7 Simple Ways to Create an Eco-Friendly Yearbook Theme

Creating a yearbook that beautifully captures the student body experience and supports the environment may seem like a daunting task. Still, with today’s eco-friendly products and applications, it’s likely more straightforward than you may think. Digital tools, sustainable paper options, and eco-friendly materials are available for yearbook planning committees to use for the production of an affordable, appealing, and sustainable school yearbook.

At FutureBook Yearbooks, we are experts in the eco-conscious yearbook. We want to share tips and tricks we believe you’ll find essential to creating a sustainable, tree-free, and professional-looking annual.

Curious to know more? Keep reading. We have seven reliable and straightforward ways that you can use to build a successful and eco-friendly yearbook!

Choose Tree-Free Paper

Bamboo stalks grown to be used for tree free paper applications

An easy way to ensure your yearbook planning team delivers a green product is to choose to use a paper product that is entirely tree-free. Wait, what? Yes, tree-free paper is a reality! Not only is it a reality, but it’s also a sustainably managed resource.

What is tree-free paper? Paper produced from fibers sourced from materials other than trees is a tree-free paper product. Commonly used treeless paper options come from crops of bamboo grasses, hemp plants, or flax.  

Bamboo paper is an especially eco-sensible choice because bamboo is the fastest growing plant on our planet. Even more amazingly, the bamboo plant produces 30% more oxygen than trees! Using bamboo as the paper material in a yearbook means support for a completely renewable resource, and harmful deforestation practices are prevented.

Want to learn more fun facts about what makes bamboo so amazing? Read here!

Opt for Water Soluble and Vegetable Based Printing Dyes

Printing adhesives and lamination choices can easily support a yearbook team’s initiative to make a planet-happy product. Hazardous chemicals found in traditional petroleum-based printing solutions can be avoided and replaced with safer and less harsh printing materials.

Lamination products, used to produce high-gloss paper finishes, were once made of hazardous chemicals, like benzene and toluene, that contribute to global water pollution. Fortunately, the adhesive industry has evolved, and there are choices available now that are less harmful and water-soluble. 

Selecting vegetable-based dye over petroleum-based inks help yearbook teams to reduce pollution levels in our atmosphere and water supplies. Vegetable dyes are free of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), making them a kinder, gentler choice for printing applications.

Another benefit of vegetable dyes is they produce more vibrant and vivid looking colors than the classic petroleum-based inks!

Produce a Yearbook that Gives Back

group class planting trees

Another idea we love that will make your yearbook eco-friendly is for your yearbook committee to give back to the environment during the yearbook planning process. Complete your eco-friendly yearbook theme with images from school-supported environmental initiatives. Ideas to consider as part of a green-themed yearbook planning process are:

  • Work with your school administrators to limit the use of single-use plastics.
  • Challenge classmates to a “walk to school” week in support of reduced carbon emissions. 
  • Choose a yearbook supplier that plants a tree for every yearbook printed. (Yes! We do that! Learn more here!)
  • Host a clothing swap to encourage the benefits of secondhand clothing.

Go Green For Your Yearbook Theme

A green yearbook theme can be a fun way to promote your school’s eco-friendly ideologies and solidify efforts to produce a book that’s kind to the environment. 

Some simple ideas for themes that are creative, environmentally conscious, and cohesive are: 

  • Grow. Combine how the year’s students have grown together as a class with their efforts to increase the use of sustainable resources. 
  • It’s Our Turn. Focus on careers students want to pursue that will work to reduce pollution, improve energy efficiency in homes, or support nature.
  • It’s a Small World. Showcase how students of today are part of the global community, and how that resonates within the school halls.

Maximize Use of Digital Resources

Limit paper use for the planning and creation of your yearbook. Instead, maximize the use of readily available digital resources that will reduce the committee’s carbon footprint.

