Last year, the Newberry teamed up with Firebelly, a design agency based in Chicago, to reimagine and redesign the Newberry’s website. We started by interviewing users and consulting stakeholders, and then began the process of reorganizing hundreds of webpages and developing new accessible content.
Now, we’re thrilled to be able to share the new newberry.org with you.
Built for intuitive navigation, the Newberry website more seamlessly connects you with our collections and services. The organization of the site and the design of individual pages now serve the full range of Newberry users, from scholars, artists, and genealogists to teachers, students, and lifelong learners.
“ The Newberry website is our digital front door. It is now as open, accessible, and inviting as the library itself.”
President and Librarian
You can scan for information about our adult education classes, to name just one example, and quickly find the calendar for the current term. Or you can graze the site, browsing to learn about our collection, read a blog post, or start planning your visit to the library reading rooms.
“The Newberry website is our digital front door, and we invite users around the world to use it to access the collection, learn about programming, and interact with our staff," said Newberry President and Librarian Daniel Greene. “Our redesigned website is now open, accessible, and inviting, like the library itself.”
Aesthetically, the website is an expression of the Newberry’s new visual identity (also designed by Firebelly). Our visual identity honors the Newberry’s history while communicating who we are now—an evolving laboratory of humanities research and learning.
“ We aimed to uplift, organize, and support the Newberry’s commitment to a community that knows them well. Our goal was to care for, rather than upend or reinvent, internal design successes.”
Senior Design Director, Firebelly
A dynamic interplay of past, present, and future is achieved through the key components of the design system.
Three typefaces, anchored by a display font called Flecha, organize text into typographic hierarchies for readability on the web. A range of vibrant colorways reflect the diversity of our collections and the different lenses through which users can experience and interpret history at the Newberry. Finally, a bookmark-like shape—extracted from the angular “N” mark in our logo—can be scaled up or down to be used as a container for text, a visual accent for secondary information (like image captions), or a decorative enhancement. As a graphic device, the bookmark brings energy to layouts while also symbolizing the power of reading and storytelling.
Together, these elements form a flexible system that shapes how the Newberry looks and feels across every touchpoint, from promotional flyers to our website. More importantly, we now have a visual language for expressing our values and forming stronger connections with curious people all over Chicago and beyond.
“We aimed to uplift, organize, and support the Newberry’s commitment to a community that knows them well,” said Will Miller, Senior Design Director with Firebelly. “Much of the identity work was about honoring the past, organizing existing elements, and planning for a future where collections need to become more accessible outside of a physical building. Our goal was to care for, rather than upend or reinvent, internal design successes.”
Enjoy navigating the site and welcome to the new newberry.org!