online yearbooks

Now What? Creating Yearbook Templates Like A Pro

Many advisers wonder what to do with their classes once their yearbook is submitted. How about starting on next year's book?

Creating a yearbook is a huge undertaking. What if you could shave off a task or two before the previous school year was over? Obviously it isn't possible to start assigning photography assignments or writing features, but it's possible to start organizing. What went well this year? What needs some work? Make those notes and change procedures now.

If you aren't a school that already takes advantage of templates, now is the time! In fact, spring is an ideal time to start designing a book's worth of custom templates for the following year. This is also a really great design exercise for your students...whether done in the spring or the fall. The most creative version of this exercise is using the internet (Pinterest - or Padlet if your school wants more security than Pinterest offers) to find layouts you're inspired by and applying the same look or feel to a layout for your yearbook. For example, we chose a layout from a newsletter we have pinned on one of our Pinterest boards and recreated it using Pictavo. Do this a dozen or so times and you've basically got a library full of templates to tweak once a theme is decided upon next year. Have twenty students? Have them each choose two layouts as inspiration and recreate, you suddenly have forty templates to choose from.

Original envato designed "student newsletter" template pinned to our Design Inspiration board.

Original envato designed "student newsletter" template pinned to our Design Inspiration board.

Practice layout created using Pictavo. Same basic design elements applied to a yearbook layout, inspired by, but not identical to, the layout above.

Practice layout created using Pictavo. Same basic design elements applied to a yearbook layout, inspired by, but not identical to, the layout above.

Keep in mind that your new library of templates won't all use the same fonts, spacing or design elements. It will be up to the yearbook staff to edit and create a sense of theme or connection throughout the book. For a truly cohesive yearbook theme, we suggest creating a style guide early in the year for your staff to follow.

Almost There - Proofing your yearbook before submission

Create a team of yearbook 'proofers' to check your staff's work!

Create a team of yearbook 'proofers' to check your staff's work!

 It's spring. That means time to submit your yearbook. You've worked hard and the finish line is well within reach, time to double check all the work your team has done before calling it a year!

The best plan of attack for proofing your yearbook is this: NEW EYES. Don't rely on the person that worked on the book to be able to find their own mistakes. Always let someone else take a look at it. If your book is particularly large, create an entire proofing team.

Break the book into sections so each person has a task that feels possible rather than overwhelming. For instance, have a separate person check each of the following: headlines, spelling of names (one person per grade), matching of names to faces, images make sense on the spread (sometimes there are placeholders that don't get replaced), captions (full sentences, proper grammar), text boxes (no "double click to edit text" hanging around anywhere) and just overall layout (make sure nothing is covering an image, words getting hidden, etc.)

If you can pull together an entire group of people to page through your yearbook and all give the seal of approval, you are, officially, ready to submit. Congratulations!

 

3 Last-Ditch Sales Efforts To Boost Yearbook Sales

When you're down to the wire and you haven't quite hit your sales goal, yet, what do you do? We've got a few suggestions for the last few weeks of yearbook sales.

First of all, your sales team cannot be shy. It's time to use all of the tools at your disposal to make those last minute sales. First and most obvious in today's cyber-connected society: SOCIAL MEDIA. Every person working on your yearbook should be promoting it via every platform they are active on. Not exactly sure how to go about it? Try this:

  •  Snap a photo of the team working on the book or people looking at last year's book.   
  •  Use this photo on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter with a message that details how much time is left in your campaign AND when/where you'll be for people to place orders. If your school utilizes online ordering, give them the web address, too!
  • Does your school have social media accounts? Ask whoever provides content for them to post what you've posted on your own accounts.
  • Snapchat another photo of the yearbook team or the cover for this year's book on a computer monitor. Post it to your story for the day. Again, everyone involved in the project should do this. Create a buzz! Make people aware time is running out! 
  • Do it again tomorrow.

