Creating Typography That POPS!

Pictavo recently added text outline and drop shadow to the already incredible toolbox users have access to when creating their yearbook pages.

Things work basically the same as they did in Pictavo Legacy although activating an outline or drop shadow and customization tools are in a slightly different place.

Once you’ve placed type on your page, you’ll find outline and drop shadow options in your contextual menu Effects pane.

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Once the box in front of the feature you’d like to activate is checked, use the +/- symbols to change the size of your outline or use the sliders to adjust placement and blur of your drop shadow.

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With the number of fonts, colors and different looks you can achieve by using these tools, your creativity is limitless! Check out these examples of outline and drop shadow in action:

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Notice that the drop shadow examples aren’t excessive and the outline is juuuust enough to give type that little extra something. Don’t be afraid to play around with settings to find your favorite look!

Finding Creative Freedom With Snippets

“I’m using (insert Art Collection name here) but there isn’t anything that says BASKETBALL for us to use.”

You’re right. There might not be. Know why? We wanted to give you more creative freedom than having to use whatever colors and fonts and accents we thought looked basketball-y.

The team behind Pictavo very strategically designed Snippets in a vast array of configurations and orientations with the hope that our users would look at them, feel inspired and design the exact right heading for their layout using our Snippets as a starting point.

Need some help figuring out how to customize Snippets? You got it.

select, drag, drop, ungroup

select, drag, drop, ungroup


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swap accents, colorize (if needed), edit text and VOILA—a Snippet customized for your layout!


Still not convinced one Snippet can be nipped n’ tucked to be whatever you need? Take a look at what a Pictavo Team Member (she’s not even a designer!) did with a Snippet from the Scrapbook and High Tech collections.

don’t forget to utilize the ‘arrange’ tools to help with layering in Snippets that use a lot of elements!

don’t forget to utilize the ‘arrange’ tools to help with layering in Snippets that use a lot of elements!

the iconic accent set complements the style of the High Tech collection perfectly!

the iconic accent set complements the style of the High Tech collection perfectly!

Feeling inspired yet? Go try out your own skills on some practice pages in your project! There’s no better way to learn and become a Pictavo pro than to just try things out!

Flexibility: Making Pictavo's Art Collections Work For You!

The design team behind Pictavo works hard at creating libraries that will be not only flexible, but useful. One way we try to deliver on that goal is by utilizing colorable art wherever possible. This is particularly useful in templates, Snippets and collections designed with high school yearbooks in mind!

Sometimes it’s difficult to envision what a layout might look like with your own theme colors and photos, but it might be worth having your staff take some time and try a few ideas out. Take a look at how using school colors and a few extra accents changed the look of the following spreads!

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Template C1T3870 & Accents C1A3586 and C1A3587 turns into this with a few mouse clicks:

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Template C1T3878 gets a little help from C1A3613 and C1A3614 to create an unforgettable football layout:

Template C1T3878 gets a little help from C1A3613 and C1A3614 to create an unforgettable football layout:

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And template C1T3871 keeps even portrait pages exciting when we add candids and accent C1A3611 into the mix!

And template C1T3871 keeps even portrait pages exciting when we add candids and accent C1A3611 into the mix!

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As soon as you start customizing templates, they take on an entirely different look. Have fun brainstorming with your staff and finding just the right look for your yearbook! Don’t be afraid to experiment and take advantage of Pictavo’s creative flexibility!

Mixing It Up -- 4 Accent Sets That Complement Your Yearbook Theme!

Have you ever seen something so ‘mix & match’ perfect that you think, “I wish I could make that work”. Who hasn’t? Whether we’re talking about an amazing outfit, a great layout or the perfect blend of sweet and salty (hello, chocolate covered potato chips) coming up with your own perfect mix can feel a bit daunting.

Don’t you worry…your pals at Pictavo have got you covered. We’ve got FOUR HUGE ACCENT LIBRARIES that complement the accent libraries of every Art Collection and they’re loaded with every little accent and clip art piece your yearbook could ever want.

Watch for hints in the K-8 Inspiration Guide about what accent library complements your favorite Art Collection the best!

