Yearbook Covers: Every Story Needs A Great Beginning

If you’ve already read our yearbook themes post, you’re probably ready to start thinking about yearbook covers. The cover needs to be spectacular. It’s also important that it captures the perfect mix of school spirit, your yearbook theme, creativity and cleverness. It’s a critical component to plan for as you think about all yearbook ideas.

So, how do you find that yearbook cover? We asked yearbook adviser, Clara Wallace, from Lisa J Mails Elementary, to give us her advice. Here are her tips.

Choosing a Style

From artistic to eclectic, or traditional versus minimalistic, there are many styles of design to choose from. Finding a cover that fits with your theme should be your first consideration. A yearbook that is consistent from front cover to back cover will be professional and appreciated by your students, teachers and parents.

Aim For One of a Kind Yearbook Covers

When I was the yearbook editor in junior high school, I was in charge of coming up with ideas for the cover. In those days, before the Internet, we were pretty limited as far as researching creative ideas went. Design was very traditional. We used school logos and colors, and incorporated the school name and year. Nothing more.

Still, we shot for a cover that was one of a kind and that meant something to our school. One year, we had a student who was an amazing artist, so we commissioned him to draw a cover for us. Even though we used traditional elements, this cover (pictured below) was unique from other years. Individuality is one of the most powerful elements of great design.

Run a Yearbook Covers Contest

The lesson from my junior high school years taught me to look to students for art. How do you uncover those hidden talents? Have a contest.

Here’s how to hold a cover contest at your school:

1) Give parameters like, what materials and media should be used, dimensions and word choice. You’ll at least want the school name, year and yearbook title included in the artwork.

2) Consider an idea that incorporates the ideas of multiple students. It’s a great way to better represent your school community. Besides, it gives more students the opportunity to have their talents and expressions showcased.

3) Make sure to provide a deadline!

I ran a cover contest, calling for art from students, last year at Lisa J Mails Elementary. Students submitted drawings done in black pen that we later digitized in Illustrator. Not only did we utilize art from multiple students, we were able to use drawings from EVERY student! We gave credit to students inside the front cover. They loved seeing their art in the yearbook.

Yearbook Covers: Photo From Lisa J Mails Elementary

Stock Designs

The Internet has made uncovering online stock designs and photographs a rather simple matter. A search for yearbook cover designs results in 1,170,000 results on Google. Yes, you read that right: One Million. Additionally, depending on which yearbook publishing software you utilize, you may be able to select one a beautifully predesigned cover.

Design Yearbook Covers from Scratch

If you are designing a cover from scratch, you have a lot of options of where to uncover ideas. We just talked about how much inspiration was available on Google, but I’m also becoming a big fan of using Pinterest since it’s visually curated. And we all know that everything about the yearbook is visual. Take a look at our post on the best yearbook covers we’ve printed for some inspiration and more tips on how to design your cover.

Turning Ideas Into Design

Now that you’ve researched and put together your ideas, it’s time to apply them to your actual design. But if you don’t have graphic design skill, you’ll need some help.

1) Find a designer at school. If you have the ability to work with a graphic designer, they will be able to design and layout virtually any idea you might have. Since budgets are tight when it comes to schools, put the word out to your school community asking if there are any parents who might be graphic designers who can help.

2) Another option is to look online. Sites like oDesk and TaskRabbit are great places to hire freelance designers by the hour.

3) Photographers tend to have a strong grasp of photo editing programs. Ask your school photographer, or see if someone on staff is a shutterbug in their free time.

4) High school graphic design teachers teach Photoshop and Illustrator, programs that professionals use for design. If you are building an elementary or junior high book, contact your local high school graphic arts teacher and see if they might be able to help.

My last word of advice: if you decide to work with a designer, always ask to see examples of their work. This helps you make sure they have the capability of delivering to your expectations.


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