The Best Yearbook Covers We Printed 2016

The Best Year Covers We Printed This Year

If you’re looking for yearbook covers to inspire you, you need to remember that the best of the best aren’t just nice to look at. They also do one of three things really well: They reflect an overarching theme, they capture the spirit of a school’s community, or they embrace a longstanding tradition.

Sometimes, they do more than one of those. That’s not by accident or happenstance.

The best yearbook covers are created when a team thinks hard about what it wants to achieve with its cover and then works hard to do it. Because of that, yearbook covers often have stories behind them. And, really, when you get down to the brass tacks, that’s what ends up making a cover so darn good.

Sure, the usual Pinterest board hopping and lookbook browsing is great for finding yearbook cover designs that you can emulate or adjust to fit your needs. But those sources of inspiration never seem to get into the stories behind the covers. And we think those are stories worth telling.

Inside this post, we’ll show you the best yearbook covers we printed this year, and we’ll give you the background on what makes them so great.

What Makes Yearbook Cover Designs Good

There’s no single design element that’ll guarantee your yearbook cover will be a success. You can use student art, stunning photography, conceptual art, or anything in between.

No matter the element, your yearbook cover succeeds when it’s well thought out and does one of three things:

  • Reflect an overarching theme,
  • Capture the spirit of a school’s community,
  • Embrace a longstanding tradition

When you’re designing your yearbook cover, then, think about what’s important to your school, pick one of the goals above, and try to distill that into a yearbook cover.

Also, the other thing that makes a yearbook cover design really good? A lot of feedback and a willingness to embrace it.

Talk with your yearbook team to get their feedback on the design, challenge yourselves to truthfully answer whether your cover achieves the goal it sets out to achieve, and be willing to make adjustments if needed.

If you can do that, you’ll design a great yearbook cover for your school.

The Best Elementary School Yearbook Covers We Printed This Year

After digging through all of our elementary school yearbook covers, we pulled together a group of incredible examples from the 2015-2016 school year.

Here they are, with some details on what we love about them, and the stories behind them.

Blue School (New York)

Blue School Yearbook Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

The tradition. Blue School doesn’t deviate from their tried and true formula (white cover, school logo, year designation) and why would they? It works. We like it because it’s traditional, yet clean. And there’s something to be said for consistency.

Fairmount School (Downers Grove, Ill.)

Fairmount School Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

The collection of smiling faces. Look closely, though, and you’ll likely notice that most of them are selfies. Marina Jovanovic, Fairmount School’s yearbook editor, said she settled on the idea for a pretty practical reason. “Kids are immersed daily in a digital world full of emojis, hashtags and selfies which, by nature, tend to be photos where kids light up, have fun and can be silly. I really wanted to capture our students having fun and the feeling of the time.” A yearbook cover that looks good and gets students to light up? We’re in.

Roaring Brook School (Avon, Conn.)

Roaring Brook School Yearbook Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

The artwork. Really, nothing celebrates your students more than a contest that asks them to express their creativity. Hold that contest every year and you’ll add a dose of tradition. It’s tough to beat that combination. When we talked to Courtenay Kanell, who runs the yearbook at Roaring Brook, she told us “the graduating 4th graders, if they choose, can enter their artwork into the annual RBS cover contest.” Teachers vote on the submissions to pick a winner, and the runner up’s artwork is placed on the back cover.

Roslyn Road Elementary (Barrington, Ill.)

Roslyn Road Elementary School Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

At Roslyn Road, the school’s annual theme this year was “Kindness Matters.” You can never argue with an extra lesson in that, especially when it hits the yearbook, and you can’t argue with the way the school’s yearbook team, led by Wendy Engelking, covered that theme with an emoji-focused design. (So hot right now.)

Wyngate Elementary School (Bethesda, Md.)

