Consistent Yearbook Design: Use a Style Tile for a Bold Publication


Creating a yearbook design that works cohesively from page to page and section to section starts with choosing a great theme. This gives you something to center all of your great ideas around! But a theme alone doesn’t create consistency across the pages of your yearbook spread. You need to dig a little deeper into the core of what you want your design to project in order to keep everyone on the same page.

One of my favorite ways to figure out the exact style your yearbook pages will represent, and keep your whole committee on track to create an awesome final product, is through a style tile. Below, I’ll help you create one that your committee can continually reference, and teach you to how use it in a way that inspires creative concepts that flow perfectly together!

Style Tile Purpose

A newer term in the creative world, a style tile is similar to a style guide, but is solely based on design elements. It dictates the main colors that you’ll use across the pages of your yearbook spread, different fonts that work together for headlines and titles on your pages, as well as the styles and textures that you draw inspiration from for the final look. All of this is laid out in a one-page document that your whole team can use to stay on target with your intended look and feel throughout the scope of your yearbook project.

After you’ve chosen a compelling theme to weave throughout all of the content you create, use our inspiration board activity to establish the style your yearbook design should adhere to. Then take that final inspiration board and create a style tile to work off of. It’s an easy way to stay on target with your design–that’s why I love it!

What to Include

As you’re determining the final style you want your yearbook design to follow, there are a few things to consider. You’ll want to add these to your style tile, to keep the pages of your spread consistent–which allows the actual content to shine!

  • Color Choices: Include three to five main colors that will dominate the pages of your yearbook. It can also be helpful to include two to three neutral colors that compliment your main choices, as supplemental options.
  • Headline Styles: To keep your section and page headers consistent, include examples of what each type of header should look like. This will help you create some cohesion between the different features you add to your spread.
  • Font Options: Include examples of the fonts you want to use across the pages of your yearbook to keep your creative team on track. Choose no more than three fonts, to avoid building a yearbook design that gets too complicated and busy.
  • Inspirational Images: Add some of the original cutouts that helped you establish the direction of your design from the inspiration board activity above. This helps remind your team what images and styles are driving the final project, and keep everyone working in a cohesive direction.
  • Patterns and Textures: If you plan on using different backgrounds within your content, then add examples of what will fit the intended look and feel of your yearbook style for consistency across all the sections you create.

Keep Your Yearbook Design Consistent

Use your style tile as a guide to build an effective layout that compliments the content, instead of overtaking it. Distribute your style tile to everyone on your team–this will help you stay true to the fonts and colors you originally selected. Have your committee strive to evoke that same feeling you get from looking at your original inspiration boards on every page of your book.

One of my favorite things about using a style tile to direct your yearbook design is that it helps to streamline your process. When you start your project by establishing the look and feel of your final publication, you’ll encounter fewer hiccups as you build out your design. It’s easy to determine whether a new concept is a good fit for this year’s book, because you can simply compare it to the guidelines you already laid out. If you’re in doubt about whether a particular page works with the rest of your content, turn back to your style tile. When you compare the page in question to the original inspiration, it becomes easier to tweak the design on particular pages, and ensure that each page of your book flows to the next.

Streamline Your Process

A style tile is kind of like a yearbook creation cheat sheet. While it takes a little work up-front to establish what you want your final project to look like, it can help you create a consistent design from start to finish. And since it helps your team create an amazing yearbook that your entire school is sure to love, it’s a cheat sheet that’s definitely teacher-approved!