Online Yearbook Ladder

student using digital resources for learning

The yearbook ladder is a key aspect of the yearbook planning process that’s very easy to maneuver in a digital format. A digital adaptation of the yearbook ladder will prevent high amounts of paper from being used, as well as streamline the communication between team members. When edits and changes made to the digital ladder planner need to be shared, it’s easy to keep everyone “in the know.” Share the file with team members after each edit.

Communicate Digitally

Rely on email and group texts to communicate with each of your yearbook members effectively. Instead of sticky notes or handing out printed documents or newsletters, try to use only paper-free options.

Host Eco-Friendly Online Yearbook Events

To truly capture the experiences of a school’s student life, it’s essential to go where students spend their time. In 2020, that means shifting attention towards online platforms. Consider online conferencing options to host online discussions and events. Challenge students to make and share a themed video that encourages support for stopping climate change. Ask classmates to submit selfies of themselves actively recycling or composting.

Looking for other ways to inspire student yearbook participation? Learn more here!

Contribute to Local Conservation Efforts

Showcasing student involvement in local conservation efforts is a wonderful way to add eco-friendly images to your yearbook while instilling a sense of community and pride in students. 

Seek out local environmental groups, animal shelters, or community gardens to find out if they require student volunteers during the year. Invite conservation professionals to give speeches and educate students on what they can in their area to support conservation efforts.

Let FutureBook Yearbooks Be Part of The Journey

Climate conscious consumer choices are becoming increasingly easy to make in today’s marketplace. And at FutureBook Yearbooks, we are proud to be part of the eco-friendly consumer movement. How we do that is by helping our customers create beautiful yearbooks made from sustainable materials and products.

We do this by utilizing the growing variety of products and services available from suppliers we’ve chosen to work with who support sustainable resource management. Our commitment to sustainability and consistent quality has allowed us to learn creative ways to help our clients build an eco-friendly yearbook. 

4 Fun Tips To Inspire Student Yearbook Participation

students against school wall

Yearbook planning is a long process requiring team members to be well organized and also be flexible and open to changing dynamics. When capturing the collective consciousness of a class over an entire year, obtaining an accurate representation of the student body isn’t always easy.

If the same names and faces keep appearing in your yearbook’s content, it’s probably time to seek more support and participation from the student body. Not only will this give the final product a more authentic perspective of the year, but it’s also an excellent excuse to have fun! 

Try some of our following ideas to encourage greater participation from pupils in your school yearbook.

Themed Class Photos 

Group photos are a great way to include school students in the annual yearbook, especially to snap images of those who shy away from the spotlight. While formal class photos by professional school photographers are great to include in a yearbook, they don’t always capture the personality and character of a group. 

Candid shots that encourage students to show off their unique charms are a great way to include numerous faces and personalities at once. Adding themes to the photoshoot will enrich your school yearbook; these images can incorporate the theme chosen by the editorial team for the given year. 

Try arranging class photos a few times throughout the school year to guarantee higher student coverage and to see how everyone changes from September to June. Some simple ideas for themed class photos can be:

  • Your yearbook theme
  • Holidays or special occasions
  • Top movies or other pop-culture trends
  • Dress like your favorite book character

Support School Spirit

Bring everyone together, get great shots for the yearbook, and boost support for your school’s teams with “show school spirit” days. Encourage classmates to wear school gear, dress up in team colours, and be prepared to share their school pride.

Not only will school spirit events improve the yearbook’s student coverage, but it will also boost school morale. Try hosting spirit activities at times when morale will easy to rev up, like at your team’s home game, during grad season, or during student elections.

Want to offer your graduating students something to commemorate their achievements? Learn more here.

Get Candid with Photo Booths

Who doesn’t love fun pics with cool props? Maximum student coverage is more natural and enjoyable with an activity that draws in participants, like a photo booth, for example. A photo booth stocked with themed props can yield amazing candid shots to help your yearbook content shine.

themed props for photobooth event

Set up photo booths in areas with heavy foot traffic to encourage maximum participation, like the cafeteria or the school’s main entrance. Focus on operating the station when passersby have time to stop and check it out, not when they’re in a rush to get to class. Consider times that are a bit more relaxed, like at lunch, the end of the school day, or during school events. 