Wyngate Elementary School Yearbook Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

The poop emoji. (Just kidding. Sort of.) Though Wyngate Elementary doesn’t hold an annual student artwork contest like Roaring Brook, yearbook editor Amanda Coelho worked with students at the school on the yearbook, which was to be inspired by the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series. Hence the doodles. “Originally these were meant to be used throughout the yearbook but that proved to be a little more challenging that we thought,” Coelho said. “When it came time to designing the cover and I was looking through all of Treering’s great designs it occurred to me that I already had great designs… I love that it’s authentic and relevant to the year (what other yearbook has a hand doodled poop emoji!).”

The Best High School Yearbook Covers We Printed This Year

Of course, we couldn’t leave all the fun to elementary schools. We had to check out our high schools, too.

Here are five more covers, along with the details, to check out:

Garrett High School (Garrett, Ind.)

Garrett High School Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

The symbolism. Garrett High School yearbook cover is about one thing: the community. As Hannah Gilliland, the school’s yearbook adviser, explains, “We are from a railroader community. We are the Garrett Railroaders and we wanted to incorporate that into our theme.” The final product feels almost poetic and totally achieves the goals of reflecting the larger cultural identity of the school and the town itself.

Hutchison High School (Fairbanks, Alaska)

Hutchison High School Yearbook Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

The creativity. When we talked with student Emma Daniels, who designed the cover, she told us the staff’s goal was to create a yearbook cover that didn’t feel like every other school’s. “We wanted a behind the scenes feel of our school, not the regular high school scene that you find in every other yearbook,” she said. “When you see the cover, it’s like seeing the starting titles to a movie; it’s simple but exciting because you want to know what’s inside, you want to know what’s going to happen next, what it holds, what secrets it has captured.” The deeper meaning of the cover, she said, stems from the staff’s requirement that it be “something artistic to represent how unique and creative the kids at Hutch are.” We’d say they succeeded.

James A. Garfield High School (Garrettsville, Ohio)

James A. Garfield High School Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About This Yearbook Cover

The metaphor. Polaroid elements? Check. Interesting layout? Check. Classy background? Check. The team at James A. Garfield High School set out this year to achieve a vintage vibe “without looking dated,” said yearbook adviser Benjamin Coll. The settled on a scrapbook theme, which is carried out throughout the book with visual elements. “Our yearbook design, much like the school, is comprised of a variety of distinct elements coming together to make something great,” Coll said. Talk about a good metaphor for a school … and a school year.

Oakwood School (Morgan Hill, Calif.)

Oakwood School Yearbook Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

The deeper story. When we talked with Jude Saleet, Oakwood’s yearbook adviser, he told us how his students are learning to incorporate theme through visual elements. And they really aced it with their emphasis on triangles. The book, and cover, are beautiful. But it’s the images on Oakwood’s yearbook cover that really caught our eye. See, the yearbook staff worked to create a yearbook that relied, in part on community involvement. Those pictures on the cover? They were all taken by students and submitted to the yearbook staff through Instagram, Saleet said. “It tells a deeper story to who we are,” he said. “These kids have lives outside school that also influence and dictate who they are.”

Weinbaum Yeshiva High School (Boca Raton, Fla.)

Yeshiva High School Cover 2015-2016

What We Love About It

Dr. Seuss. The artwork on the front of this yearbook cover is classic Seuss: whimsical cartoons and pastels galore. And lest you shout “that’s not what high school is all about,” we’ll offer you this: “Oh! The Places You’ll Go” makes dozens and dozens of lists for top books for high school graduates. But nevermind that. The students at Weinbaum Yeshiva carried the Seuss-iness (is that a word?) through the entire book … and straight through to the back cover, where a poem penned by the senior class addresses their fellow schoolmates and offers a fond goodbye to the school. A cover like this, as unique as this is, can only be summed up by Seuss himself: “Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

When it comes to creating great yearbook covers, it’s not just the designs that matter.

As you can see from the covers we highlighted, it’s the story of the cover and the connection it makes to the rest of your yearbook—and your school as a whole—that makes it so good.

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