For Courting Students, Glossy Viewbooks Lose Luster

5825-knox Enlarge Image
close 5825-knox

Of all a college's courtship materials, the viewbook has long been the centerpiece. It seeks to convey the whole ethos of a place, what makes it unique. But viewbooks tend to blend together. Their pages teem with descriptions of majors and extracurriculars, and photos of bell towers, front gates, and groups of happy, diverse students on sunny fall days.

Viewbooks are like wristwatches, signaling wealth and a concern for tradition and appearance. And they can be costly. "These are