Yearbook Tips

On Your Mark! Get Set! SELL!

Think it's too early to start selling yearbooks? WRONG! Knowing early in the year what kind of response you're getting from the student body helps you to plan how many pages and what kind of add ons your budget can afford for this year's book. There are some early-in-the-school year events that can help you sell your book. Take advantage! Get together with student council, school administration, or the activities director and see what kind of "bundles" you can create for students. For example:

Back to School Bundle - a sports pass/punch card (whatever your school currently uses), an official school t-shirt, and a yearbook for $XX.

Spirit Week/Homecoming Bundle - homecoming/mascot t-shirt, homecoming dance ticket, and a yearbook for $XX.

* Make sure you cover the expense of all the products, but the discount for purchasing together is substantial enough that they feel like they're getting a bargain!

Back to school gets expensive for families. Give people the option of ordering their book and putting a down payment on it at the beginning of the year and making two more payments throughout the school year.

Does your yearbook publisher have an online ordering option? Do parents know about it? It's handy to be able to hop on the internet and purchase a yearbook when it's at YOUR convenience, not just when someone sends home a flyer. Make sure parents are informed of their purchasing options!

Start doing some research on what has worked or not worked at your school in the past. Compare total sales from one year to another and try to figure out what the magic sales equation is!

Happy Selling!

The Idea Garden Team

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 all...at 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

The Proof is in the Proofing!

We can't say enough, here in the garden, how important it is to proof your yearbook thoroughly. VERY thoroughly. After all the hard work and dedication you and your staff members have shown this project, the proof is in the PROOFING! Your hard work is done. You've submitted your book and waited patiently. Finally, the day is here! Those boxes show up and you can't wait to get them open. VICTORY! As you crack the spine of this year's yearbook for the very first time, you're elated. It's beautiful! But wait...what's that? How could you have missed that!? A typo. A dreaded, horrible typo. A typo that everyone will see. EV-ER-Y-ONE that ordered a yearbook. (sigh)

Whether it's the heading that reads "Principle's Message" or a name spelled incorrectly (there are a LOT of ways to spell a LOT of names), the effect is the same. Disappointment: not just for you, but for the kids and parents that have worked so diligently with you on this project. Seeing a mistake in print (a few hundred copies worth) is demoralizing, to say the least. Nothing takes the wind out of your sails quite like finding a blemish on your masterpiece.

So, how do we avoid this?

After having looked at every page for, what seems like, the billionth time, it's safe to say your eyes may not see something that someone else's might. Proofing your own pages is good, but having someone else look over them is great. A new set of eyes will see things that have become invisible to you because you've been staring at it for so long. If you're working with a 'skeleton crew' and just don't think there are enough fresh eyes to do the work, it's time to call in the volunteers! You'd be surprised how many parents would love to help with something like this...for $5 off their yearbook! And that school secretary? She might be willing to go through the student roster to make sure everyone's name is spelled correctly...maybe a gift card for a nice meal or a manicure would be a great way to repay her! We know, we know, the yearbook budget is tight. BUT, in the grand scheme of things, wouldn't it feel better to know that you've really done all you can to ensure that everyone is in the book and things are spelled correctly? (the answer is yes.)

Keep in mind that while spell check will save you when you've typed 'teh' instead of 'the', it's useless on student names and instances of "their", "they're" and "there". Actually reading through the entire book, word for word, is necessary!

We promise, we aren't trying to scare you (well, maybe a little). We have your best interests in mind. We want the work and dedication you've shown this year to be evident to everyone that picks up that yearbook! It's not a fun step, but it will be one last step that you'll be so glad you took.

Happy Proofing! (Emily, Emalee and Emilie will thank you)

The Idea Garden Team

It's Crunch Time!

For those of you that have a "spring delivery" book, it's officially crunch time. It's time to proof pages, make finishing touches and proof some more. Many publishing companies require early cover submission when you've chosen to design your own cover, commonly called a "custom cover". Check your submission dates and make sure you're design staff is on track with your cover design, final files and any other custom options you may have chosen. Often times, custom printed endsheets also require extra production time, and should be submitted with a custom cover. Once again, make sure you're sending all the necessary paperwork, digital files, and printouts your publisher needs to ensure that once your info is received, it's all smooth sailing for your project! Handing any part of your yearbook over to someone else for production can be nerve wracking...making doubly sure that all things are proofed thoroughly, filled out completely and submitted on time will save questions or miscommunications between you and your publisher.

Even though we're over halfway through January, we figured a checklist would still be helpful for those of you rushing around making sure everything is checked off your list!

Printable version here.

See that light over there? It's the end of the yearbook creation tunnel...you're almost there!

Happy Yearbooking!

The Idea Garden Team

Selling More Yearbooks 101

If you're one of the many school that use yearbook sales as a way to raise money for your student body, you know how important it is to SELL MORE BOOKS. The only way to sell more books than you did last year is to advertise and market this year's book! Depending on your publishing company, you have around two or three months at the beginning of each school year to sell books...make them count! Create a sales and marketing plan with a new event each week that is out of the ordinary...something that will make people WANT a yearbook! Some of our favorite marketing tactics:

Creating a PRESENCE as the yearbook staff makes people curious about the yearbook. Design matching t-shirts to be worn on a certain day each week or when "on assignment" for the entire yearbook staff.

Set up a sales table at every school function parents will be at. Parents are the ones writing the check...you should market to them and make sure they know the books are for sale!

Set up a Yearbook Facebook page so people can ask questions and get their answers. Use this as a place to run contests (who WOULDN'T try to win a free yearbook?) and show sneak peeks of what's going to be in the yearbook!

Offer a payment plan! Many families use "no money for that right now" as a reason for not purchasing a yearbook. What if it could be broken into half down and two payments before delivery?

Create a form to be printed on brightly colored paper that announces to a student, "you're in the yearbook on page ____ !" to hang on locker doors. When a student knows they're in the yearbook, they're much more likely to want one!

Posters in the hallways and cafeteria only go so far. What about hanging posters in the bathroom stalls? Why not put a sign by the clock in each classroom? (yes, students look at the clock...a LOT!) Make sure you switch out all posters with different designs and/or colors. Once signage has been seen in the same spot for a long time, it just becomes part of the landscape...surprise their eyes! Keep it fresh and keep it clever!

Everyone has to walk into school...why not do some advertising on the sidewalk? Use sidewalk chalk to reiterate dates, prices and where kids can order their books!

When you know the parking lot is going to be PACKED (the big game, a concert, orientation night) place flyers on windshields.

Create a yearbook "commercial". Every school has a creative group of kids that would enjoy a creative project that will be seen school-wide. If your school doesn't have a "news channel" or website to play the commercial on, post it to a video hosting site (i.e. youtube) and send out the link so everyone knows where it is!

QR codes are an easy way to play to the "media" side of marketing. You can create a QR code for anything you have on the internet. Add QR codes to posters and flyers to get people to your yearbook facebook page, ordering page, or even the school web page that contains information about yearbook ordering.

Keeping people on their toes when advertising your yearbook is going to keep them interested and enthusiastic about their purchase. Now, get out there and start selling some yearbooks!

Happy Yearbooking!

The Idea Garden Team