Design Tips

The Hype About Type

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, why bother with type? Using type on a page is more than just a way to tell the story, the type itself is a design element and should be treated as such.  There are hundreds of fonts available, with so many choices, it may be tempting to use them the same time...on the same page...please don't! If you do, the design goddesses shall frown upon you and corrupt your entire font library.

(probably not)

(...okay, for sure not. please, just don't do it.)

Fonts can be classified into families:

There's a saying that says "fonts that play together, stay together". Okay, that might not be exactly how the saying goes, but our point is this: when you find a combination that works, stick with it.  The fewer fonts used in your yearbook, the more cohesive the pages will appear. While it's tempting to use all of the fonts available to you, it is usually better to limit yourself to no more than 2-3 fonts on a page. Less really is more!

If only using a few fonts sounds boring to you, let us prove you wrong! By changing weight, font family style, size and mixing only a few fonts, you'd be surprised at how creative your text can look!

Keep it simple, keep it legible. The goal is to READ what you're working so hard on writing, right? There are a few things you should steer clear of with your type.

If you'd like a printable version of these tips, you can find them here, here and here. It's a great idea to have them hanging where yearbook staff can see them. A little reminder can go a long way!

Happy Type Wrangling!

The Idea Garden Team

Stuck In The Middle | Yearbook Filler Pages

While there are obvious things that NEED to go into the yearbook (i.e. sports, clubs, student body, awards) in between these things there may be a page or two that just needs "filling". A page that needs something placed on it so the next section can start on the right side of the spread...a "filler" page. What do you fill these "filler" pages with? Funny you should ask...because we just happen to have some examples right here to show you! Of course, a fun spread to create is the one about the Yearbook Staff! You've worked hard on this yearbook, your crew deserves some credit! Be creative with group/individual photos! Have fun!

Spirit and dress up days are GREAT photo ops! Chances are, your staff will have quite a few great shots from these activities! Reviewing the best-dressed from these days is a fun way to fill in a few pages!

What about what happens outside of school? So few students know much about the personal lives' of their peers unless they are close friends. Why not spotlight how students spend their time outside of the school by doing a feature on who works where?

If your pages that need filling are at the end of a certain grade, you can use superlatives or just a 'student life' feature for that specific grade like the ones below!

No matter how you decide to fill your pages, it's your responsibility as the yearbook staff to use content that your readers want to see. Making sure your student body is interested, intrigued and entertained will result in a higher number of yearbooks sold!

Be creative! Have fun!

And as always, Happy Yearbooking!

The Idea Garden Team

Yearbook Design Inspiration | Winter Special Events

Now that the holiday season has passed, many schools have winter activities to help keep away those mid-year doldrums. Homecoming and prom aren't the only dances that should be chronicled in your yearbook...Winter activity weeks and dances are a great way to remind people of the fun that was had ALL YEAR! Make sure you have yearbook staffers at each event with cameras in hand. They are the people that know what the yearbook spread in question needs and the style of photography that will match with the rest of the events already in the book! As far as designing pages goes, you can continue the look of your yearbook theme on a dance page by simply choosing a color tone that "goes" with the season. Light blue definitely lends itself to an icy winter theme...even if your area is neither icy or wintery!

If your event is formal, making the page glam with glitter is ALWAYS an option! With so many different color options available, a glittery background to match your theme is almost certainly available!

If the images are where you'd like the attention to fall, use big, striking photography across a spread. Nothing says "we had a great time" like candid dance floor photos!

Have some winter fun and, of course,

Happy yearbooking!

The Idea Garden Team

The Yearbook Index Needs Love, Too

Surprisingly, the most frequently read/viewed section of your yearbook is typically the one that gets the least amount of attention from your yearbook staff. Students will flip through a yearbook numerous times, but will study an index to find their own picture, friends' pictures, and, in the future, to find the answer to important questions like, "who was that blonde, crazy guy in marching band and show choir with us?". It's easy, after working so diligently for so long on the actual pages of your masterpiece to let the index be a black and white list of names. Sure, this serves its purpose, but wouldn't it be nice if it was as pleasing to look at as the rest of your yearbook? Why not continue the look of your yearbook into the final section? Or use the index pages to add info: school-specific trends, current events and milestones that didn't find a home anywhere else in the yearbook.

Take a look at the same index, three ways.

The usual. Black. White. Columns.

Use a font, background and some clipart that matches with the theme of your book to continue the "flow" of your yearbook.

Add candids and you have an index that's completely unique to your school year and to your yearbook!

A few things to consider when laying out your yearbook index:

• Assign the task of "proofing" the index to one staff member. This should be their only job for a period of time and allow them enough time to do a good job. This person should be detail-oriented and a perfectionist!

• Decide early on in your book layout process if you want only students listed or if you'd like staff, clubs, and organizations included as well. Adding clubs and organizations will give people more than one option when navigating the yearbook.

• If your yearbook publisher provides you with software that will help flow an index, USE IT! Manually putting together an index can be a daunting and time consuming task. The examples above were created in software marketed specifically for yearbook publishing and made it easy to flow, change and customize the index we used as a sample!

There is no question as to whether or not your yearbook needs an index. How creative you want to be with the task at hand is entirely up to you!

Happy Indexing!

The Idea Garden Team

Drop Shadows: How Shady Are You?

As mentioned oh-so-briefly in the last post, when given the tools to create a great looking yearbook, it can sometimes be tempting to use all of them (all at once! on every page! this is fun!), but we are going to ask you, loyal blog readers, to NOT. This post, we'll focus mainly on drop shadows. Drop shadows have become standard in any kind of layout software. However, with great drop shadow power, comes great responsibility. It's the responsibility of YOU, yearbook designer, to use your drop shadows subtly, beautifully, and wisely.

Take a look: In the above example, the left image is a page using a subtle, low opacity drop shadow. It gives the idea that the images contained on the page are "photos" held to something using tacks. In real life, pictures pinned to something would create a small shadow...much like we see here. On the right, we see the exact same layout, but we changed the drop shadows to a color and gave them a harder edge. See how unnatural this looks in comparison? One should use drop shadows to enhance a layout and add interest...not to steal focus from what's important: your images!

In this example, the exact same layout was used, with the exact same drop shadow. Only difference? We changed one to white. Again, your drop shadow goes from something that adds interest and depth to your layout, to being something that steals the show...or distracts from what your initial focus was! This drop shadow changes from a shadow, to more of a glow around your images. In some cases, this may be a fun design element to add, but on a page that already has so much to look at, we suggest less is more.

When deciding on a drop shadow to use, keep in mind that it should stay consistent throughout your spread. In the above example, the left hand page shows a slightly more aggressive drop shadow on the main image, and the drop shadows in the rows above and below being a little more subtle. Still looks nice: all is right in the world of yearbook design. However, on the right hand example, we created different drop shadows for each small image above the main image. This is not only confusing for the eye, but would result in a hand slap and a firm talking to in the world of good design.

We know, keeping it simple is so much easier said than done with so many exciting design features and tools out there to play with! Just stick with the basic rules and guidelines we're teaching you and you'll have a beautiful, professional looking yearbook that will 'wow' all those who have the pleasure of viewing it.

Happy Designing! The Idea Garden Team