stainless steel letters building identification typography
stainless steel letters
directory map typography wayfinding
circulation desk pattern typography
cafe sign pattern typography
library shelves typography wayfinding
In the last 20 years, the Plainsboro Public Library has outgrown its building’s capacity by pioneering itself as the nucleus of community activities. Nearly 85 percent of Plainsboro’s ethnically diverse and rapidly growing community possesses a library card. To accommodate this growth, the Library selected BKSK Architects to design a new building that would allow the library to double its size, as well as provide a unique venue for its established roster of community-based programs. Situated at the head of an expansive village green, this 3-story, 45,000-square-foot building houses a sizable collection of books and periodicals, an internet café, a children’s science museum, classrooms, an arts resource center, community auditorium, and outdoor spaces, consisting of a library reading garden and terraces.

A comprehensive environmental graphics, donor recognition, and wayfinding sign program was developed for this new facility. Due to a majority of non-English speaking library users, the program needed to be immediate, intuitive, and visually universal, while remaining timeless and in keeping with the community-based mission of this 21st century institution. Large-scale typography and bright colors clearly identify the most essential user-based information while facilitating accessibility from any location within the Library. A color identification system is used coding each floor with its own distinct identity, as well as incorporating stack ends and information desks into the wayfinding strategy.

A unique component of the program celebrates the written word by activating the glass railings of the main circulation staircase and second floor balcony overlooking the main reading room with over 300 hundred references of seminal literature from around the world. To further engage and inspire a connection to the community, people were asked to submit first sentences from their favorite books in their native languages.

The project was recognized by segdDesign and the Society for Environmental Graphic Design (SEGD) for Excellence in Environmental Graphic Design.
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Plainsboro Public Library

Environmental Graphics


Princeton, New Jersey


Township of Plainsboro


Richard Poulin