Don’t judge a book by its cover

By Cara Donfrio

Students receive many types of mail in their boxes every day. On a regular basis, they pull out phone bills, advertisements and letters from parents. On Wednesday, they pulled something out that they don’t get every day – NIU’s new phone book.

While a phone book usually isn’t received with much excitement, many students are unaware that much effort goes into creating and publishing this common household item.

“I think the hardest part about putting the book together is understanding the whole process,” said Ken Doubler, general manager of the Midweek, the DeKalb weekly newspaper responsible for publishing the book. “It’s a challenge putting all the pieces together into one whole.”

The cover art, for example, took imagination and planning to create. This year’s cover was designed by Molly Holman, an NIU alumna who graduated in May with a visual communications degree. Holman worked at Information Technology Services last year and created that year’s phone book cover as well. This year, she works in NIU’s publications department, but ITS called upon her again to create the new phone book cover.

“NIUTel, which is part of ITS, wanted to use Barsema and the Convocation Center,” Holman said. “I wanted to find a link between them, and they were both under construction.”

Jeff Strohm, associate director of publications said, “They wanted to highlight the two new buildings.”

Holman took artists’ representations of the two buildings and placed them over the blueprints for the buildings. Holman said she tried using different colors for the blueprints, but when she sent her finished product in to ITS, they accepted it immediately.

A phone book isn’t much with just a cover, though, and it was up to the Midweek to finish the job.

“The decision was made by NIUTel and ITS,” said Teri Reid, manager of NIUTel. “The Midweek is the best to work with and they’re part of the community. They’re very concerned about doing a good job.”

Doubler agreed.

“I think every year, you get better,” he said of the book’s overall design.

Reid said that this is Midweek’s fourth year as the publishing company, and it started out with a three-year contract. After having no problems with the company and considering the cost-effectiveness of other possible candidates, they decided to renew that contract for this year.

Doubler said the phone book is paid for through advertising, but if he was to put a price on an individual book, that price would be $7 or $8. The books will be distributed throughout DeKalb and Sycamore.

Doubler emphasized that the NIUTel staff was of great help during the process of creation and publication, and Reid stressed how much she liked the outcome.

“Molly [Holman] did a great job,” Reid said. “I love the way it turned out.”