Above: A selection of pages extracted from the book “We Are an Open Book” by Hornall Anderson

This project is a little different from the typical marketing and promotions work on Ad/Lib, for reasons which will become clear.

The project in question is a book called “We Are an Open Book”. The subject of the book is libraries, and specifically the Seattle Public Library. In it are memories, thoughts, stories and images that people had about libraries – what libraries meant to them. (The full book can be viewed inline at the bottom of the post)

What is different here is that this book was not created by Seattle Public Library, but rather by a design firm that specializes in branding, Hornall Anderson, as part of their pitch process. That is to say, they made this book so they could land the Seattle Public Library branding contract.1 (Interested readers may also wish to read an Ad/Lib post about SPL’s rebranding in more detail)

This makes “We Are an Open Book” interesting in a few ways, but particularly because we (the public) do not usually get to see the pitch that ultimately nets the contract; this is a glimpse inside the process. Something tells me, though, that most pitches do not include the creation of a book that is something of a love letter to libraries.

“We Are an Open Book” was the winner of District and Seattle Silver Addy Awards in 2015.


  1. I’m not saying this to be cynical – this is what Hornall Anderson themselves said: “As part of our pitch process to earn the assignment, members of our staff put together a collection of stories entitled “We Are an Open Book” that signified what the library meant to us individually and the magic and wonderment that it beholds.” http://www.hornallanderson.com/blog/we-are-an-open-book