Why a Good Cover is So Important
Creating the cover for your yearbook is such an important step. The cover is the first thing the students will see when you give them the finished book. You want them to be excited and eager to look through the yearbook because the cover is so inviting.The cover should represent your school and graduating class. 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. We hope this blog will help you realize that there are many directions you can take and coming up with the cover idea might be the most creative step in the yearbook process!
Be Creative – there is no right or wrong cover idea
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.Is there a parent who is an artist? Some of the best covers we’ve seen have been created by parent artists. We’ve even framed the original artwork and given it the school as a gift from the graduating class. You can also see if any students want to create a cover. Often yearbook covers take on the same theme as the year end graduation party.
Considerations for Creating a Cover
Sometimes a cover can be as simple as using color as its theme. Many times less is more when it comes to your yearbook cover. 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
Think about what’s important to your school, pick one of the goals above, and try to utilize that into a yearbook cover. Now, take it a step further and incorporate one of the following:
Be Trendy: What are the hottest styles, words, and events of the year? Incorporate them into the cover and throughout your book. Though the trendy theme is an old idea, it is always fresh because trends changes every year. Always trending. This theme will share the overall emotion of the times in which we live and makes for a great memory book.
Stay in School: This theme is school-based and begins with the specific issues, events and vibe of your own school, and specifically, your own class. This is a fun theme because it is so endearing to the members of your class. These are priceless memories and experiences that will outlive this book itself and are sure to bring a smile to the face of each student each time they pick up the book and look through -today as well as years from now.
Inspire: This theme never goes out of style. Timeless,this theme covers the basics but also seeks to inspire. The goal of this theme is to have an impact on many, over and over again. Kudos to you for taking this approach. And only you know the best way that your class can inspire others.
Our Culture: The nation has never been more mixed than it is today. This theme celebrates diversity and inclusion. This theme makes it a point to highlight the many people groups represented in its hallways. This must be done with great tact. Always discuss such sensitive issues before running with them. This theme is a great way to channel your collective energy and will leave a very healthy legacy for your class.
Here are some thought starters with image templates to consider::
Comics – “Comics” type used throughout the yearbook is a “fun,” upbeat look!
Outdoors School Colors
All of these cover ideas lend themselves to incorporate individual photos of the school, classrooms and students. As you can see from each of the various cover themes, it’s really all about your school and incorporating a cover theme that represents the students and their school experience. You want the cover to be the beginning of the yearbook’s story – the story of each student’s journey through their school. The story is in the cover, and the connection it makes to the rest of your yearbook and your school as a whole that will make it so good.
Have fun! Get creative!
We’ve already discussed organizing your team and assigning responsibilities to team members. Your team should also have completed its yearbook planned layout or “ladder.” This is done by determining which people, events and subjects will be included in the yearbook. You should plan out the page order and how many pages will be dedicated to each section or subject.
A book ladder, as shown below, is often helpful in getting a good visual feel for how the book will look. We realize it’s not possible to know exactly what the final book will look like, but the more detailed you are in planning, the easier it will be to proceed in an organized way. Additional pages can always be added once you get going.
Downloading the Design Software
Most schools will be using the desktop version of our yearbook layout software. In this scenario, you will download and install a copy of Yearbook Fusion onto your computer. While the software runs on your computer, all files are saved online. This will insure that nothing is lost if your computer malfunctions. This workflow also allows your team to collaborate on the design of the book from different locations using their own computer.
Setting Up Your Software
When we send you the link to download the software, we include your user ID. The point person or manager, for your yearbook team will need to enter this ID information as well as create a password. Other team members will need to follow this procedure on their computers, too. Once you have logged in, you will see the My Book tab at the top left of your screen.
The next step is to set up and assign team roles. This is done under the Team tab. As the manager, you can designate the specific roles and responsibilities for people on your team. Often team members have designations such as Co-manager, Advisor, Editor, etc. Their roll will also define their level of access to the book. For example, a Co-manager can edit, add, remove, reorder and approve pages, while an Editor can only edit pages specifically assigned to him. Setting up your team using the interface is a simple, intuitive process. Changes to permissions and responsibilities can be modified in the future.