Not sure how to pick a theme for your photo booth? Rely on ideas that appeal to your classmates. Consider what’s trending in your school and in pop-culture, and let those images inspire you. Or, keep it consistent and use ideas that complement your yearbook’s overall theme.

Participation Incentives

A sure-fire way to get maximum participation from your class is to offer incentives – prizes go a long way in getting a group’s full attention! Rewards don’t have to be lavish to gain cooperative attendees: keep them simple, and rely on your creativity to come up with a sought after prize. See some easy and practical examples below.

Principal for a day

With support from staff and faculty, arrange a draw prize where the winner gets to be the acting principal for a day! Students can enter their names for each yearbook activity they participate in. After all the events are finished, the winner’s name is drawn.

Free Yearbook

Offer the opportunity for students and faculty to win a free yearbook for participating in yearbook committee events. Who wouldn’t want to get an extraordinary quality collection of their memories at no cost?


Connect with local businesses that support your yearbook. Ask them to donate coupons or gift cards your team can hand out as a special thanks to yearbook contributors.

Balance Quality with Quantity

Successful yearbooks accurately reflect the collective experience of those being portrayed on the pages. While everyone’s journey through the school year is as unique as the individual experiencing it, there are moments and events each individual can connect on.

At FutureBook Yearbooks, we feel the best collections of a school year are achieved when quality images, quotes, and content is in harmony with the quantity of included content. For a printing company that will help your yearbook team create the best product you can while helping to support our planet, contact our team.

7 Amazing Facts About Bamboo Yearbook Teams Need to Know

February blog header

Yearbook planning options in 2020 are endless! If you’re part of a yearbook team, you know how overwhelming making those choices can be. Beyond the tasks of layout and theme selection – which are a vast undertaking by themselves – there are tons of decisions yearbook editors need to make.

And, in addition to creating an aesthetically appealing book, it’s also important to consider how your yearbook will impact earth’s climate.

Wait. What? Why should you consider climate needs when designing a yearbook? Well, because in 2020, you can. 

harvested babmoo stalks waiting to be turned into goods.

To create a yearbook that will last for decades, use sustainable materials and processes that serve to support our planet’s future. Clean solutions that create little damage to the environment are available and, better yet, it’s easy to use them.

Okay. But how?

A simple way to keep your yearbook’s carbon footprint at a minimum is to select paper materials made from sustainable resources, like bamboo. Bamboo paper is perfect for those who want sustainable resource management to be part of their school’s legacy. 

Bamboo by itself is pretty amazing; it already does so much for our planet! How does it do that, you ask? Good question. Keep reading to learn seven amazing facts about bamboo that (we think) every yearbook planner needs to know.

Bamboo Grows Fast

Did you know that bamboo is the fastest growing plant on earth? Yep, that’s no joke. In fact, under the right conditions, bamboo can grow up to three feet in 24 hours! Paper made from bamboo is a sustainable option because it grows faster than trees.

What does that mean for yearbook advisors and staff?

Bamboo’s high growth rate means more raw material is produced in less time than it takes to produce the same amount from trees. Choosing bamboo paper for a yearbook means trees are not being cut down to create it, and the bamboo that’s harvested will grow back quickly.

Bamboo Restores Soil

In regions where the soil is depleted of nutrients, bamboo can help to restore the earth. Bamboo grows in thick clumps, or balls, which help keep the ground together. This produces a strong base that supports the bamboo plant and encourages stability in weak soil. Additionally, as leaves from the fast-growing plant fall away, they decompose. The decomposing bamboo leaves act as fertilizer, returning nutrients back into the soil.

Panda bear in a bamboo forest

In areas where over-farming has occurred, bamboo is a healthy option to heal the soil and recharge its nutrient stores. Bamboo paper consumption helps to support farming communities with limited options for crop variety.

