When you’re running a yearbook program, the grunt of the work comes down to this: figuring out how to make a yearbook page. Then making another, and another… and another.
Even if you have help from a group of students or parent volunteers, you still need to master that art of yearbook page layouts. And you might even need to teach it to your team.
With that in mind, here’s how to make a yearbook page:
- Start with your book’s master template or style guide.
- Set your page goals.
- Choose a template, or create a yearbook page layout, that works best for your goals.
- Add your content, like photos, captions, and headlines.
- Edit it, get feedback, proof it.
These steps turn the art of creating a yearbook page into a manageable process that anyone can follow. And it helps ensure all your pages meet the biggest criteria for an awesome yearbook: Consistency.
If you want to have others knocking out yearbook page layouts like pros (and without asking you a ton of questions), read on. This post explains the how and why of each step outlined above, so you can teach your team how to make a yearbook page.
Consistency: How to Design a Yearbook Page
There are at least a million and one yearbook ideas out there, but trying to cram all of them into a single book would be impossible. It’d also be ill advised.
That’s because the key to a beautifully designed yearbook isn’t the number of bells and whistles you can push onto the pages; the key is consistency.
This means design elements like color and typography should be uniform throughout. The size and number of photographs on every page should follow some sort of structure. Headers, sub headers, captions, and any other copy should adhere to an established standard of punctuation and spelling. Simply put, quality control is the foundation of an awesome yearbook.
If it seems like we’re cramping your style and trying to be downers here, we’re not.
We’ve covered this stuff in depth in our post about yearbook style guides (which is totally worth reading, by the way), but here’s the quick-and-dirty version of it: Constantly changing stuff in your book will impact your readers’ abilities to comprehend what’s going on. And it’s been proven by science.
How to Make a Yearbook Page
Step 1: Use the Template (Or, At Least, The Style Guide)
We’ve talked about the advantages of template-based yearbook design before. And, chances are, we’ll talk about them again. Like right now…
Yearbook templates are help you teach design principles, reduce time in the yearbook planning stage, and spur creativity. All of which is to say: If you’re managing a yearbook team and need to make sure things go smoothly, templates are clutch. Use ‘em.
When you decide to use templates, you have two choices:
- Use a single template as your master, so your team can make minor changes to layout while your book keeps a cohesive feel.
- Use a library of templates, so your team can use their judgement to pick a layout while your book still feels fresh and put-together.
Each choice has its advantages, and you’ll know what’s best for your team based on how they like to work and what their strengths are. One thing, though, is certain: You gotta stick to the style guide.
While your templates will serve as a springboard to making a beautiful yearbook pages, your style guide will make sure your team’s artistic urges and creative expressions don’t take things too far afield.
Step 2: Set Your Page Goals
When your team has developed and reported on all its story ideas, you’ll be focused on laying out those stories so that they convey the most important points to the reader quickly and clearly.
Those key points will determine how, exactly, you tell your story.
That means you’ll need to consider your goals:
- How important is it to include a large number of students on the page? Or will you focus be on profiling a small group of students?
- Does the story lend itself to having a really visual layout? Like a mosaic or collage of images?
- What amount of reporting and written storytelling will be part of the page?
These questions will help you determine which layout to use when building your yearbook page.
Step 3: Choose a Template (Or Create a Layout)
At this point, you’ll have set the creative guidelines for your team and helped them define their goals for the page. It’s time to let them loose on creating their pages.
If you’re giving your team a library of templates to choose from, this is where they’ll pick the template that best works with their page goals. And if you’re giving them a master template to work from, this is where they’ll get to fine-tune that layout to meet the goals.
Regardless of which option you’re using with your team, their choices around template and layout will be made easier if they have all the content for the page—photos, stories, headline ideas, cool tidbits of information that you’re not sure how you’re going to use—packaged up.
It can be tough to know all of that ahead of time, but the more you know, the easier it will be to put the page together. It’ll also help your team stay true to their page goals.
Speaking of which, once the template is picked, it’s good to go through one last series of questions. Here they are:
- If someone only glances at this page for a moment, what should they take away?
- If someone reads the whole page, what additional benefit will they gain?
- Do these elements convey the full experience of the event or subject being covered?
- Do all the elements in the package complement each other? If not, where is the breakdown?
If the goal of the yearbook page is still clear after those questions, which it should be, it’s time to move on to the next step.
Step 4: Add Your Content
Layout, meet content. Content, meet layout.
With goals set and the page’s layout done, this is the easiest part. Drag and drop the photos into place, and paste the text into the placeholder copy.
If you and your team are prepared, this step can take less than five minutes.
Step 5: Edit it, Get Feedback, Proof it
Think you’re done? Not so fast.
Walking away after plugging in your content is a high-risk scenario. You and your team want to edit your yearbook page, get feedback on it, and do a final proof before you finally say, “Done.”
These steps steps are critical when it comes to knowing how to make a yearbook page that’s as good as it can be and free of any mistakes. Use these three processes for making sure that happens:
- Editing. From photo cropping to copywriting to correcting mistakes, this is the time when you and your team can make improvements on everything on the page. It’s best done with a fresh set of eyes, so either leave this to someone who didn’t make the yearbook page or put it aside for a few days.
- Feedback. Though a yearbook page is largely the work of an individual team member, it can be made better by the input of few a more. Good constructive criticism is the trick to helping any yearbook page reach its potential.
- Proofing. This is the last chance to make sure everything’s set. You’ll want to double-check the page against your style guide, and ensure your page is free from any embarrassing mistakes (like misspelling names). It’s best to do this on a print-out.
Though yearbook pages often look like works of art, it’s the process of making a yearbook page that allows for that to happen. And the easier your process is to follow, the better time everyone will have working on it. Plus, it’ll make sure all your pages meet the biggest criteria for an awesome yearbook: Consistency.