Accidental Dream Project "Privacy Field Guides"


We received a phone call from the Division Director of the Learning Group Alameda County Library in 2019. The individual informed us that we had been selected as the design agency for a special project related to the American Library Association. Design is very personal and we all have different perceived notions of what exactly is, terrible, okay, good or great. To be chosen for this project based solely on our design capabilities and examples we sent has been a truly uplifting moment.

We had our first meeting with Erin (in person) and Bonnie (via Zoom NY).  With pure excitement, they explained we will be putting together a national project about “Privacy Field Guides" for libraries in the US. I'll be honest we thought this is going to be a very dry project. How many times have you read a privacy policy and thought woohoo? However, Erin and Bonnie tried their best to convince us this was going to be fun and told us “open to any cool design concepts, something no one would expect for privacy guides", "we want people to get excited about this project without scaring them away with text-heavy documents”. 

Heejung was more excited about this, than I, initially because I thought it would be hard to get people excited about this topic. Heejung took the time to start by designing cover concepts to see how they would all look together as branded design series. This was a brilliant approach because designing the covers first allowed her to uniquely identify the different topics and also design each booklet individually. We presented the draft covers designs initially to get approval from the Team before moving forward. Erin and Bonnie loved the concepts and gave us the thumbs up to keep going.

The biggest challenge of this project was that the content was still being worked out internally and not all topics had been agreed upon or finalized.  We had to design these guides in a flexible composition to accommodate continual content revisions from the client and several contributors during the development process. 


Heejung's Design Notes


Privacy Audits

The first guide, Privacy Audits, was based on bar code style and it became the core concept for all models. I came up with the idea of the bar code of scanning the book to rent and how it relates to the complex landscape of privacy. I presented the bar code idea and how we can expand to other guides through visual language, patterns, and colors.

Photography images were too bland to cover across the United States and decided to stay within the design element only. This will make a fun and challenging project! It reminded me of my first typography class assignment, use type as an image without using any photography. 

Privacy Audits

Data Lifecycles

The second book, Data Lifecycles, was based on a circle that represents a full circle from beginning to end. We also created interesting icons for each data lifecycles because we need a bold design to fulfill informational content.


Digital Security Basics

The third guide, digital security basics, was based on the fingerprint idea. The guide is intended for individuals aiming to learn digital security skills and for those hoping to have privacy and digital security education for library staff. We created design elements and fingerprint-type icons to break heavy content up to maximize the reader's engagement.

Digital Security Basics

Non-Tech Privacy

Non-Tech Privacy

The fourth book, non-tech privacy, was based on a floor plan concept. We looked at several architectural floor plans and thought this would be a perfect concept for the content. The guide is meant to help the reader navigate some areas in the libraries that are often overlooked when thinking about privacy. The design of library space can hinder or enhance privacy. 


Vendors and Privacy

The fifth book, vendors and privacy, was based on all different design elements working together like methods to protect users’ privacy while evaluating and acquiring products and resources from vendors. The original design concept seemed chaotic at first but after refining it several times it came together nicely. 

Vendors and Privacy

Privacy Policies

Privacy Policies

The sixth book, privacy policies, was based on circles and rectangles connect harmoniously like a ripple effect of policies. Privacy policies tell library users what data is collected about them, their data rights, and how that data is used, shared, stored, and deleted. 


Concluding Thought

This project has been long and taken over a year to complete but it’s been a complete joy from day one. The team has been amazing, the work has been fulfilling, and roughly halfway through the project Erin and Bonnie asked us if we could also work on bringing this to an online digital format. That was the “accidental” dream part of this project as we cherish working on both offline and online projects. Thank you, Erin and Bonnie, we can't wait to launch the digital format, we are almost there!


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