Starting a new yearbook from scratch can be daunting. We should know – we’ve created yearbooks with more than 100 schools over the past 16 years. With some good planning and a bit of help, you’ll be able to make something your school community will treasure for years to come.
We’ve put together a quick guide to get you started on your own yearbook.
WHAT KIND OF CONTENT SHOULD YOU INCLUDE?
When it comes to content there are quite a few items that are almost always included. Begin by taking a look at your school calendar, highlighting any major events that you could cover. It might include major sport competitions, awards, camps or maybe the school play.
Then consider including messages from the principal, vice-principal, head teachers or even the head students. News or highlights from the year, or any future plans for the school, are also good to include. It’s also a good idea to look at other school yearbooks and see what they have written about. This is a good way to pick up ideas or anything you might have missed.
Photos are always a great way to capture special moments in time, so try to collect as many as possible. You might not have room to use all of them, but it’s better to have too many than too few. Class photos or individual portrait shots are especially nice for the parents and students, and great to look back on.
Make sure all photos you take are of the highest resolution. Disable the date and time function and turn on red-eye reduction when using a flash. Try not to use photos from social media – they are often automatically reduced in quality when uploaded, which is not good for printing.
If you already have an existing yearbook from a previous year, then that’s great, you know what you’re doing. But before you start on this year’s publication, take a few moments to go over how you can make it even better this time around.
Was there any feedback from parents, staff or students about the content? Did they think it was missing anything, was it too short or too long? Have any of the events or activities changed from the previous year? Does any new information need to be included? Or is there anything that could be removed?
WHAT CONTENT SHOULD GO WHERE?
You’ve got a list of content you want to include in your yearbook, but what order do you put it in? How should the content be organised?
As a general rule, articles that are more important are placed near the beginning of a yearbook. For example, a message from the principal is early on, and academic articles tend to come before co-curricular stories (about things like the student newspaper or school play).
Another good general rule is that the more students are involved in an activity, the more important it is and therefore the more pages it should be given. For example, a story about a major sporting event would be allocated more pages and come before a story about a new sport that only a few students have tried.
YOLO has put together a simple page plan template to help you organise your thoughts. It’s one of many tools and tips we provide to make your life easier.
WHAT DESIGN SHOULD YOU USE?
A great design can really bring your yearbook to life and make it something to treasure. Start by checking out our article on Yearbook Design Trends for 2018 and our Pinterest boards for some inspiration.
When planning the design, think about the main purpose of the yearbook. Is it a keepsake for students, a marketing tool for prospective students, or maybe a fundraiser?
What logos, mottos, colours or themes need to be included? You want to make sure you make allowances for these important elements – for example, it’s not a good idea to use colours that clash with your school logo.
What kind of ‘atmosphere’ are you hoping to convey? Modern or traditional, progressive or retro? Do you want it to be fun and colourful for the students, or does it need to be a clean and conventional style for the school archive?
Again, have a look at other yearbooks and see if there are any particular pages, elements, colours, or imagery in particular that you liked.
If this is not your first yearbook, think about what you would like to keep or change from previous years. Some schools keep the same overall design from year to year while others change the look completely each time.
There are a lot of things to consider, but YOLO is here to help if you need it. We have the tools to help you design your own yearbook, or you can collaborate with us, making the most of our experience to create something beautiful.
HOW DO I PLAN OUT MY PROJECT?
There are a lot of elements that go into making a yearbook, so planning is probably the most important part. It can turn a stressful chore into a rewarding experience.
Many hands make light work, so start by putting together a team of reliable students, teachers and parents. There are bound to be a few keen writers and photographers at your school, who would love the chance to show their skills. Make sure to give very clear instructions to contributors. The clearer the instructions the more likely the staff or student will deliver what is required.
There are plenty of organisational tools out there to make planning simpler. We like using Microsoft Excel and Trello to track which articles and who you’ve allocated them to, including their deadline, page allocation and matching photos. Trello is great because it’s easy to share online, so your whole team can track progress and see what’s left to do.
Creating a shared online directory is a must because you’ll need somewhere people can put stories, photos and ideas that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere.
It’s also a good idea to create a calendar of all the events you’re planning to cover, with reminders for upcoming events. That way you can make sure you have writers and photographers there to document everything. Include reminders to follow up with your contributors after events, so that they don’t forget to write or delete important photos. Better to get this done early.
It can be a lot of work to put together a memorable yearbook, but luckily YOLO is here to help. We have the experience and tools to make it easy and even fun. So why not get in touch with us and let’s get going!