organizing your yearbook

Top 10 Lists Are Fun

Everyone loves a good top ten list, right? Why not put one in the yearbook? OR use one as a sales tool proving that every member of the student body does, in fact, need a yearbook! We'll get you started with our very own top ten list:

TOP TEN REASONS YEARBOOKS ARE BETTER THAN SOCIAL MEDIA

10. Hard drives crash. Yearbooks don't.

9.   You can't sign a cell phone or computer screen with your favorite color of Sharpie. (well, you can, but do you still want the owner as your friend?)

8.   Everybody's doing it - literally. Your grandparents, parents, friends, teachers, mentors, and favorite celebrities were all in a yearbook somewhere at sometime.

7.   Yearbooks are an investment in your future. Think of how much these things will be worth if you (or a classmate) become famous?!?!

6.   Permanent record. PROOF you made your prom dress out of duct tape. I mean, if it isn't in the yearbook, did it really even happen?

5.   Hand written messages are just more fun. No one will ever say that the smiley face you drew in their yearbook wasn't as cute as a colon and parentheses.

4.   SCHOOL PRIDE! You were a fighting bulldog/bluejay/tiger/whatever for at least four years of your life. OWN IT!

3.   Evidence. How else will you prove to your children that skinny jeans have "come back" because they were, in fact, COOL when you were their age?

2.   Yearbooks provide magic moments. That guy/girl you've had a massive crush on for two years, now, actually HELD YOUR BOOK  in their hands. While writing...with YOUR PEN. A message...JUST FOR YOU.  And then they smiled.

And the number one reason that YEARBOOKS ARE BETTER THAN SOCIAL MEDIA:

1.   What else are you going to look at between the salad and your main dish during class reunions?

It's been a great year! Call us, we'll hang out!

The Idea Garden Team

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 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

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