yearbook publisher

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

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

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