There’s a reason many high school yearbooks use the same spreads year after year: they work. But we think a lot of the resistance to change also comes from the (totally unfounded) fear that putting a fresh spin on your coverage takes a lot of extra work.
We promise it doesn’t. You just need to give some aspects of your yearbook a bit of a facelift by crowdsourcing content, using elements of social media, or incorporating interactive content, like polls and quizzes.
With these changes to your high school yearbook, you can make your tried-and-true pages in this year’s book a genuine snapshot of life today—and it’s not even that hard. Read on, because we’ve got 15 ideas on how and where you can do it.
1. “Best of” 2020
You’ve seen the conventional “year in review” spread, but why not personalize it for your school? Poll students to determine the favorite film, song, artist, TV show, book, celebrity, and such of the year, and include quotes from students about what makes them popular. This page now presents a snapshot of what pop culture was like at your high school.
2. When I grow up…
Sometimes students forget that teachers were once kids, too. Uncover another dimension of your educators by asking what they thought they were going to be when they grew up. You can even place these alongside students predictions for a fun spread. Illustrating some of the most creative options (perhaps using Photoshop) can really make these ideas come to life.
3. Use words over images in your style spread
You might have planned on incorporating a “Fashionista” spread already, but why not jazz it up by inserting text over the top of your images? Handwritten font superimposed on images is all over style magazines and social media at the moment, and this would be a perfect spread to showcase the trend. Over each picture of your school’s “style icons” use arrows and texts to label the stylish pieces, like statement necklaces, skinny jeans, or popped collars.
4. Geometric Instagram shots
Long gone are the days of worrying about having enough coverage of key events. With everyone carrying a camera in their pocket, you’ve got enough creative content to last a lifetime. It’s a popular idea to incorporate Instagram photos into your yearbook, but you can make yours really stand out by arranging the vibrant filtered photos into a contemporary geometric pattern across two pages.
5. United Nations
Instead of using a world map layout for your international feature, channel Ban Ki-moon by creating your own United Nations general assembly. Gather exchange students and students who have spent considerable amounts of time volunteering or traveling in another country to be assembly members. Use classroom desks and miniature flags to take a mock UN photo and give each student a short bio underneath.
6. Cafeteria cuisine
If you scope the Internet for recipes, you’ve probably noticed one of the big photography trends hitting social media right now: “view from above” recipe photos and videos. But instead of showcasing ingredients, take a “view from above” photo of students’ favorite foods at the cafeteria. You can also include quotes from students about what makes them their favorite.
7. Secret favorites match game
This fun game will have readers try to match the student or teacher to his or her “secret favorite.” If could be food, books, movies, actors—you name it. Your readers could be in for a surprise, to find that your chemistry teacher is covertly a sucker for Hugh Grant movies.
8. School lingo
This other interactive spread will have readers guessing the meaning of “hip” school slang and local lingo. It might be a cinch for students now, but it will be a bit more challenging (and nostalgic) when they look back years down the line.
9. “How I’ve changed”
To keep your yearbook inclusive, you need fresh ways to capture every student on campus. This unique spread could feature students who have overcome a fear or had a life-changing experience in 2016.
10. Background (super)heroes
It’s important to devote some yearbook space to your school’s “background heroes,” like the cafeteria workers, custodians, staff members, and advisers. If you want to add some extra spark, plus a little bit of humor, when doing so, have them wear a cape in the photo and give them a superhero moniker, like “Captain Fix-It,” or “Scholarship Woman.”
11. Art show
This spread showcases all your creative students, not just the ones in art class. When crowdsourcing photos, ask students to send in some of their works of art as well. This could include traditional paintings and sketches, but also notebook doodles, painted tennis shoes, computer design, or any number of other artistic expressions.
Here’s the time to use all those silly pictures you never thought would make it to the yearbook. Find candid pictures (or ask students to submit them) that were taken at “just the right time,” like in the middle of spilling a drink or making a funny face. Of course, you’ll want to ask for the subject’s permission before you include them in the yearbook—the spread is meant to be humorous, not hurtful.
13. Tech boom
There’s no getting around it, we’re in the midst of a technological revolution. Give a nod to history by including a brief timeline of tech advancements that occurred during your students’ lifetimes. Fill out the top and bottom of the spread by featuring technologically gifted students and their work.
14. #1 Fans
Somewhere in the sports section, devote a spread to just the fans. Include some of the best dressed (like that sophomore in the crazy hat, or the girl with the cool face paint), spirit squads, pep bands, and maybe even devoted parents who make it to every game.
15. Pop quiz
Wrap up your yearbook with a “pop quiz” about your high school in 2020. Include multiple choice questions like “who were prom king and queen,” or “what was the best-selling item at the cafeteria?” This a fun way to keep students engaged, and will give them something special to check out in the future. You could include the answers hidden in the ads page or upside down in small font at the bottom.
With just a few of these updates, your high school yearbook pages will be reenergized and ready to excite (and represent) this year’s students—with minimal effort on your part.