yearbook advisor

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

Got It Covered | Exploring Options For Yearbook Covers

Your yearbook cover needs to "say it all" in one design statement. Your cover should motivate people to WANT to see what's inside. Whoever said you can't judge a book by it's cover, certainly couldn't have been talking about yearbooks! There are many options available to you when making decisions about yearbook covers. The most common is a four color printed cover.

If you'd like to add a little 'flair' to your four color cover, you can add some color foil and/or embossing.

Leatherette covers are often a more "traditional" look, but by using graphics that have a more modern edge, your cover can still be as unique as your student body!

If you really like bells and whistles, a leatherette cover with foil imprint and embossing may be just the cover for you.

Not all publishing companies offer all of the options mentioned above. When choosing who to print with, it's important to find out if they can provide your school with the options you'd like to see in a finished product. It's also important to find out if adding options to your cover will add cost or production time!

Speaking of time...it's time for another checklist! December is right around the corner and we want to make sure our readers are staying on task!

Print friendly version here.

Stay warm and happy yearbooking!

The Idea Garden Team

...with a little help from your friends

Like we keep saying, designing an entire yearbook is a daunting task. Why not get a little help? Many programs, especially those created specifically for yearbook design, include templates. Now, keep in mind that when you look at a template, it's not going to be very impressive. Typically just gray boxes and a block of text...what makes them so useful is the ease in which you can modify them to make them your own. Look at a template as a "starting point". If you like what you see by just placing images into the image boxes, your work is done! If the layout needs some fine tuning, feel free to change what needs changing. Templates are, typically, not set in stone. Take advantage of the fact someone started the designing and layout process for you! Let's take a look at a few examples of both empty templates and layouts completed using these same templates:

See what a difference a few images can make?

Many yearbook layout programs also have an option to create your OWN templates. This is useful when you know you'd like the same five (or six, or ten, or twelve...) layouts used all the way through your book. Saving these templates so they are easily accessed by your entire yearbook staff will keep consistency at a maximum and guesswork to a minimum!

Templates can be a very useful tool when creating a yearbook. You've got enough to do...why not get a little help here and there?

Happy Designing! The Idea Garden Team