Watch for hints in the K-8 Inspiration Guide about what accent library complements your favorite Art Collection the best!

That’s right, these libraries are COMPLEMENTARY accents…these are the accent libraries we created OUTSIDE of the Art Collection accents…are you getting this? They’re, like, so extra.

Each Art Collection has three spreads devoted to it in the K-8 Inspiration Guide. Notice the area with the sub-head “Want More Variety?” –that’s where you’ll find our design team’s recommendation for complementary accent options for each Art Collection!

Search COLORFUL for a modern take on traditional, full color clip art.
Try HAND DRAWN for an adorable, simply drawn line art library of pieces.
Take a look at SKETCHED for a more sketchy, detailed hand drawn look that middle schoolers love.
And finally, ICONIC for a simple set of on-trend, app and tech inspired accents.
While Colorful is full color, Hand Drawn, Sketched and Iconic libraries are all 100% COLORABLE. That means you pick whatever color works best with your layout and theme!

We have worked hard on creating collections full of templates, Snippets, backgrounds and accents that help YOU create a beautiful coordinated book from cover to cover. But, the best thing about Pictavo? Any template or Snippet, from ANY COLLECTION, that you drag onto a page is FULLY CUSTOMIZEABLE! That means you can swap backgrounds, accents, fonts…you name it. Honestly, we’re just helping you get started, what you do from there depends on your imagination! Don’t be afraid to get creative and take advantage of the never-ending art libraries that Pictavo has on hand!

You Asked For It -- 55 NEW Yearbook Backgrounds You're Going To Love!

After launching a new yearbook creation software loaded with ALL NEW coordinating art, we had customers ask, “but what about sports backgrounds?” Good question, friends. What about sports backgrounds? And clubs? And fine arts? We got right back to the drawing board and developed a set of backgrounds sure to cover all the BASES (see what we did there?).

Take a look inside the backgrounds LIBRARY folder. There is a folder called EXTRACURRICULAR.

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Inside, you will find a series of backgrounds that cover MANY extracurricular activities! We understand there are always schools that have an interest that we may not know about, so on top of creating as many sports/club/group oriented backgrounds as we could think of, we ALSO added backgrounds that don’t have a specific activity assigned to them, just a playing or performance surface. For instance, in the screenshot below, you’ll see a bevy of grass or turf played sports along with a non-activity-specific grass background (L4B7360) to use alone or in conjunction with another background!

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For instance, if I wanted to create a Girls’ Soccer spread, I might use L4B7359 and L4B7360 together to create a starting point for my spread.

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Pictavo also has a few lesser-known sets of templates that you can find by searching GENERIC (for high schools or upper grades) or PLAIN & SIMPLE (geared toward elementary and middle schools). These, like all of our other templates, are a great starting point for your layout!

Templates T4T5814 were used here as a starting point for a yearbook layout.

Templates T4T5814 were used here as a starting point for a yearbook layout.

Once a template is dragged onto a page, you are free to modify as needed to create the perfect layout!

The same template, modified slightly to create a layout ready for photos and copy!

The same template, modified slightly to create a layout ready for photos and copy!

This layout is now ready for images to be uploaded and dragged into photo boxes! If you’re happy with your work of art and think you’d like to use it later, make sure to save it as a template!


Time Flies

Do you ever have one of those Saturdays where you have a lot of work to do so you really dive head-first into a project and when you check on the time you think, “How is it that time of day already?”

Yeah.

That’s kind of been our year.

Times ten.

But guess what? It’s been worth it. While the blog has sat here collecting dust with crickets chirping, we’ve been working hard on improvements to our already industry-leading software, developing even MORE knock-your-socks-off Art Collections and enhancing our Help system and yearbook kit materials to make the job of creating a yearbook not only easy, but FUN.

Over the next few blog posts, we’ll take a look at some of the new Art Collections and how to use existing Pictavo artwork in new and exciting ways. We’re so excited to get back into the swing of sharing the experience of yearbooking with our users we can hardly wait.

For now, here’s a little sneak peek at our four new Art Collections that were designed with Middle School and Junior High users in mind!

