What’s new for the 2014 school year

Welcome back to school, friends and FutureBook family!

It’s already been an interesting and contrasted start already this year: Our Texas schools started back as early as August, while schools in British Columbia are only starting next week, after a strike process which began last June! We are happy the job action has reached a resolution and look forward to working with these schools soon.

Video yearbooks: the future of school yearbooks is here

Video yearbooks? What took so long, you might be wondering. Well, actually, video yearbooks have been around for a couple of years, pioneered by FutureBook in 2012. But this year, we made some great improvements!

moviebook video yearbook ladysmith
The slim new 2″x 3″ video yearbook features the video player embedded into the cover—front or back, your choice—and flush with the cover, seamlessly blending into the endsheet. It has three video “channels,” a mini SD card, a lithium rechargeable battery, a wee cord to recharge the battery and an earphone jack.

Here’s why this is so cool:

  • You know that yearbook deadlines fall in April for books delivered in June, right? Well, the SD cards ship separately. This means that you can film your grad ceremony, upload it to the SD card, and when the yearbooks arrive, pop that SD card into the books and distribute them with the ENTIRE school year represented in the yearbook. Pretty amazing.
  • Schools can load the three “channels” with three different videos—say, a sports highlights reel, a theatre or dance performance and the grad ceremony—or, students can upload their own videos on their own home computer.
  • An easily accessible battery that’s rechargeable (and replaceable) means that your children will be able to watch your high school videos. Who knows if YouTube or Facebook will exist in their current iterations with your videos uploaded, in twenty years? Having a self-sufficient video player means that as long as you have your yearbook (in a dry, safe place), you’ll have the audio and video, too. It’s nice to have all your memorabilia contained in one place.*
  • The sound quality on the video yearbook is pretty great. For an even better experience, plug in some great earphones and get lost in nostalgia!

Video yearbooks are accessible for every school. Contact us at 1-877-855-2665 or email us at info@futurebookyearbooks.com to find out how your school can receive its own yearbook worthy of the future!

*To further compartmentalize and protect your memories, add a magnetic-closure name-plated GradBox to your order (another feature only available through FutureBook). It can contain your video yearbook, photos, grad cap and diploma, keeping them all safe and organized for generations. It can even contain your video player, shown in this design for Andrews High School in Texas:

grad box video yearbook


How reading poetry can help anyone to create new ideas

It’s a shame that most junior high or high school students’ introduction to poetry is usually Shakespeare and Wordsworth. So much time is spent on parsing archaic words, discussing rhyme and metre, and most people I know generally don’t like it. “How am I ever going to use this?”

Perhaps poetry instruction should start with metaphor. Metaphor is everything—to poetry and maybe even to life. Metaphor is:  “I am a rock, I am an i[iii]sland.” (A rock feels no pain, and an island never cries, you see.)

Metaphor is how we derive meaning in a difficult, unpredictable, sometimes-senseless world. We make up metaphors to help us figure out how to live. We use them as mantras and mnemonics; we save them on Pinterest and share them on Facebook; then the doing of life feels a little more comprehensible and attainable for ten minutes.

Graphic describing resilience














Thinking in metaphors helps us to be creative in everything since metaphors are connections between seemingly disparate things. If you can practice thinking in metaphors, you can make connections everywhere you go. How is this like that?

You could be at a football game, for example, and think, How is football like yearbook? There’s teamwork involved and different roles required, there’s a lot of planning required to get excellent execution. Some roles are more boring than others but the team wouldn’t function without those roles played.

You could take this metaphor further, turning it around in your head, and get a great idea for something that can help your yearbook team.

Or look at this ad from Bic:

Photo of Bic billboard ad

Source: Hongkiat.com

I imagine someone looking at a lawn, thinking how it resembled beard stubble, this ad idea naturally following.

Poetry spurs creative associations and imagination in ways that can help writers, photographers and graphic designers to create really fantastic yearbooks. Poetry also demands focus from the reader and sometimes patience as she tries to figure out all possible meanings of a word or a line. This regular exercise of focus and analysis combined with the exposure to creative associations helps boost problem solving skills. At least, that’s my theory and anecdotal experience.

For an approachable introduction to poetry driven by good metaphors, I recommend Garrison Keillor’s collection Good Poems.

Spend a couple of weeks reading some poetry and see if you aren’t more creatively inspired to the point that someone compares thee to a summer’s day, lovely and more temperate.

6 of the best celebrity commencement speeches

You are graduating high school! If not now, then one day. Perhaps you have a valedictorian speech to make. Or you have a whole new life for which to plan. Or, you’re already a graduate and you could use a nudge, a kick to the bum, a wake-up call that will inspire you to hit the snooze button in the morning only twice instead of five times.

We have just the thing. We’ve collected some of the best celebrity commencement speeches around. So, grab some popcorn and a notepad and pencil.

1. Jim Carrey. Who, besides Jenny McCarthy would have thought that Jim Carrey would say some of the wisest words ever about choosing to take risks and how to decide what you should do with your life? This video is short and the best part is at the very end.