Adding Pages to Your Yearbook
Now let’s add some pages to your yearbook. This process should be guided by the page layout/ladder you planned. You should add pages for each of your planned sections. Under the Book tab, you will see an add pages button. When you click on the blank page icon, a “new section” box pops up, allowing you to name the section. Specify how many pages will be in this section and decide if you want pages to be designed as single pages or 2-page spreads. Once this information is entered, click create section to generate these pages in your yearbook layout.
In the example below, we have added a page for the “principal’s message, 5 pages for “Teachers and Staff” and 2 pages for “First Day of School.”
Continue setting up sections and pages in the yearbook, completing your planned layout. Once you have all pages set up, hover over the section or page and select ASSIGN THIS SECTION FOR PAGE EDITING. You can assign and make changes to which team members will be responsible.
Pages versus Sections
A section is a group of pages that will always remain together in the layout. If you are not sure how many pages you will need for a section, you should estimate on the low side, or simply set it up as one page. It’s easy to add more pages once you get into the design. A big time saver is to design a page for a section and then copy it to use in the rest of the section to pick up the design attributes. Reordering pages in the book at any time is easily done, but pages within sections must always stay together.
Pages versus Spreads (double pages)
Pages are single pages in a book and are designed one at a time as you go. These can be reordered and moved to other parts of the book. Spreads are double pages showing the left and right sides on your desktop. Spreads are nice because you can see pages side by side as you layout your design. The drawback is that the pages will not fit as well on your computer screen and you will not be able to delete just one page of the spread if you determine that you don’t need it.
When your pages are set up, you can start designing. Find the page you want to work on in your pages layout, hover over it and a toolbar will pop up. Click on the pencil tool and a full-size page will open and you are ready to begin your layout.
In our next blog post, we will go over the yearbook design tools you will be using to design and edit pages.
OK, so your school has made the decision to publish a yearbook. Awesome! This is a cool thing to do on many levels and will be a lifelong keepsake for the children involved and appreciated by parents and staff. The thought of creating a yearbook can be overwhelming. You may be thinking “I’m in over my head” or “I don’t have the design software or experience to create a great looking book.”
No worries – Inkwell Yearbooks has got you covered! Our service provides all the tools, advice and any help you need along the way and we will seamlessly deliver a high-quality yearbook once you finalize your design. Our free, online layout software makes the process simple. For details on the many features and benefits, check out this video. Please contact us for more information or to request a free sample.
The best tip we can give you as you start into the yearbook publishing process is to be organized. Taking time to do some planning at the start will make the process of designing and building the actual pages go much faster and eliminate a lot of potential delays and frustrating moments. The following are some other suggestions to help keep you on track.
The yearbook team
Recruit one or more people for the yearbook team. This can include photographers, designers, helpers, and someone to be the administrator. For older school grades, consider recruiting responsible students to help. Many schools have photography, literature and yearbook clubs. If you will be selling the yearbook to students, someone should be in charge of budget planning and advertising. Often, schools will come up with fundraisers to defray or eliminate the cost to students.
Plan, plan, and plan some more. Get together with your team and come up with a rough idea of which school events and functions that need to be included in the yearbook. Think about events like field trips, dances, clubs and sports teams. Don’t forget about holiday function. You will probably want to spotlight the school staff and teachers. And of course, many pages will be portrait pages for the children involved. It’s also important to have all the students represented in the yearbook. One way to feature lots of kids is to have “candid” pages, with picture collages. You will also want to think about what kind of a “feel” your yearbook will have. Some schools use a common theme throughout the yearbook and others use a more eclectic style.
Once you have a rough idea of what will be included in the yearbook, sketch out a page ladder or layout. This will show where in the book a section will go and how many pages you plan to dedicate to the section. One benefit of the layout plan is that you can assign people on the team to work on specific sections.
Capturing school events
Now that you have decided what will be included in the yearbook, you will need to capture those events. Create a timeline of when school events will be happening as well as when certain tasks need to be completed. Take lots of photos and gather any other information for each specific event or section. Our software allows you to upload your images to be used in the book design. Ideally, you would create a “yearbook” and have subfolders for each event or section of the book and upload any appropriate photos to it. It’s best to go through images and choose the best before uploading. Now, when you are designing the ‘Field Trip” section of the book, all you need to do is drag your photos from this folder onto the canvas.