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Time To Recruit A Yearbook Staff

It’s that time of year. The yearbook is finished, you’ve taken at least one deep breath, and now it’s time to start thinking about next year.

Certainly you have senior staffers that will be leaving you. How and who will you recruit to fill those positions?

Just like creating a yearbook, building a successful yearbook staff will require some planning, some trial and, likely, some error. First thing you should do? Envision what kind of yearbook environment you’re trying to create.

By knowing the type of student you want to attract, you’ll understand better how to recruit. This will drive the type of questions you want to ask. We realize that many schools offer yearbook as a class that students register for, but the type of interviewing we’re suggesting will help place said students in the positions that are best suited for their skill sets, help you find your leadership team and set the tone for what is expected from the students in the yearbook classroom.

It’s important that you attract a variety of students to your staff. Having a room full of creative, artsy types doesn’t do any good if no one can stay organized, plan an event or help track sales. You’ll need to decide for yourself what the ratio of staffers to editors to photographers is and how you want to break down these groups. Have an idea of what your ideal team looks like. Take the opportunity to align your recruitment efforts with your staff needs.

Not sure about what positions are on a developed yearbook staff? Take a look at this list and decide what positions or responsibilities your team could add to become more complete. Even if your positions and responsibilities don't align exactly with this list, maybe you'll find a better way to disperse responsibilities or assign tasks!

Happy Yearbooking!

Down Time? Read A Book!

What to do with your high school yearbook staff once your book is submitted.

As the year winds down, it's important to keep your staff engaged. Not sure how to do that without a yearbook to work on? We suggest reading a book.

Not just any book–choose a book that cultivates the environment that you've created in your classroom. Find a book about leadership, team-building or collaboration. A great resource for finding books like these are the JEA One Book selections.

JEA is the Journalism Education Association. Not familiar with JEA? The mission statement from their website states: The Journalism Education Association supports free and responsible scholastic journalism by providing resources and educational opportunities, by promoting professionalism, by encouraging and rewarding student excellence and teacher achievement, and by fostering an atmosphere which encompasses diversity yet builds unity.

To gain access to the vast array of resources, you'll need to pay for a reasonably-priced membership. If you're looking for a little help in your classroom in the way of curriculum, the membership is a small price to pay! Visit the JEA website (http://jea.org/wp/) for more information about curriculum, conventions and membership benefits.

JEA chooses two books each year, one in the Fall and one in the Spring that foster a forward-thinking, growth mindset for your team and classroom.

This Spring's selection is Work Happy: What Great Bosses Know by Jill Geisler. Geisler has coached and trained countless professionals who want to build their leadership skills, help employees do their best work and make workplaces happy and successful. She is currently the Leadership and Media Integrity Chair at Loyola University, Chicago, and was formerly a TV news director.

Former JEA One Book selections include: The Smartest Kids In The World And How They Got That Way by Amanda Ripley, How Children Succeed by Paul Tough, Most Likely To Succeed: Preparing Our Kids For The Innovation Era by Tony Wagner and Ted Dintersmith and A Curious Mind by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman.

Even if reading a book doesn't seem like the right fit for the last few weeks of your school year, giving a reading assignment to next year's staff leadership may be just the right way to initiate open and honest conversation about expectations, collaboration ideas and how to build a solid team. Choose a book that speaks to your teaching and advising style.

We'd love to hear from you about what books you recommend for building a successful yearbook team...leave a comment below!

 

Proofing Your Yearbook Pages

It's so rewarding to reach the end of a project that you've devoted so much time to. It's hard not to get caught up in the can't-wait-to-submit excitement, HOWEVER, we cannot stress enough that you can never proof your pages too many times!

When you've been staring at the same pages for months, it can be tough to "see" things that need correcting. Asking someone else to look over your pages for you can be a big help. By using the 'share' icon (found in the top bar, looks like a square with an arrow in it) you can create a PDF to share with all those willing to proof your pages. Print or email the PDF file, whatever process makes the most sense for your situation, then ask for a list of potential edits your helpers find.

Use the share icon to create PDF files.

Use the share icon to create PDF files.