Jim Carrey Commencement Speech

2. Sandra Bullock’s advice about playing loud music before leaving the house for the day is good advice, but it’s also the least of her speech. No, the part about nose picking was probably the least of her speech. The rest is worth listening to.

Sandra Bullock’s Tulane Commencement Speech

3. Amy Pohler. Most of her speech is silly joking but this video starts at some really important, practical advice for everyone.

Amy Pohler’s Harvard Commencement Speech

4. J.K. Rowling’s whole speech is excellent, but her words about poverty and empathy are noteworthy, uncommonly said, and worth waiting for.

J.K. Rowling’s Harvard Commencement Speech

5. Steve Jobs’s speech is told through three compelling stories which teach that you can only plan so much and that if you’re open to change and experimentation, you can learn some of the best lessons for your life.

Steve Jobs’ Stanford Commencement Speech

6. Sheryl Sandberg never gives average commencement addresses. Hers are highly relevant to anyone wanting success in the workforce or wanting to know to plan their life.

Sheryl Sandberg’s City of Colleges Chicago Commencement Speech

Wasn’t that inspiring? Happy summer and life planning wishes to you all!


2 super ways working in yearbook can make you money today

Yearbook can feel like a thankless job. Once the yearbook is distributed, there are always people who want to point out typos, or complain about colour choices and other minor objections. No one knows that you spent, on average, what feels like two light years creating and editing one spread. People who haven’t worked on a yearbook staff don’t realize the number of style guide and publishing rules and details you need to keep track of to do your job.

For fleeting moments, especially surrounding deadlines, you might question what makes yearbooking worthwhile. Some schools can afford to let yearbook staff buy their books at half price, some let staff members get a free book, some yearbook staff get pizza and snacks. So, there’s that.

Pizza and yearbook discounts are great. But one of the best benefits from being on a yearbook staff is not obvious: Since it’s human nature to undercut ourselves and our abilities, you may not realize all the cool skillz you’re now packing… that you could be monetizing! How?

1. Most of FutureBook’s schools use InDesign to make their yearbooks because InDesign is the professional industry standard for making graphic stuffs and things. If you use our online program, you’ll still learn design principles, photography and journalism—which is great. But, in addition to these, if you know how to use InDesign, you also know how to make business cards, marketing brochures, graphics for websites, posters, invitations and more. In addition to what you have learned in yearbook, all you really need in order to be a designer of print materials is an account with The Noun Project, InkScape (which turns any illustration into a vector graphic, and it’s a free program), and Adobe Ideas on an iPad can be helpful, is super-fun, and easy to use. Want to make watercolour graphics? Just use the amazing Waterlogue app. Anything left that you can’t do, you can subcontract out, finding someone on Craigslist or Fivrr.

A Waterlogue "painting" of a photo taken at Arbutus Middle School, from our brand new Instagram account that you should totally follow at instagram.com/futurebookyearbooks

A Waterlogue “painting” of a photo taken at Arbutus Middle School, from our brand new Instagram account that you should totally follow at instagram.com/futurebookyearbooks

With every design piece that you make, you have one more item to add to your portfolio. Each of these items can eventually be compiled into a website of your own or into a Dribbble account to which you link from your About.me profile.There are always businesses just starting out, or people getting married or throwing an event on a budget. These people would love to hire a student who is just starting to build a design portfolio for themselves. Build that portfolio and you could be freelancing your way through college or university, instead of working in the service industry (if that’s not your cup of tea). Freelancing is uncertain—you’re always having to find gigs and can easily go through dry spells—but you can work from anywhere, on your own time, at your own rates. Freelancing is empowering as you pursue gigs—gigs available all around the world!—and make your own destiny. (Or at least your own coffee fund.)

How do you get gigs?

Post profiles on oDesk, eLance, and Fiverr. Include examples of things you have made. Make calling cards for friends, make marketing materials for businesses for free and then either stop by to give them the samples or mail the materials to them. Say that you are trying to establish a design portfolio and you’re looking for support within your community. You love X and Y about their business/organization and you want to offer some freebie marketing materials to them in the hopes that they will either want to use it now or that they’ll consider you for another job in the future. If they say that they don’t have the money and don’t anticipate having it in the future, ask them if they would at least take a few of your (awesomely designed) amazing business cards, and rave about you to their friends and customers. Who doesn’t want to help out an earnest, hardworking young person trying to become independent and successful? Unconscious people in hospital beds. I can’t think of anyone else.

2. Even if you don’t end up using your yearbook knowledge and the skills you’ve learned to do freelance design work, you are learning how to use programs which intimidate most people. If you ever get an office job, especially at a non-profit organization or a new business, knowing how to use InDesign and PhotoShop will give you an advantage over other job applicants. Every office and business needs someone who knows how to use these programs.

So, if deadlines are stressful right now, and if you’re debating joining yearbook again next year, we hope you’ll stick with it. Not because we would love to work with you again (which we would!) and not because your advisor is really hoping that you’ll bring that knowledge and experience back for the benefit of next year’s book, but as an investment into your own future. Good luck!

reasons to join yearbook

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