Over the past 30 years, Quinnipiac in Hamden, Connecticut, has grown from a small local college into a major, nationally recognized university. Much of this success can be attributed to its visionary president, John L. Lahey, who has led the university since 1987 and plans to retire in June 2018. Pentagram has designed Quinnipiac: The Lahey Years, a deluxe book that commemorates the legacy of Lahey and his remarkable transformation of the school. The design utilizes elements from Quinnipiac’s new brand identity, which was developed by Pentagram and is currently being implemented.
Quinnipiac is proud of its achievements, and the lavishly produced book was conceived as a homage to the outgoing president that also presents a vibrant portrait of the school, which is now one of the top 100 universities in the US. The book documents Lahey’s accomplishments during his tenure and places them in the context of the school’s history, including a five-fold increase in enrollment (from 1,902 to 10,072), his founding of the renowned Quinnipiac Poll public opinion surveys, and the growth of an endowment that has more than doubled, from $450 million to $1 billion in time for the school’s centennial in 2029.
Working with the book’s editors, the team developed a framework that interweaves university history, Lahey’s personal biography, and institutional data and statistics. The layered structure offers different ways of consuming the book––in quick, short bursts of information, as a more leisurely read of the text, or as a complete immersion in the material. The book is organized into three overarching sections that emphasize change: “The Transformative Years,” “Entering the Big Leagues,” and “Growing on Campus and Beyond.”
The design dramatically highlights the scale of the school’s achievements in infographics that make the content engaging and accessible. Information emphasizing the growth of the institution has been translated into big numbers, visual comparisons and timelines that stand out and are quickly understood. Key points are spotlighted in gatefolds, such as the school’s name change day, 7/1/2000, when it dropped “college” in favor of the more prestigious “university.” Maps are streamlined to focus solely on the subject at hand––such as the school’s relocation from New Haven to Hamden in 1966, and the opening of new campuses in the 2000s. The design employs a mix of typefaces from the new identity system, including the neoclassic serif Grifo, the modern san serif Atlas, and the text font Portrait.
The book is illustrated with historical images from Quinnipiac’s archive, including large, full-page portraits of key figures at the university. The original photographs varied in quality for reproduction, so the designers treated the images with a bitmap effect to give them a cohesive look. The treatment lends the portraits an illustrative feel that evokes the pointillistic drawings of The Wall Street Journal and U.S. currency, subtly referencing the school’s financial successes and Lahey’s de facto role as CEO. The original photographs appear along with others in a full-color “Gallery” portfolio that concludes each section and is printed on a different, coated paper stock. Throughout the book, the beauty of the campus is highlighted in double-spread photographs by Rich Gilligan that break up the flow of information for moments of reflection.
The deluxe presentation, oversized dimensions and high-quality materials, printing and production help make the book feel special. The volume is packaged in a bespoke box that doubles as a slipcase, and includes a fold-out mini-poster photograph of the campus. A regal color palette of forest green, silver and copper––the last seen on the gilded edging––also conveys the sense of prestige.