Next, utilize your school's daily announcements. At the very least, information about yearbook sales could be included in the daily information students get. If you're feeling creative, write a clever soundbite and make the announcement yourself! Many schools also email all parents subscribed to the announcements each day. Request that the information be passed along that way, as well. Include all details including when and where to purchase (including online option if applicable), the price of the yearbook and last day to order.

Using brightly colored countdown flyers may boost last minute sales efforts!

Using brightly colored countdown flyers may boost last minute sales efforts!

Last, but not least, plaster the hallways and doorways with signs that change daily saying how many days are left to purchase. A visible countdown shows there is a hard and fast deadline that needs to be met. Changing the flyer positions and color of paper they're printed on each day will call attention to your campaign. Make sure whoever is hanging new flyers also takes down all the flyers from the days previous to avoid any confusion about time left to order.

Want to use our countdown flyers? Find the blank printable version here.

We Love Checklists

It's February? Already? Wouldn't you know it...we've got a little present for you:

February's checklist was created using background B6165S, Clip Art piece C4677N_BW and Soli font.

Print version here.

Happy New Year!

January is here. It's time to really buckle down and stay focused on your yearbook milestones and deadlines! Lucky for you, our January checklist is here to help you stay organized...at least for the first month of the new year.

yearbook checklist

Download the PDF here.

The January checklist was created using background B5034S.

To Theme or Not To Theme

Fall is winding down, the holidays are just around the corner. The first steps of your yearbook project are, surely, already done. You've decided on the basic layout of your book, you've created a ladder detailing what falls where on your pages, and you've most likely decided on a theme.

We'd like to provide you with a little inspiration from a few schools that did a great job continuing their theme throughout their book.

This first school stuck with school colors through the entire book. A few key design elements (dream catchers, feathers, arrows) made appearances on nearly every page. We suspect these design elements were chosen due to their tie-in to their school mascot. These elements didn't take anything away from the layouts because they were incorporated in a way that didn't overwhelm the page. Other pieces were occasionally added for variety, but always following their school color palette. Custom endsheets and special treatments (matte laminate and embossing) on the cover were just the finishing touches this book needed.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

 

Next up, a school that was very theme-conscious, but also took some liberties when designing for a specific club or organization (as seen on the "fabric & fashion" spread). The use of a specific color palette, design elements (arrows, again...do we spot a trend?) kept the flow of the book smooth even with a rule-breaker spread thrown in here and there. Once again, custom endsheets and special treatments (spot UV coating and matte lamination) on the cover add high quality, classy finishing touches to this yearbook.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

Great use of theme in all parts of a yearbook.

We do realize there are schools that don't necessarily choose a theme for their entire book, rather, they enjoy designing pages based on the holiday or activity contained on the spread. For those schools, we offer some suggested Pictavo artwork that may not be categorized as "seasonal", but would work great when used in conjunction with the right clipart and fonts!

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Using fall colors in yearbook spreads.

Happy Yearbooking!

{and Happy Thanksgiving}

The Pictavo Team

New School Year, New Yearbook: Getting Started With Pictavo

It's that time of year again! Summer is quickly coming to an end and school will soon be back in session. What does that mean (beside lengthy back-to-school supply lists and fun new wardrobes)? Only that it's also time to get into Pictavo and get started on your yearbook, of course! Because you have SO many things to worry about as you head back to school, we make it nice and easy to get into your Pictavo yearbook account. No need to try and remember your log-in info if you had an account last year.

Just look for an email with the subject Welcome to Pictavo. It will contain a link you can click on to re-activate your account and link it to your new book. If you are a new user, you'll receive the same email with a link that gives you the ability to create your account. 

 Don't forget to check your Junk or SPAM folder if you haven't received your email yet! Or reach out to your yearbook representative. 

 Don't forget to check your Junk or SPAM folder if you haven't received your email yet! Or reach out to your yearbook representative. 

Once you click on your link, just fill out the required information to create your account. It's that easy!

