Yearbook Theme Development

Once upon a time there was a yearbook adviser; we’ll call her Princess Picaboo (Princess P for short). Princess P was well on her way to creating a dynamic yearbook—one that would be treasured for all of time. But there was one thing missing. Dun. Dun. Dun! A theme.

While a theme is not necessary to the comprehensive coverage of a yearbook, it is vital to the cohesion of the book. Sure, every yearbook will have the pictures, the headlines and the captions. But every great yearbook will tie it all up with a pretty little bow, called theme.

“But the bow is the last thing you put on the package, right?” Princess P said.

Yes, the bow goes on last, but we are looking at the whole package. The bow is the embellishment that adds to the substance of the gift. Just as you’d select the bow before wrapping the gift, the theme adds polish and cohesion to the substance of the coverage.

Every school is unique.  Every school year is unique. Every school has a story to tell. Our job, as a yearbook staff, is to capture that vibe and encapsulate it within the pages of the yearbook. The best way to achieve that is through developing a solid theme.

Gather your staff and collectively brainstorm everything relevant to your school and your community. Look for inspiration in everything! Think about how can you represent your theme throughout the book both verbally and visually, but be careful not to overdo it.

Download our Yearbook Theme Development Handout to help you and your students narrow down all of the fruits of your brainstorming labor. Even if you have to sort through few poisoned apples, there’s bound to be a peach in there somewhere.

Try to keep it simple. There is nothing worse than seeing a variation of the same graphic on every page or reading the same cliché phrase regurgitated in 100 different ways.

Check out our Themes, free pre-designed covers and matching backgrounds and art already loaded to Creator Studio yearbook editor. There are a variety of options to choose from for any grade level.

With some hard work and maybe a dash of good fortune, Princess Picaboo may just get lucky, kiss that frog and get a prince of a theme.

DeeAnn “Devo” Devore is an English teacher in central Virginia. She has dedicated more than 12 years of her career to scholastic journalism and advising publications staffs. She thoroughly enjoys helping students cultivate a similar passion for journalism education. DeAnne is married with two sons who keep her very busy and loves spending any leftover free time traveling the world.