Designing with a Yearbook Theme

You have endless options when it comes to yearbook design. Colors, styles, fonts, the list goes on and on. Among those options is the possibility of an overarching theme that ties the entire yearbook together. At first the idea can seem limiting, but weaving a theme throughout the book can actually create a great cohesive feel.

If you decide to integrate a theme into your design, the first trap to avoid is the “here and now” idea – that is, something that is relevant and clever now, but may appear dated or cliché in the future. It’s important for the theme to relate to the student body, but you should avoid anything too trendy, especially in terms of design.

Get creative with potential themes by holding a brainstorming session to put as many ideas as you can down on paper. You never know what could spark the perfect theme. Start with a few potential “buckets” – school spirit-related, pop culture, look and feel, etc. There is a lot of potential to create a cohesive feel with the simple use of color and font, as well. For example, the yearbook could be done in such a way that it resembles an old newspaper or magazine, with currier new “typewriter” font and splashy headlines. Or if your school team name is something like the bandits, you could weave a Western-style into the book. The yearbook can also be themed by sections, which might make it easier for students to find what they’re looking for in addition to amping up the design style.

You may also decide against a theme, which is a valid design choice and can open up a lot of different options for creativity. If it feels like the book is starting to look too monotonous, ask each of the designers to go wild and create a page using whatever style they choose. The results can be used to throw a splash of the unexpected into portions of the book, perfect for autograph pages in the back, or the clubs and activities section.

Whether using a theme or not, the most important thing is to have fun with your yearbook design. It can be easy to get caught up in a simple style that works, or to stick to conventional methods based on yearbooks past. But never stop looking for new ideas and new style choices. Seek out website and magazines that can help you make the most of the space you have to create a book that looks as unique as the content within.