Become familiar with the design software
You should have any team members who will be doing the actual design and layout work start to become familiar with the software. Our tutorial videos will get you off to a fast start. Each team member can access the software from their own desktop and be working on the same book. The administrator assigns sections to the appropriate people and they have the ability to design and make changes only to their section.
Before you start into the actual book design, we recommend “playing” with the different tools and functions to get a feel for how things work. You should spend time reviewing the hundreds of pre-designed template pages as the templates allow you to pick a theme and drop in your type and photos, creating pages easily and quickly. There are even complete yearbook files you can use and simply customize for your school. Creating your own custom pages is simple as well. The software has a library of background designs as well as clip art and picture frames. So the idea is to figure out what your section or overall book will look like, then decide if you will be using templates or doing your own custom designs. Most books are a mix of both.
It’s almost time for school to start up again and that means it’s also time to start planning your yearbook. A crucial part of planning is creating a timeline. A timeline will reduce stress and make the process of creating a yearbook go much smoother. All you need to do is follow these tips and before you know it you’ll have a finished timeline for the upcoming year.
The best way to create a timeline is to start with your due date and work backward. Once you’ve established when you need to be finished, it will be easier to budget the time for each task involved in building your book. Working backward will also help to divide up your time while preventing stress and procrastination. That last minute rush to get everything thing done is avoided because you have planned properly.
Now that you have your end date established, you need a starting point. As soon as your team decides what needs to be included in the yearbook, determine which sections are the most important. Once you know what the bigger sections will be, prioritize these and make their deadlines first. This will not only ensure that they get done first but that they get done on time.Because certain parts of your yearbook will be more important than others, it is helpful to finish the more crucial parts of the book first, allowing you and your committee the most time to work on these sections. And if it ends up you need more time to finish, you will have it.
Something else you should consider when dividing up your time is marking your calendar with multiple deadlines, not just one final one. Creating a yearbook is a huge project, so splitting up the work into smaller sections can be essential to creating the best book possible. That being said, you will still need to make sure your deadlines are attainable. Keep your due dates realistic or their purpose will be defeated. If done correctly, deadlines can help ensure you don’t forget to do anything important regarding your yearbook. It’s easier than you think to forget important elements of your book, but planning ahead and establishing due dates will help eliminate this possibility.
Another way to make sure your timeline is properly organized is by making sure each deadline is very specific. Your deadlines and due dates exist to help your committee be more aware of when to get things done. They also ensure that you and your team will not forget to get any parts of the project done. If your deadlines are too vague, the section may not end up getting done correctly.
For example, if one of your deadlines is a photo feature for your school’s baseball team, mention everything that needs to be done for that deadline. Brainstorming the idea, contacting the team and coaches, setting up the photo shoot, editing the photos, and when the final spread is due, are all steps that can be included. The more detailed the better, especially for someone less experienced with creating and planning yearbooks. Covering all the details up front makes it easier for your team to stay on track, and ensures you don’t miss anything crucial.
Build a buffer
Often, a huge issue teams come across when designing yearbooks is missing deadlines. Even when they are very detailed, it can be easy to miss them or not get the work done in time. Once you miss one deadline, everything else seems to fall out of place and you can quickly find your team falling behind.
An easy way to avoid this is by allowing a small amount of time per deadline, rather than just one day. This buffer doesn’t need to be shared with the rest of your committee. In fact, it is better if you use it as just a safety net to keep the yearbook on track and not fall behind.
Google Docs can be very good for your timeline and everything your yearbook team needs. You can use it to make your spreadsheets, text documents, and more. This will help you stay on top of all your projects. Since everything is easily shared, you and your team can work on the documents at the same time from different devices, even if you are in different locations. Using the comment and sharing features, you will be able to minimize the amount of information your committee will have to send back and forth. All of the perks that come with Google Docs will keep your timeline more organized and super easy to follow.
The more organized you about planning out your yearbook, the smoother the process will go. Having deadlines allows your team to know exactly what needs to be done and when. So start setting up those deadlines and remember to stick to them!
