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!