Before You Know It...

Can it really be that time of year, already? Weren't we just finding ourselves inspired by the bright colors of beach balls and summer blooms? Time flies when you're having fun and summer is NO exception! It's back to school time which means it's time to create your own plan of action regarding your yearbook! • First and foremost, you must recruit (if you haven't already) and organize your team. Whether it's school staff, parent volunteers or additional advisors to help manage a high school yearbook class, you need to have a firm commitment from your team so you're not going this road alone!

• Along with your team and any other 'decision makers' regarding your yearbook, you must decide on details of your book. How many pages, binding type, cover type, theme, advertising sections, etc. When all of these points are decided upon before book layout begins, your life (and the entire yearbooks staff's lives) will be so so much easier. Base your decisions on factors such as student enrollment, price of past books and the popularity of past yearbooks to determine what your book needs to contain to have sales equal to or (ideally) better than years before. 

• Once details are decided upon, create a yearbook ladder. This is just a simple diagram that outlines what will fall on what pages. You'd be surprised how daunting the idea of laying out an entire yearbook can be...seeing it all laid out in front of you on 1-3 pages (depending on your yearbook size) makes it seem oh-so-much-more manageable. This is also a great tool for the photographers and reporters on your team. If they know ahead of time that they need to fill and entire two page spread with football photos and stories, they will be sure to have enough material to use AND on the flip side, if only half a page is devoted to homecoming coronation, you know not to send two team members there with cameras to shoot all night! It's all about being organized and spending your yearbook hours efficiently!

• It's always a good idea to confirm photo days with your professional photographer. Double check times and reshoot days so the entire student body (and staff) know where to be and when. This is also a good time to touch base about the handling of digital files and how you will receive them to use in the yearbook.

• At the beginning of each season, your team should sit down and decide what events need yearbook coverage and who is assigned to what. Decide, based on your ladder how much of each team/club/grade needs coverage. Take occasional 'inventory' of images to ensure your team's time and resources are being used appropriately and most efficiently.

Create a 'deadline board'. Families/students/staff members get busy and sometimes it's easy to forget that there's a yearbook deadline looming! Break down your book into seasons or sections and create a large calendar to mark off deadlines. Make it visible for everyone on the team so when people that are caught up with their deadlines, they can offer to help with those deadlines that are coming up and need a little teamwork!

• Staying organized is KEY. Making sure your entire team is familiar with server navigation, folder structures and naming conventions will save everyone involved time and headaches in the long run. Creating a folder structure for the entire book (whether it's broken down by sections, seasons, or pages) at the beginning of book layout will keep your team from having to guess at how to name folders later when they need them. The more consistency your team has, the easier it will be for the next member to pick up where they left off!

• Plan your book sales campaign. You're working so hard on creating a one of a kind, memorable yearbook...make sure you promote it! Decide on discounts, types of promotion to create excitement and awareness, and sale times. Make sure the student body/parents are aware of how to order and pay for books as well as photo submission deadlines and delivery dates.

Laying out a yearbook is a big, BIG project. Staying organized and keeping your team informed is as important to your team morale as it is to the actual production of your yearbook! Ask your yearbook representative for any tools available to them that will make your yearbook layout experience the most enjoyable and stress free it can be!

And just because we hate to post without at least ONE inspiring image to spark some creativity...

Enjoy your 'back to school' will be sweater weather before you know it!

Happy Organizing!

The Idea Garden Team