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Five Cal Poly Students Win Top Awards at Regional Book Design Competition

Jun 7, 2013 12:00 AM

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SAN LUIS OBISPO – Five Cal Poly Graphic Communication students took first, second and third place in the recent 2013 Publishing Professionals Network (PPN) book design competition. 

The five top award winners received scholarships totaling $3,250. Two other Cal Poly students won honorable mentions and took home certificates of merit.  

Seventeen books and book covers were entered in the competition, all from Cal Poly and all from a Book Design Technology course taught by graphic communication professor Brian Lawler.  

"I am exceptionally proud of the work done by all the students who took the class," Lawler said. "This was an incredible process. The students were immersed in book typography, book design and bookbinding. I remember a classroom full of students hovered over their books, needle-and-thread in-hand as they sewed signatures together, and I thought how amazing this was – literary works of art in progress." 

Melissa Hicks and Megan Racine both won first-place book design awards. Mason Field won second place for book jacket design, and Katherine Johnson won second for book design. Roseanne Bubb won third place for her book jacket design. 

Gregory Givens and Jeanie Mordukhay both earned honorable mentions for book design. 

For the competition, five judges spent five hours going over the entries, which came from Harvey Levenson, head of the Graphic Communication Department, said, "At Cal Poly, we continue to realize and teach the power of the book, not only in content but in design as well. While the reader has many choices of media, we believe that the book carries the story and message with detail and information unlike any other medium. These attributes are reflected in the winning book entries." 

The students will receive their scholarships at the annual PPN reception in San Francisco. 

Founded as Bookbuilders West in 1969 and re-chartered as Publishing Professionals Network in 2012, PPN is a nonprofit association providing educational resources and opportunities for individuals involved in book and book-related publishing.   

About Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and the Graphic Communication Department 
Named the West’s best public master’s-level university for two decades by U.S. News and World Report, Cal Poly is a comprehensive polytechnic campus of about 18,000 mostly undergraduate students on California’s Central Coast. One of the most selective of the California State University’s 23 campuses, Cal Poly provides a renowned Learn by Doing education aimed at producing innovative professionals and future industry leaders in science and technology as well as the liberal arts ( 

The Graphic Communication Department ( was founded in 1946 and is one of the largest and best-known programs of its kind in the U.S. It includes concentrations in graphic communication management, web and digital media, design reproduction technology, graphics for packaging, and individualized study. The program is strongly supported by industry with grants and endowments and with equipment, supplies and software for the department’s more than 33,000 square feet of modern laboratories. The department is nationally accredited by the Accrediting Council for Collegiate Graphic Communications. The Graphic Communication Institute at Cal Poly ( focuses on services for industry, including research, testing, product evaluations, consulting, training, seminars, workshops, conferences and publishing. 
Photo Caption 1 (left to right): Cal Poly students Megan Racine, Roseanne Bubb, Kate Johnson, Mason Field and Melissa Hicks are named scholarship winners 

Photo Caption 2 (left to right): Cal Poly students Gregory Givens and Jeanie Mordukhay win honorable mentions and certificates of merit.

Photo Caption 3: Students in Cal Poly’s graphic communication class Book Design Technology work on hand-stitching book signatures. All the students made three handmade books during the quarter, including two copies of their finished books.

Photo Caption 4: Cal Poly student Megan Racine's handmade edition of "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" features leather binding that has a keyhole opening on the cover. Racine also designed her own type font for the spine lettering and the chapter titles within. That type font is now the subject of Megan's senior project.

Photo Caption5:  Cal Poly student Melissa Hicks' edition of "On the Road" features