The New Look of Idlewild Books
For a few weeks now, I’ve seen a couple of phone booth posters advertising Idlewild Books on my way to SVA. I am quite familiar with this gem of a bookstore, and was pleasantly surprised by the new look of their advertisements. On the other hand, I wondered why and …
For a few weeks now, I’ve seen a couple of phone booth posters advertising Idlewild Books on my way to SVA. I am quite familiar with this gem of a bookstore, and was pleasantly surprised by the new look of their advertisements. On the other hand, I wondered why and how they decided to rebrand so drastically. A little digging here and there, and I had my answers: as it turns out, this is not the usual way a branding project is generated, which makes it all the more interesting.
While completing an internship last summer in New York City, designer Andrew Colin Beck would wander the streets on his lunch hour. On one of his wanderings, he came across Idlewild Book Store—even went in and bought a book for his wife—but then forgot about it until he was asked to rebrand a company as part of a school project. Immediately, Beck remembered Idlewild.
“Visually, Idlewild’s existing branding didn’t say anything about their rich heritage or connection to travel. So I started to mine that heritage and bring it to the surface. As I was working on the design, I was looking at a lot of topographic and flight maps searching for little pieces of visual language,” says Beck. “I love compass roses, and keys and mile-markers. Those sorts of cartographic symbols gave me a lot of inspiration. For example, the diagonal band of color seen in some of the new Idlewild designs, like the business cards, comes from a dial on the control board of an airplane called the false horizon.”
Once the rebranding was done, Beck decided to reach out to the owner of Idlewild Books, David Del Vecchio, to show off what he’d done. In what Beck calls “a moment of uncharacteristic good fortune,” Del Vecchio loved the design and immediately got in contact with Beck to roll it out to his stores.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Based on John Brownlee’s article for Fast Co.; images from designer’s site.