High school yearbooks are now customary handouts at the end of the school year with student photos and captions. With yearbooks  there are two types: the impressively designed ones that students will cherish for years to come and the ones that should end up in a box, never to be opened again.

Putting a good yearbook together needs creativity and a lot of attention to detail. A yearbook has a lot of elements included and we have put together a list of essentials for you to make sure you end up with a final product to be proud of.


1. Talkative pictures. Pictures are among the first things people look for when opening a yearbook. They are the most effective way to tell the story of the entire school year. Use meaningful photos that would remind students, teachers and parents of important events that made up the school year. Include pictures of important and fun highlights from a cross section of school activities.

2.Caption this. Although pictures can paint a thousand words, writing captions still matters. Yearbooks are made to last for years. Captions help you make sure that the details of events captured in photo are not forgotten in the years to come. Captions can be formal, creative, witty or funny.

3. A day in the life of a student. Your yearbook need not only depict formal school functions. It has to also focus on student life. Include images and details of what students do in and out of school functions. Sporting events, pep rallies, school dances and stand out everyday school life pictures add a lot of impact in a yearbook’s story telling abilities.

4. Clubs, sports teams and organizations. School life is about learning and developing a sense of belongingness. Include every club, team, and organisation in your yearbook. Make sure to get a team formal and action photos of members. Consult members on how they want to be depicted in the yearbook to avoid cliché photos of them.

5. Testimonials, quotes. Every great year book has moments you can look back on that capture the spirit of the year, using real testimonials about events, sporting allocades and scholastic achievements all make for great personalised moments that can be captured for ever.

6. Thank you. Including a section for teachers that made the school years memorable can add a nice touch to the yearbook. Great yearbooks aren’t just about the students, it’s also about the teachers that helped craft the people that make up the pages. Looking back at your teachers will also remind you of some great stories.


7. It all starts with the cover. The cover is the first thing that everyone sees.  Make this essential part of the book impactful and attention grabbing without crowding the page. Simple is best for the cover as it gives you more options when it comes to using hardcover versus soft. While you can print images and use content on the softcover. A school logo stamped on a hardcover edition can have just as much impact and provide a longer lasting yearbook.

8.The fonts matter. One common mistake in designing a yearbook is using too many fonts on one page. As much as fonts contribute to the page’s design, using too many at once will affect the readability of the text. Avoid using too many fancy fonts as it distracts from the message and makes your pages look unnecessarily crowded. A good rule of thumb is to decide on a font for headers, captions and text and use it consistently throughout the entire book.

9. High resolution photos. The importance of good photos should be emphasized. No matter how memorable photos are if they are low quality, low resolution photos, they will not print well. Choose photos with the most megapixels as possible. A good guide is to save files at 72 dpi or larger.

10. Headers and footers. A factor that can make your yearbook look professionally made is consistency. To achieve this, you may use pre made templates or consult a designer. Consistency is important to establish a good flow from one page to another.


11. Create a list. Spelling, grammar, punctuation, facts and design elements are important and often overlooked. Start out by making a checklist of areas you’d like to include in the year book and then calculate the number of pages you’ll need. A good rule of thumb for books is the page number needs be divisible for 4 so you end up with the correct page layout.

12. Sound check. Reading aloud is recommended for finding punctuation errors and spelling mistakes. Reading aloud allows you to articulate each word individually giving you more time to inspect their spelling and allows you to hear the pauses that you have intended to keep the topic flowing.

13.  Fact check. Details matter especially to the people involved with them. No matter how grammatically correct the test are, if they are not accurate, they will completely lose their meaning. Do a fact check on scores, dates stats, dates and quotes. Have a third party confirm the facts also so you can cross reference the accuracy.

14. Get a hard copy for proofing. Proofing online is important but it is also necessary to be able to see a printed copy before you give the go signal. Some yearbook representatives are able to give you a proof before everything goes to printing. Alternatively, your yearbook designer could also print out the pages with chunks of text for you to proof. Markup your drafts and then move to your final proof.

15. Don’t proof alone. When working on a yearbook, don’t leave all the proofing to yourself. Have your team or another person involved go over it more than once. Having fresh sets of eyes can help you catch errors that are easily missed.

Ask the experts: Need help with more ideas for your yearbook or want to know how to create a theme for your school? Contact us to learn more about how you can create, design and print a yearbook that will capture those memorable moments.

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