Once you click on your link, just fill out the required information to create your account. It's that easy!

Once logged in, you can get started by creating accounts for other people who are going to help you with your yearbook or going directly to your pages.

Once logged in, you can get started by creating accounts for other people who are going to help you with your yearbook or going directly to your pages.

Either way, a good place to get started is the Ladder, which you can read more about in our previous post about planning your yearbook pages using your Ladders, here

For last year's words belong to last year's language and next year's words await another voice. - T.S. Eliot

 

 

 

Flashback Friday: Inspiring Yearbook Page Design Ideas From The Past

When you follow basic design principles, the results are classic masterpieces that can be looked at for inspiration for years to come. Like these 2008 NSPA Yearbook Pacemaker Award-winning yearbook page spreads. Though font styles and color trends may change over time, contrast, proximity, repetition, alignment, balance, hierarchy, white space and interesting photo angles all remain core elements of basic design. These yearbook spreads provide great, timeless examples we hope inspire you as you work on coming up with your next yearbook page ideas!

Capturing All Four Seasons In Your Yearbook

We mention it every summer - that your yearbook should include all four seasons, not just the seasons that school is in session. So if you're out there gathering photos and stories, great job! If not, don't fret. There is still plenty of time. 

In the meantime we've put together a list of fun summer-inspired phrases, page titles and headlines for you!



Service Dogs Featured In Yearbook

Photo courtesy of KARE 11

Photo courtesy of KARE 11

It's not everyday that you see a dog's photo in the portrait section of a yearbook. But these dogs are not someone's pet! (We'll spare you from a groan-worthy pun about "teacher's pets."). Carmel and Dakota are service dogs and very much a part of Blaine High School of Minnesota. We think it's pretty cool that the yearbook staff decided to include them in their yearbook, as both provide assistance to specific teachers and interact with students. (View the full story)

Photo courtesy of KARE 11

Photo courtesy of KARE 11

Does your school have any "untraditional helpers" that you might want to consider featuring in your next yearbook? Even if you don't end up putting them in the portrait section, you could feature them in a callout or even have a page dedicated to them. Capturing the essence of your school sometimes includes thinking beyond the traditional. What untraditional things have you included or featured in your yearbook?

Summer Yearbook Coverage

Five Tips To Covering Summer In Your Yearbook 

Just because you’re not IN school during the summer months, doesn’t mean there aren’t important things going on, begging to be captured and included in your yearbook. After all, isn’t the purpose of your YEARbook to tell the story of the entire year?

So how do you identify those stories and cover them? Check out these five great tips to follow as you enter into your summer months. Remember – sometimes the stories and happenings of the summer can be the most interesting! What happens in summer shouldn’t stay there—it should be captured in the yearbook!

1. Prepare in Advance 
Create a detailed plan with specific assignments for each staff member broken down by week. This helps make the tasks more manageable and easier to track progress. Your plan should include actionable items that each student can accomplish to contribute.

2. Make a Coverage List
Create a laundry list of coverage ideas (summer school, camps, jobs, vacations, volunteer activities, events, retreats, summer sports, fundraisers, etc.). Use social media to stay in the loop and find interesting stories to cover. 

3. Pair Up
Have a photographer and reporter pair up to cover an identified event together. Both can offer differing perspectives and help each other better capture the heart of the final story. Don't forget to use your "Press Badges" (or create some) to give your staffers credibility and make it easier for them to get interviews and photos. 

4. Don’t Forget School Staff
Teachers and other school staff use their summers to do all kinds of cool things. Some continue to teach or have other summer jobs while some travel, do research, take classes, vacation or spend time with their family. Be sure to include them when investigating potential story ideas and photo opportunities!

5. Be Ready for Back to School 
A lot happens in the final weeks before school starts and these activities provide great opportunities for coverage (sports tryouts, freshman orientation, classroom and school grounds preparation, club meetings, school board sessions, back to school shopping, etc.).