Bamboo Prevents Erosion

The root system of the bamboo plant is amazingly strong! As bamboo grows, roots of the bamboo clump intertwine with the roots of other bamboo clumps to create an incredibly strong mesh-like root system.

Bamboo’s mesh-like root system is perfect for keeping erosion at bay.

Pandas Like It 

Most of us know how panda’s love to chow down on stalks of bamboo but, did you know bamboo is the only food panda bears eat? It sure is! Bamboo isn’t as nutritionally dense as other foods available, but panda bears seem to do just fine. They just have to eat 12 – 38 kg of the fast-growing grass every day!

Other animals that love to dine on bamboo are Mountain Gorillas and the lemurs of Madagascar, but they opt to eat different foods in addition to the leaves and stalks of bamboo. 

Bamboo Paper Saves Trees

Paper made from bamboo is a tree-free product. Zero trees are cut down when bamboo is the material of choice for making paper. Wood is considered a non-renewable resource by many; this means the rate of demand for timber exceeds the amount that can be grown back. Essentially, trees are being cut down faster than they can be regrown.

Bamboo products are key to helping preserve our current forests. How cool would it be to have a yearbook that looks great and helps the planet?

Bamboo Plants Produce Lots of Oxygen

Towering forest of bamboo

All plants produce oxygen in exchange for our carbon dioxide, but did you know plants can produce varying amounts of oxygen? And, better yet, bamboo is an oxygen-producing super-hero. 

Imagine two football fields. One of the fields is a forest of trees, and the other is a bamboo farm. Which one would produce the most oxygen? Surprisingly, the answer is bamboo. In fact, the bamboo farm would actually produce 30% more oxygen than the same-sized forest! 

But, doesn’t that mean we shouldn’t use bamboo for things like yearbooks or houses? Good point. However, bamboo grows really fast, which means people can manage bamboo consumption and regrowth more easily than slow-growing wood and timber options.

Bamboo Prefers Being Organic

Bamboo contains a natural antimicrobial, called Kun, which fights off pests and diseases naturally. Bamboo Kun lessens the need for bamboo farmers to use pesticides as the plant is hardwired to defend itself. Supporting the bamboo paper industry also reduces the volume of pesticides released into the environment.

Are you ready to choose a sustainable paper for your yearbook? At Futurebook Yearbooks, we take sustainable resource management seriously. That’s why for every yearbook we sell, we replenish the earth by planting one tree. For more information on how you can plan an amazing yearbook, contact our team!

Photo Contest

FutureBook Yearbooks is pleased to announce our 1st Annual Photography Contest! Grand prize is the opportunity to be published and a Canon EOS Rebel T7i.

Open to all students in North America enrolled in a yearbook program, we are now accepting entries in the following four categories: Student Life, Sports, School Spirit and Creative/Photo Manipulation. Students may enter one photo per category, to a maximum of four total photos.

Winning entries will be featured in a wall calendar published and distributed to schools across North America. We will also award the following winners: Top overall image, Top image in each category and People’s Choice. People’s Choice will take place via public voting on Facebook.

Email photos@futurebookyearbooks.com to enter or inquire further. All entries must be submitted by May 15th, 2018 extended to June 15th! Full details below.


Contest closes at 11:59 pm PST, June 15th, 2018. Entries submitted after this date will not be accepted.

You may enter one or all of the following four categories, but only one photo per category per student will be accepted:

Student Life: capturing the essence of day-to-day activities as a student

Sports: active moments in athletics

School Spirit: capturing school pride

Creative/Photo Manipulation: a photo that you have taken that has been posed or digitally altered

Prizes: All winners will be published in FutureBook Yearbook’s 2018/2019 wall calendar, to be distributed across North American schools. As well, the Grand Prize winner will receive a Canon T7i camera kit; the winners with the top images in each of the four categories will receive $100 to spend at Amazon.com or Amazon.ca, where applicable; and the People’s Choice winner will receive $100 to spend at Amazon.com or Amazon.ca, where applicable.

