Participatory Design for Culture Change: The Case of the National Library of Greece Rebranding Process
This case study focuses on the participatory rebranding process of the National Library of Greece (NLG), which was developed in the context of the 2015–2018 Transition Program for the institution’s relocation to its new premises at the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Centre. Based on Design Thinking principles, the process engaged NLG staff, stakeholders and diverse user groups to co-create a strategic brief for the future of the institution, which served as the basis of an open, nation-wide design competition for the new brand of the NLG. The winning proposal questioned the need for a static logo, instead proposing a comprehensive visual language based on bold typography, defining the library as a “intra-liminal” space; a place where the past meets the future, the analogue meets the digital and the national meets the global. After extensive experimentation with NLG content, an open Brand Manual was delivered and a Communications Strategy was drafted, catalyzing the transformation of the Library from a mere collection of books to a timeless community of creators, researchers and explorers. The award-winning new visual identity of the NLG enabled culture change within the institution and proposed a radical approach to the nation branding of Greece. This paper outlines the context in which this experiment was enabled, presenting different stages of the rebranding process and its outcomes, documenting key challenges and exploring future opportunities to establish the NLG as a leader in the fields of education and culture in Greece and beyond.
KeywordsOrganizational change Design thinking Library marketing
I would like to thank the General Director of the NLG Dr. Filippos Tsimpoglou and the President of the NLG Supervisory Council Stavros Zoumboulakis for their trust, and the Stavros Niarchos Foundation for funding the activities described in this paper.
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