It’s never too early to start planning out your yearbook. In fact, the earlier the better. Creating yearbook content takes lots of planning and time. A head start on the process never hurts and can save lots of last minute stress. It only takes a few steps to get started.
Determine Your Budget
Deciding a budget for your yearbook is a crucial first step to the process. Talk to your school and see who is responsible for how much you have to spend. Often, the PTA or PTO allocates a certain amount of money per student. Each organization runs differently so make sure you know exactly how much you have to spend. Then you will need to calculate the expenses for all of your supplies and how much it will cost to print the actual book. The cost of your supplies and printing is your out of pocket expense. Subtract your out of pocket expense from the budget provided by the school to determine if you will need to seek additional funding to cover your costs. Often schools charge the students for the yearbook so the out of pocket cost is covered. Other schools don’t want the students to pay for their yearbook so the yearbook committee fund raises to meet any cost differential. Once you have determined where you stand, you can include fundraising as one of your planned steps.
Put Together a Team
The second step you need to take in order to correctly plan out your yearbook is to recruit a team to help you. This can be a touchy area as you want people on your committee who are willing to work hard and will accept whatever task you assign them. Often parents want to join the yearbook committee but are unable to provide much help. Make sure you have discussions with each potential member before allowing them to join the yearbook team. Be specific as to what is expected and explain each role as an integral component to the success of the yearbook. This will also help you avoid unnecessary stress further down the road. The last thing you want is to be dependent on someone who is not pulling their weight.
Once you find people willing to assist you in creating the book, you will need to assign jobs. A few main jobs you should look to assign would be a photographer, a writer, an editor, and a photo collector. Your photographers should photograph pre-decided events and take notes on exactly what they have photographed. Your writers should write headlines, photo captions and anything else necessary to your yearbook, and your editors will go through all the writing and make sure everything is accurate, spelled right and grammatically correct. The photo collector needs to make sure enough photos are collected that accurately represent each member of the class, all the events that will be in the yearbook, and individual candid photos and group photos from the school.
Think of Your Theme
The first thing people will see when opening up your yearbook will be the colors, design and artwork included. That’s why it is very important to have a theme, even if it’s something as basic as having specific colors. If the school colors are blue and white, you can theme your yearbook around those colors. Since the theme is such a huge part of your yearbook, you shouldn’t make the decision all on your own. Instead, try discussing different ideas and templates with your team and then take a vote to decide. A few a different theme ideas to consider when voting may be based on a song lyric, artwork, a school mascot and school dance theme. One school chose as it’s theme, the yearly theme for the school given by the principal – such as “School Name – Where We Grow Our Hearts and Our Minds. Another school chose the theme from their 5th grade dance, “Under the Stars.” And another school used the title of the song used in their annual variety show that was dedicated to the graduating class – “I’m on My Way.”
Organize, Organize, Organize!
Organization is both essential and imperative when it comes to yearbook planning and it’s a lot easier than you may think. Simple steps such as creating folders on a shared drive for each grade that will be included in your yearbook can really help you stay on point. Within those folders you can also create subfolders for events that would be occurring within each year, including the upcoming events for the current year. For example, if the First Grade’s always performs an annual winter concert, you should create a subfolder for that event. If you know there is a field trip coming up in fifth grade that has not occurred yet, you can have a subfolder created, making it easy to collect photos for that event after it occurs. If you plan on featuring several years of Halloween or Holiday photos, you can set up folders for these events that are not tied into a specific grade. Having these folders makes collecting and sorting photos easy. When it comes time to start laying out your book, the process will run more smoothly because you took the time to organize each event’s photos beforehand.
Another easy way to stay organized is by scheduling and using deadlines. Pick times and dates for meetings with your yearbook teams. Also make sure you create realistic deadlines in order to get the work you need done on time. These methods will help later on in the year and help you stay on track.Having deadlines helps manage expectations, minimizing last minute problems.