Winning images will be judged on their merits of storytelling, originality, level of impact and overall photographic quality.

To submit, please provide the following information, along with a signed model release and your entry via email to photos@futurebookyearbooks.com Your image must be submitted in the following format: firstnamelastname_category For example: joesmith_schoolspirit.jpg

Only completed submissions will be accepted.

Along with your submitted image and your signed model release (detailed below), please provide the following information:

Your full name

Your email address

Your phone number

Your submission category (sports, student life, school spirit or creative/photo manipulation)

The full name and full address of your school

The name of your yearbook advisor

Your advisor’s email address

The name of your local FutureBook Representative (if known)

The date your photo was taken

To be eligible for the contest, each photo will need a model release form signed by anyone who is identifiable in the photo.   

Photo Contest Model Release Form

All images must be 300 dpi, a minimum of 8” x 10” in size, and submitted as a jpeg or tiff.

Your submission to this contest grants FutureBook Printing, Inc. (FutureBook Yearbooks) a royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual, non-exclusive license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, create derivative works from and display the entry, in whole or in part, in any way the company sees fit, including entertainment, education, and promotional purposes. Your submission represents and warrants that you have obtained all appropriate licenses and/or consents necessary to grant the rights granted to FutureBook Yearbooks hereunder (including without limitation any applicable model releases) and will indemnify the company for any and all claims arising from your failure to do so.

Winners and their yearbook advisors will be notified by email and/or telephone by July 31st, 2018. We do not have the ability to respond to each entry.

No purchase necessary to enter or win. Contest is open to all students enrolled in a yearbook program in Canada and the United States.

Having Trouble With Submissions?

File submissions made easy with this simplified checklist of the most commonly made mistakes:


*Before any exporting is done check for these things*

-Do all images on the edge of the page go to the red bleed line?

-If you have a background color, does it fully extend to the red bleed line?

-Is everything spelt correctly? Have someone different proofread the copy. Often the author of the copy will overlook simple mistakes because they know how it is supposed to read.

-Do any of your images look funny? They may not be proportionately fitting to your frame. If this is the case… <Right Click> and choose the fitting option <fill frame proportionately>

-Do you have any errors? Check the bottom of the InDesign workspace. You will either see a green dot that says “No Errors” or a red dot indicating how many errors you have. Double click that area if you have errors and it will explain what the problem is. Errors may be in linking or overset text.

-Do you see any random boxes on your spread? You may have accidentally created an empty frame. Using your selection tool select the empty frame and just click the backspace or delete button on your keyboard.


*No mistakes? You are ready to set up your PDF export*

-Go to File >Export >Choose file format Adobe PDF (Print)

-Save in the following format: XXXX_002-003_MonthDay


-XXXX is your job number. If you are unsure of this number it will be listed in the slug of your templates

-002-003 is the range of pages you are exporting. This could be 002-003 or 122-193. Make sure this area matches the page numbers you are exporting. If you are exporting your cover this will say cover, not a page range. If you are exporting your endsheets, this will say endsheet-back or endsheet-front, not a page range.

-MonthDay is the date you exported your documents or the day you are submitting for proofs. For example: If you are submitting XXXX_002-003, XXXX_004-005 and XXXX_006-007 but you exported them on different days, the days should all be the exact same day, today’s date (the day you are submitting) So they might all read 1234_002-003_Dec18, 1234_004-005_Dec18, 1234_006-007_Dec 18



Packaging is a very important step. It will ensure that all images and fonts used in your design will be included with your saved documents. You will only need to package your document if you are submitting a cover, dust jacket, GradBox or MovieBook. Otherwise you will be ready to submit after STEP TWO.

To Package your InDesign file go to:

File >Package

From here you will save your packaged file in the same naming format listed in STEP TWO. Once everything is packaged into your folder you can right click the folder and compress it to a .ZIP file and you are ready to submit!