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.

Extra curricular folder.jpg

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!

extra curricular all grass sports.jpg

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.

only backgrounds.jpg

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!

Pantone Announces 2017 Color of the Year!

It's official, 2017 is the year to make other schools green with envy about your yearbook. Pantone has announced "Greenery" as the official Color Of The Year. According to Pantone, "Greenery is a fresh and zesty yellow-green shade that evokes the first days of spring when nature’s greens revive, restore and renew."

Aside from feeling fresh and new, this shade looks pretty cool in quite a few different color palettes.

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Those color combos not quite your school's cup of tea? How about taking advantage of the professionally designed covers and layout templates available to you within Pictavo? This collection uses basic black and white with a pop of green. So cool!

Still not 'sold' on the idea of using green in your yearbook? Don't forget all of the pieces in the above layout templates are editable...meaning you can change them to match your school colors!

Playing around with some bright hues in your yearbook layouts can be fun and you may be surprised at what your staff ends up falling in love with...even if it isn't the color of the year.

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.

Yearbook Planning Calendar - November

Now that the school year is in full swing, it's important to keep everyone on track. Print out November's checklist before the holiday break to assure all bases are covered.

November Yearbook Checklist.jpeg

Download the PDF here.

November's checklist was designed using background B4972S and Quick Print font.

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.). 

2015 NSPA Yearbook Pacemaker Winners Announced at the Spring National High School Journalism Convention

Check out the 2015 winners of the National Scholastic Press Association's Yearbook Pacemaker award! The winners were announced at the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Denver this past weekend and we got to be there! JEA (Journalism Education Association) and NSPA (National Student Press Association) are among the largest scholastic journalism organizations in the country. If your school isn't already a member, we would highly recommend you consider joining as they offer tremendous insight and resources to help you create an amazing yearbook. Congrats to all of this year's yearbook award winners and finalists!


"Since 1927, NSPA's Pacemaker competition has been considered by many to be student journalism's highest honor. All NSPA yearbook and magazine members are eligible to compete in their respective national Pacemaker competitions. Yearbook/Magazine Pacemakers are judged based upon the following criteria: writing/editing, design, content, concept, photography, art and graphics." (source:

Nailed It! 5 Helpful Tips To Finishing Your Yearbook

Spring is in the air! And over here in Pictavoland that meant a fun 6 inches of snow showers (and no flowers) over the weekend. But the calendar DOES say we’ve reached the first day of spring, so we remain hopeful the future forecast will include warmer temps with more green and less white lawns.

By now you’re either in the home stretch of your yearbook creation, or close to it (or you’re already done, in which case you’re a rock star and can stop reading now). Whatever the case, here are five helpful tips to get your yearbook polished, finished and submitted. You got this!

1. Page Fillers
As you get towards the end of designing, you may find some pages needing a little extra something. Pictavo Snippets are the perfect design elements to complete those pages. Browse through the options in your printed Snippets Guide, or search through them in Pictavo. They’re fully customizable so you can edit them to match your theme or size to the space you have on the page. And they are a great way to get more people covered in the yearbook! Current events are also a great way to fill space in pages…

2. Current Events
Pictavo has revolutionized the way current events or year-in-reviews are added to your yearbook, giving you more control and flexibility. Choose only the ones appropriate for your school or age level and simply drag and drop them onto your page. Not only can you select an entire pre-designed background page (just search “current events” in the Backgrounds area), but you can also pick and choose individual stories (just search “current events” in the Clip Art area). Use the individual stories to create your own page(s), or sprinkle them anywhere throughout your book!

3. Index
An index is a great way for readers to quickly find people in the yearbook. (And it’s a great way to ensure you’ve got the coverage you want). Sound’s tedious, right? Not in Pictavo. We’ve got an automatic yearbook index flow that makes it suuuuuper easy to add an index to your yearbook. Just go to the page you’d like to start your yearbook index on, click on the “Portraits/Index” button and choose “Flow Index”. Our handy dandy Flow Index Wizard will walk you through all the options and choices and PRESTO – your yearbook index is created! You can easily add elements and make edits right on the page. If you need specific help, just visit the “Help” section in Pictavo or contact tech support.

4. Proofing
When you’ve worked for this long on your yearbook and you’re this close to being done, the last thing you want to do is go through the painstaking process of proofing it. But you know you need to. We’ve established some great tips on tackling proofing your yearbook, so be sure to review our previous blog with 10 Quick Tips For Proofing Your Yearbook and check this to-do off your list. Our high-resolution preview that allows you to view your yearbook in full-screen is especially helpful during the proofing process!


5. Submission
Is it just us, or does “approving” your yearbook pages make your heart flutter a little bit? Maybe it’s the excitement of realizing they’re done, or maybe it’s the anxiety of their finality (are they really done?). Either way, there’s something thrilling about determining your yearbook is complete and ready to be submitted for publishing. Here are some things to keep in mind when preparing to submit your yearbook (For specific questions, visit the “Help” section in Pictavo or give us a call):

  • Pictavo keeps your due date front and center in your dashboard so you always know when you’ll need to have everything submitted. The dashboard also gives you a snapshot of the status of each page and your cover. Your goal is to get everything BLUE!
  • Make sure you are happy with the resolution of all photos in the yearbook. Pictavo automatically flags any low-resolution photos so you can easily replace them with a better quality one.
  • If you’re offering personalization, make sure you’ve indicated your chosen options and your spreadsheet is complete and sent to your yearbook rep.
  • If you’ve submitted your book and then realize you need to make a change, don’t panic. There is a way to unlock your book (assuming it hasn’t gone into printing yet). Contact your yearbook rep and they will help you get your change made!     

The end of a marathon is always the toughest, but when the finish line is in sight you are reminded of all the hard work you did that brought you this far. Let that reminder carry you through as you wrap up the end of your yearbook creation and you’ll soon bask in the satisfaction at the finish line that you NAILED IT!