Plan Out Pages
The final main step I recommend taking when first starting out with your yearbook is planning. Make a list of all the different topics and sections you will want in the book. Some pages you may want to include would be a title page, table of contents, staff page, sports, clubs, and an autograph section. After deciding what types of sections you want, you will be able to determine exactly how many pages you should use per specific section. Determine how many students are in the graduating class and how you want to feature each individual in the book. Do you want a profile of each student that may include their kindergarten picture, baby picture, candid photo and current school photo? Do you want to provide the students with a survey that identifies their favorite school memories,best class, what they want to be when they grow up? Have your committee member in charge of “Text” prepare the survey and schedule a time with the teachers to have the students fill out the forms.
You can see that there is a lot to do in planning your yearbook. Take the time and effort to follow each of the steps above and the rest of the yearbook process will be a piece of cake. Creating a great, memorable yearbook for your school will be easier than ever because you took the time to plan it early. So what are you waiting for? It’s time to get started!
Creating a yearbook can seem like a daunting job, even for someone with design experience. However, partnering with Inkwell Yearbooks will make the process of creating yearbooks easy and fun. Our staff is here to give you personalized support and will provide you with our professional design software, which was specifically created for the making of yearbooks. You will be able to work with others as a team and Inkwell Yearbooks will seamlessly produce a high-quality yearbook once your design is finalized. Most importantly, the powerful tools and features are easy to use and “nonartists” can create great looking yearbooks with minimal effort. Here’s a quick overview of some of the features and tools included with our software.
The toolbox allows you to quickly drag and drop elements onto your page. Photos can be resized and modified in the program. Easily add frames and drop shadows.
Choose your font and customize by adding color, drop shadows and even outline your headlines with a second color.
We feature an online drop box where you can upload, store and easily access photos to drag them into your design. Your drop box can be accessed by multiple users and you can even give others a link to contribute photos.
More than 100 predesigned templates are provided in our library. Quickly get started by choosing one or more template pages, then simply drag and drop your photos. Templates are grouped by theme. There are even templates for an entire yearbook.
Creating pages from scratch is fun and easy. Start by choosing a background. Add photos, clipart, and type, to watch pages come together.
There are hundreds of page backgrounds or “papers,” which are sorted by color and style. Browse through to find what works with your theme or with the type of page you are creating. These can cover the entire page as a background or be used as photo frames or design elements.
Clip Art Graphics
Pages really pop when you add interesting artwork. Our graphics include headers as well as icons based on themes.
If you decide you want to use a frame for photos, the process is very simple. A basic picture frame is the default, but you can adjust the width and add color as well as a drop shadow to change it up. Replacing the basic frame with one of the many options in the frame library by dragging the frame over the photo is also an option. This will replace the existing frame.
This software feature allows you to grab anywhere from 8 to 15 photos and drop them on a page. They will be randomly laid out in an interesting way. If you are not happy with the layout, one click rearranges them in a new way. Create complete pages in minutes with this tool.
If you have artwork you would like to use in your design, you would simply scan it and upload it to the drop box. Once you drag it onto your page, you can scale and adjust it.
Your work will be saved to the cloud, ensuring nothing gets lost due to computer failure. This will also allow multiple user access.
Multiple User Collaboration
Work as a team by downloading software to as many computers as needed. This allows your team to work on pages assigned to them as time permits and breaks the large job of creating pages into manageable sections.
Once you have created a page you really like, it’s simple to duplicate and use as a style for other pages in the book. All you have to do is click on the toolbar labeled “Create Copy of this Section”, which will appear whenever you have your mouse hovered over a page.
While many like to create their own cover by using a student’s’ artwork, we have many predesigned covers available as well. These can be adjusted and customized to taste by adding graphics and photos.
You will have a thumbnail view of all pages currently in your book. You can easily change the page order by dragging pages to the appropriate spot.
Once your design is finished, you are able to create a low resolution PDF proof for review before submitting your file for print. This allows the administrator a chance to review all pages and make any last minute adjustments.
Contact us to get started on your yearbook. We will provide cost estimates and get you signed up with a formal agreement. After that, you will be able to download our design software to your computer and to computers of others on your creative team. We encourage people to review tutorial videos and user guides and “play” with the software to begin to learn how things work. Our team is always available to provide support. Our books are printed on high-quality, 100# gloss paper using the most modern digital equipment. Best of all, we can print your book in less than 3 weeks, allowing you to capture the entire year of school functions.