Once you've had a chance to take a little break from your own pages, go back and start looking at your layouts in a different way. Think like a designer as you flip through pages. Are elements lined up?  Are all of your headlines the same size and font? Are any portraits covered by candids or Accents? Are there any warnings (You'll know because elements will have red or orange frames. Click on the ! in the corner for more information.)? Take the time to correct any issues you find–then go through pages again the following day. You'll be glad you did!

Find out if resolution, placement or overset text is your issue by clicking or tapping this icon on a warning frame.

Find out if resolution, placement or overset text is your issue by clicking or tapping this icon on a warning frame.

Cropping Images Into Shapes

Pictavo is full of design tools to help make your pages unique works of art. Add a playful twist to your layout by using a photo box in a shape that will complement the rest of your design!

Sometimes it's hard to foresee when cropping an image into a shape might be just the finishing touch a page may need, have no fear; we've got you covered.

Once an image is placed on a page, you can resize, crop, rotate, etc.

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If you decide that you'd like to see what this image would look like cropped to a shape, simply select a SHAPE (not a photo box) and drag then drop onto your image.

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Notice that the shape takes on the proportions of your image. If your photo is landscape (wide), your shape will widen to fit to the constraints of the photo box.

 

If you'd like to try a different shape, simply select another shape and repeat the drag and drop process.

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Not happy with where the shape cropped your image? Use the crop tool to either resize the image or adjust the new "frame" to adjust.

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Customizing Your Yearbook With COLOR!

We know every yearbook is truly unique because your year is like no one else's. But, how can you create a truly unique yearbook if you aren't a designer? Lucky you–Pictavo has got you covered!

Every piece of colorable art in Pictavo is just waiting for you to customize it.

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Colorable art elements in Pictavo will appear black in the menu, but once they're dragged onto your page, that's when the fun begins! Choose any color available within Pictavo to customize your art and make it exactly what your yearbook calls for. So many Art Collections contain dozens of pieces of colorable art: so many backgrounds, so many accents, SO MANY different options! Your design capabilities are truly endless.

The templates and Snippets we've designed with High Schools in mind are loaded with colorable elements, as well. When you peruse our Inspiration Guide or download our Art Catalog, keep your yearbook in mind! What colors are you using? What's your theme? With a few clicks, the look of any layout can change to whatever you need!

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Not sure how you want your book to look quite yet? Take a tip from the design industry and try using the Pantone Color of the Year: Ultra Violet.

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Use this beautiful shade of purple with a trendy galaxy visual theme and your yearbook will be out of this world!

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...or get inspired by a lightning storm. Your layouts will be electric!

Flex your design muscles, try out some colorable artwork in your layouts and see where this design freedom takes you!

Happy yearbooking!

Not sure what elements are colorable?
Watch for the color wheel indicator
to help you find what you're looking for!
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Another Four Reasons To Love Pictavo

We've already mentioned that Pictavo's art library is the best in the biz. We're here to prove it by finishing up some introductions...last post we showed off four of our new Art Collections designed with Elementary and Middle Schools in mind. Before we start bragging on our eight upper grade Art Collections, we figured we'd better give some spotlight time to the other half of the Elementary family.

 

CHEVRON is full of funky patterns, banners and emblems in a bright, vibrant color palette sure to infuse a little cheer into your yearbook.

CHEVRON is full of funky patterns, banners and emblems in a bright, vibrant color palette sure to infuse a little cheer into your yearbook.

Filled with hand-drawn doodles and whimsy, the SCRIBBLES collection is a fun, unique style to pair with your photos and stories from the year!

Filled with hand-drawn doodles and whimsy, the SCRIBBLES collection is a fun, unique style to pair with your photos and stories from the year!

Nothing says memories like a hand-crafted SCRAPBOOK! Washi tape, construction paper and stickers fill this collection with heart-warming charm.

Nothing says memories like a hand-crafted SCRAPBOOK! Washi tape, construction paper and stickers fill this collection with heart-warming charm.

Show everyone you've had a super year with the COMIC BOOK collection! Fill your pages with art inspired by comic books and you'll be everyone's hero!

Show everyone you've had a super year with the COMIC BOOK collection! Fill your pages with art inspired by comic books and you'll be everyone's hero!