Layout templates are the secret to a beautiful, organized yearbook.
But they don’t just streamline the design process. They’re easy to use, they reduce time in the yearbook planning stage, and they can act as a springboard for your creativity. All of which is to say: We think every advisor should know a few things about yearbook layout templates. (And we think they should probably be using them, too.)
So, what, exactly, are templates?
To put it simply, layout templates are the skeleton of a yearbook page.
Templates serve as your “master” pages, letting you always have a blueprint of how your page is intended to be laid out and where your pictures, text, and headlines are supposed to go. They’re pre-planned designs that let you keep a level of consistency that’s otherwise hard to create.
But don’t think that consistency equals boring. Having several templates at your disposal means you’re easily able to give your book a varied — but still tied-together — look. What that number is will depend on the length of your book, but we will say this: Have five, at least.
Why You Need Yearbook Layout Templates
- Better visualization. Once you have a general idea of how the pages of your yearbook are going to look, it’s easier to brainstorm how to package your content. Templates simplify the editing process since you’ll know how many photos can fit on each page and the maximum length of your articles.
- Organization. Templates are important for keeping your book structured and cohesive. Not only do templates help you pull elements together in an organized way, but they make it easier for your audience to navigate the page. Readers can better absorb the content when they don’t have to orient their eyes to new layouts on every page.
- Time. If we had a nickel for every time we heard a yearbook advisor wish she had more time…well, let’s just say we’d have a lot of nickels. Using templates saves you a ton of time in the development stage, since you don’t need to start fresh on every page. Just insert your pictures, text, and headers, and voila, you’re done.
- Flexibility. If you decide that certain pictures or text are wrong for a page, no problem. Templates make it easy to swap pictures, change headlines, and replace text.
- Reduce errors. Once you’ve got a few great templates in place, you don’t have to worry about elements leaking into the gutter or margins. Make sure your templates include space for your folio and page numbers, so you won’t have to go back and add them in later.
- Freedom in constraint. Because you don’t have to think about starting from scratch on every page, you can focus on the details, like which variation of your template best fits the goal of the page (more on this below).
Where to Find Yearbook Layout Templates
There are a few different places to find great templates for your yearbooks:
- Your existing yearbook design. Look for what already works. How do you have your pages laid out right now? If any pages you think look especially awesome, great: save those layouts as templates. Look for what already works.
- Your yearbook software. Look for what’s easily available. Good yearbook software offers pre-designed templates for you to choose from. If what’s provided isn’t exactly what you’re looking for, modify them yourself and save them. It’s easier to change parts that don’t work than it is to start from a completely blank page.
- Pinterest. Look online for inspiration. There are tons of places to look online for layout inspiration, but none are as good as Pinterest. Thought you’ll get great ideas here, you’ll likely need to create those layouts from scratch. It can be worth the work, though.
How to Add Variety to Your Book While Using Yearbook Layout Templates
You can—and should—use templates in every section of your book. Portraits, athletics, student life, you name it.
But don’t think just because you’re applying the same templates to, say, 240—or even 88—pages means that your spreads will all look the same. You can take those “master” pages and modify them to create an array of other layouts that make your book even more appealing.
Here are a few ways to do that:
- Rotate your template on its X axis to create vertical variety.
- Rotate your template on its Y axis to create horizontal variety.
- Replace a photo placeholder with a mod or additional copy for long-form coverage.
- Replace text placeholders with additional photos for more of a collage look.
When you know what you’re putting on a page, it’s easier to know which of these options fit your plan. But it’s important to know that there are ways to create fresh pages from your templates. It’ll have you worrying less about repetition and more about the different arrangements, photos, and text that will help every page stand out and look unique.
Yearbook layout templates offer you more than a streamlined design process. They add a level of flexibility and organization that freestyling your design can’t offer. Plus, you’ll spend less time in the planning stages of what you’re going to do with your book and your individual pages. And all that time you get back can go to other things, like perfecting your content.