The Only Yearbook Timeline You'll Need

Yearbook adviser pencils in important details ont he yearbook planning timeline

Project manager. Social media marketer. Volunteer luncheon coordinator. Teacher liaison. Journalist. School historian. Memory maker. Yearbook coordinators wear all these hats and more! Below, we’ve taken one thing off your to-do list and compiled all the things on the definitive yearbook timeline so your planning and production resources are in one place.

When Last Year’s Book is Complete…

Don’t freak out. Keep scrolling if you were just handed the reins to the yearbook.


If there’s one thing we hear from advisers around the globe, it’s that they wish they started earlier! And while we can’t give you the gift of time, we can hook you up with some ideas to save you some.

Create a Plan

(Note to self: planning and controlling are two different things.)

It’s impossible to think about yearbooks without considering yearbook themes. Whether you use a pre-designed one or create your own using Treering’s design application, make sure it tells the story of your school this year.

Black yearbook cover with colored half tone and cut out quotes for "Speak Life" yearbook theme
Editor Bailey said her team chose Treering Yearbooks’ Spectrum theme because “we wanted to hear from our classmates, so the idea of quotes became something we all were attracted to.”

Gather the school calendar, and PTA-sponsored events, previous yearbooks, and, with your team, start your ladder. This will be the overarching plan for the year(book). Your yearbook details should align with your ladder.

From there, add your team, create shared folders, and decide how to assign spreads. You’ll want to schedule follow-up meetings and track progress on this timeline.

Pre- and post-event check-ins ensure expectations are set and met. 

Start Marketing

When we think of marketing, we think of yearbook sales. It’s so much more. Your marketing plan should include

  • Crowdsourcing efforts
  • Yearbook staff recruitment
  • Yearbook sales

No one will know what you do (create the most epic yearbook ever), what you need (photos, photos, and more photos), and how they can be a part of it (upload photos, join the team, host a party) if you don’t tell them. 

Back to school is the ideal season to begin selling your yearbooks for two reasons: early discounts and the opportunity to earn free yearbooks. We’ve created a marketing plan template so you can stay organized.

If you are using your yearbook as a fundraiser, once again, work backward from your goal. For instance, is the PTG trying to earn money for more books in the library or playground equipment? Is your yearbook team trying to invest in new equipment? How much per book is needed to earn that amount of money?

Gather Content

August through November offer myriad opportunities to capture content and begin building your book:

Fall Festival yearbook spread with petting zoo, ultimate frisbee, and craft photos.
Start building your book as soon as images come in. (This book uses Treering Yearbooks’ Stay Gold theme.)

Seize the [Picture] Day

Portraits comprise 40-60% of the average yearbook. If you aren’t on a first-name basis with your school photographer, it’s time to change that.

Touch base with your photographer and double-check they will export the photos in PSPA format (this is industry standard, but not everyone uses it) and confirm how they will deliver them to you. Copy your picture day coordinator on all correspondence (and offer up this professional school photographer’s advice).

Kindergartner on picture day at school
Pro tip: have a mom or dad at the head of the picture day line to help smooth flyaways, relieve nerves, and keep order.


When you hit winter on the timeline, there is a shift at school: everyone becomes vacation-focused, and the list of things to do multiplies. (Late to the party? We have you covered with our yearbook quick start guide.)

Stay the Course

By now you have a rhythm: Your team has their assignments and together you’re tracking progress. Fall event pages are drafted and in the yearbook. Portraits should arrive momentarily. You follow up every event with an ask for additional POVs. 

Begin Proofreading 

Treering Yearbooks allows you to download a PDF proof of your book throughout the design process. Here’s how we use them:

  1. Hand our portrait pages to teachers to help verify names and classroom placement
  2. Project pages and evaluate them as a team
  3. Track coverage
  4. Post sneak peeks on campus

We have a whole module in our free yearbook curriculum on editing.

Laptop open to a yearbook spread with a PDF proof next to it for tracking coverage
Sequoia High tracks coverage by using their PDF proof to cross off people who are in the book so they can target those who are not.

Cover Year-End Festivities

Fall and winter are the seasons for Bodhi Day, Christmas, Diwali, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Thanksgiving. Consider adding family celebrations to your coverage timeline as well as class parties.

Inspire Generosity

‘Tis the season to be selfless! Treering’s donation option makes it easy for families to gift yearbooks to the school. Advisers and coordinators then share the love by distributing yearbooks to those in need or gifting them to staff members.


It’s time to spring into action and finish the book! (Heads up: it’s also time to get those yearbook spreads and personalized pages ready for Treering Yearbooks’ spring contests.)

We don’t talk about Bruno, but we do talk about personalized pages. A lot. The best part? They only print in your copy of the yearbook, making it truly the story of your year.

Finish Strong

If winter was the season everyone is ignoring you, in spring, everyone has questions. Can I have more time? How do I get my photos in? How do I buy a yearbook?

Some easy ways to help save your sanity are:

  • Be proactive and share the personalized pages tutorial online (seasoned advisers hold their own training session).
  • Use templates or the auto page builder to start your layouts. You can always modify them.
  • Make sure all teachers and the front office staff have the ordering info. You may even want to share a QR code for them to place in newsletters.

Let It Go… and Celebrate!

Before you hit print ready, ask yourself:

  1. Do we need to order extra books? (Some schools like to keep a copy in the library.)
  2. How do we want our books sorted?
  3. Where should our books be sent? 
  4. When will they arrive and do we need expedited shipping?


High five! You did it! 

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