A look at the WSU photo calendar

The photo calendar is an annual tradition across the WSU system. Started by Design and Printing Services in 1996, these calendars feature brightly colored images and have even become a collectible item to some.

While the imagery over the years varies, there is one clear star of the show: the cougar.

“We haven’t always had a cougar,” Jeffry Hipp, assistant director of design and graphic designer senior, said. “There have been illustrations, there have been campus photos, there have been this and that. From what I understand, the overall history is that people respond more if there is a cougar. That’s become the main thing. That’s what people like to hang in their office.”

A display of all the WSU branded photo calendars.

People have been known to save the cougar image once the year is over too.

The whole process starts in the fall when Hipp begins collecting potential images to use on the next year’s calendar.

“The image has to be large and clear so that it prints well,” Hipp said. “And then we also look for how it fits on the page…Is the image too busy so that the cougar gets lost, or is the cougar the main focus and it works well with what we get to do.”

There is a standard layout that is followed, but the photo is what drives the specifics like how the months are placed, Hipp said.

“We try to mix it up so each year is a little bit different,” Hipp said. “We try not to have all winter shots, although those are great because the cougar really pops out of them…These are up all year. We’ve been trying to make them different.”

Hipp also mentioned he enjoyed seeing what new photos are available to choose from by the time he starts the next calendar.

“What’s out there? How can we do it different than the year before or the past five years? That’s probably the main highlight of it.”

When asked which calendar ended up being his favorite, Hipp said it was the 2020 calendar. It was the profile of the cougar, the depth of field, and the colors, among other things, that put this calendar toward the top of his list.

“People respond more if there is a cougar. That’s become the main thing. That’s what people like to hang in their office.

—Jeffry Hipp

Once the design of the calendar has been finalized, it’s time to print! These calendars come off of the HP 10,000 state-of-the-art digital press that is in the Cooper Publications Building at WSU Pullman. Each calendar order is then fulfilled and sent out to their recipients.

Here’s a look back at some of the different calendars. Click on an image below to view it full screen.

The 2021 WSU branded photo calendar.

This year’s calendar features a striking image of a cougar peering through a lush forest. Printed on a glossy paper to enhance this high quality print, the calendar measures 24” wide by 14” tall.

Did you know?

One of the factors contributing to the size of the calendars has to do with where people were hanging them. This elongated size fits better on the steel case cabinets in people’s offices.

It’s not too late to purchase the 2021 photo calendar! Find it on our website.