to characterise it as a welcoming open space, a ‘cultural piazza’ overlooking the city centre, with a wealth of accessible multimedia resources.

“The second urban space which epitomises the idea of modern beauty is 100% Italian; the Salaborsa library in Bologna...”

In Futuro interiore, a book by Michela Murgia, the library is described as a context in which relationships can be created and multiplied. She characterises it as an urban space in which relics from the Villanovan, Estruscan and Roman eras coexist, and in which traces of its former uses – it has been a post office, a bank, a botanical garden, a city exchange market and a sports hall – are still detectable.

Biblioteca Salaborsa

Brand Identity

We created and developed a visual identity for the library in keeping with its history. In close collaboration with the librarians, we defined the identity guidelines and created a toolkit that encouraged people to see the library as a hip, welcoming, accessible and open space. All parties involved in the project agreed that the brand identity ought to be consistent with the library’s history, but also have light-hearted and ironic relationship to it.

In developing the brand identity we focused on five main elements, related to user needs.

  1. Visual Identity: a logo, shaped like a Ginko Biloba tree leaf, a corporate colour (yellow), and a tailor-made font Biblio.
  2. Leaflets: user guides for the library’s many resources.
  3. Signage: to guide users inside the library’s vast and complex space.
  4. Website: providing information on events and activities and offering online services such as reader registration, catalogue searches and book reservations.
  5. Publishing: the library’s various publications were consolidated in a uniform series.

Through these channels the library has been communicating with Bologna’s citizens since 2001.