A History of UNH Viewbooks

Covers of UNH Viewbooks

The viewbook has long been the primary promotional tool for colleges and universities. Many colleges and universities have considered getting rid of them in this age of social media and the internet. Most have stuck with some kind of printed piece. While they have changed and evolved over the years they seem to be here to stay.

Slideshow by Bridget Finnegan, UNH New and Emerging Media.

Special thanks to Valerie Lester, Martha Barker, Cheryl Dow, Dave Moore of Editorial and Creative Services and Mylinda Woodward of the University of New Hampshire Archive.

For those who would like to see these pages larger download as a PDF.

Download the current viewbook as a PDF.

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When prospective undergrads requested information from New Hampshire College in 1919 they received this 9" x 6" pamphlet. The book has images from around campus and of student life.

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In 1944 the viewbook was mostly text with limited images. It did sport an aerial shot of campus on the cover.

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In the 1970s the UNH viewbook began to show campus life and images of Durham. The 1973 version utilized two ink colors to create a psychedelic-looking cover.

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Throughout the late 1970s the book was printed in two ink colors. A new version would be printed in black and a different spot color every two years. Due to the cost associated with traditional film and plate printing, changes were expensive and limited to only where necessary. The 12" square book was designed in a magazine style with articles and sidebars. Profiles of students and faculty were prevalent.

The 1977-78 version is shown.

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In the early 1980s printing became a little more affordable. The 1982-83 viewbook was printed with both four-color and black and white pages on a higher quality coated paper stock.

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In the 1990s, the University recognized the value in producing a higher end publication. Budget for higher quality paper, both for the cover and interior pages, was allocated. This viewbook was the first of many designed by Valerie Lester of Editorial and Creative Serivces.

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"The advent of desktop publishing revolutionized the design industry," said Martha Barker. "We were suddenly able to do many creative things." The 1993 book is shown at left which was designed by Barker and Valerie Lester.

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In the 1999-2000 viewbook Lester took full advantage of her new toolbox to create vibrant layouts with fun mini profiles of UNH Wildcats. "We set up a photo studio in the MUB and I went out and asked interesting looking students if they would mind having their photo taken. While the photographer took their photo, I interviewed them. This is my favorite book!"

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In the 2001-2002 book the profiles were expanded out into lively layouts. The images pop off of the page on the glossy coated paper.

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In 2003, the University launched its Academic Plan envisioning UNH as a place "distinguished for combining the living and learning environment of a small New England liberal arts college with the breadth, spirit of discovery, and civic commitment of a land-grant research institution." The "spirit of discovery" informed viewpoints from 2003 until the present and placed increasing emphasis on undergraduate research as a hallmark of the student experience.

Discovery was a theme for the 2003-2004 viewbook designed by Bridget Finnegan and edited by Dave Moore.

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The 2005-2006 viewbook had a foldout front and back cover. It was the last full-size viewbook. Designed by Cheryl Dow, the book is printed on non-coated environmentally safe paper using soy inks in keeping with the University's commitment to sustainability.

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"We have scaled back the viewbook both in size and page count," says current designer Martha Barker. "I don't think that viewbooks will ever go away. Students might do a lot of research on the Web but they seem to like having a tangible item as well."

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Produced by New & Emerging Media