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

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

New Season, New Challenges

Winter sports season is upon us, which means most yearbook photographers are finding just how tricky this season can be. Indoor sports photography is, even for professional photographers, a challenge. Gymnasium lighting is almost NEVER 'good' lighting for photography, and if you don't have a high power flash to work with your camera, stop-action shots with good color are difficult to capture. Let's go through a few tips to help you get the most out of your indoor sports photography assignments: 1 - Watch for action! Position yourself somewhere the shots are going to SHOW how action packed the game was. Don't be afraid! You aren't going to get the shots you want by sitting up in the bleachers, half a gymnasium away from the winning serve/basket/throw. Get down on those sidelines and shoot, shoot, shoot! If you're using a digital SLR, shoot even more! Without having to worry about the cost of film, you have nothing holding you back on that trigger!

2 - Set your camera to a high ISO. Almost all digital SLRs allow you to choose your ISO or "film speed". Setting this to a higher number (1000 or above) makes your camera more sensitive to the light available...however, remember that the higher your ISO, the more 'noise' or 'grain' you will see in your images. Keep in mind, you are not typically going to enlarge these images, so a little grain is okay.

3 - Shoot with a faster shutter speed. When trying to capture action, your shutter needs to be QUICK! The sharper your photo from the beginning, the easier it is to adjust later in post production. When dealing with a blurry image, there isn't much you can do to sharpen it up. We recommend trying to get your shutter speed to 150 or above for action shots.

4 - Use a lens with a low aperture. When dealing with limited available light, a wide aperture (low f-stop number) is going to help you out quite a bit. It's important to make sure your camera is focusing on the player or details you want sharp, because the lower the f-stop, the more shallow the depth of field will be for your camera. That's how images like the following one can show the action in the foreground without being distracted by the writing on the banner in the background.

5 - Shoot in RAW setting if you can. The likelihood that you will achieve great coloring in a gymnasium is slim. Gym lighting is notorious for tinting things green. If your camera has the capability to shoot in RAW, the files WILL be larger, but it will be easier to address color issues as well as some noise and lighting issues post production as opppsed to shooting a straight jpeg.

We hope that these tips are helpful and if some of the photography terms sound foreign, maybe this is a good time to get out there and learn a little more about your camera settings! Your yearbook photos will thank you for it!

Speaking of being thankful, it IS November...and you know what that means! Your next checklist for keeping your project on schedule!

Print friendly version here.

Stay organized and be inspired!

The Idea Garden Team