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Planning Tasks To Do Before Starting Your Next Yearbook Project

Yearbook planning ideas

When is your ideal time to start working on the next school year’s yearbook project? Do you use the charge of sending the final yearbook draft to the publishers to propel you towards starting your next one immediately? Or, do you take time to recollect and review what you’ve accomplished before venturing on the next yearbook journey?

Whatever your ideal time is for organizing plans for your next yearbook project, we have tips that can help you maneuver the process. At FutureBook Yearbooks, — we’re experienced yearbook publishers, and we know a few things yearbook advisors can use to plan a successful and extraordinary yearbook.

Before diving head-first into yearbook themes, yearbook covers, yearbook calendars, pagination woes, and template selections, read the following yearbook planning tips. They’re sure to help you get your next yearbook project started on the right page!

Yearbook Team Recruitment Strategy

What is your vision of a successful yearbook team? Is it in-line with your yearbook goals?

Until you know what you want your upcoming yearbook committee to accomplish, resist making posters, and drafting emails to entice students to join the yearbook committee. Do some pre-planning steps to understand what yearbook resources are available to you and the direction you want for your next yearbook team. 

To begin, start by organizing what you already know about your next yearbook team.

yearbook planning ideas
  • Will there be returning yearbook staff that can take on large tasks, and potentially mentor new members?
  • Is there a large turnover of staff requiring significant amounts of time needed for yearbook team training?
  • Are there extenuating circumstances that may make recruitment challenging, like school closures or on-line only class instruction?

Once you understand what you want in a yearbook team, prepare a list of potential team positions and review which ones will need filling. Then, focus your recruitment strategy on attracting students who fit the bill.

Are you concerned about keeping your yearbook budget in-check? Learn here about eight digital resources your yearbook team can use that are completely free!

Consider Your Yearbook Staff’s Training Needs

How much training will your staff require? How will you accommodate individual needs?

Having a healthy number of students return to a yearbook committee is considered ideal by many yearbook advisors. And, it’s no wonder why, — building a yearbook staff member’s unique skills, over multiple years, generally leads to better connections and quality yearbook results.

However, all students must inevitably vacate their long-held yearbook staff position upon graduation. The student who fills that role will likely be new to your team and will need training as they adapt to their new position. To ease with training costs, consider working with a yearbook publisher that prioritizes reliable service and training.

Draft a Schedule Ahead of School Session

How will you manage your yearbook’s timelines? Is there room for flexibility and error? 

Timeline maintenance is vital for a yearbook project to run smoothly and be finished on-time. Having a proposed timeline and schedule ready before in-session classes resume is an effective and organized way to kick-off your yearbook project. However, being flexible and adapting to unforeseen circumstances is equally as important.

Some examples of what to include in your yearbook timeline are:

yearbook collection tips
  • Image collection strategy. Collecting images of students should begin as early as possible to ensure maximum student representation. Consider making photography and image collection strategy a priority early-on.
  • New member recruitment. Recruit new members early!
  • Theme Selection. Yearbook theme selection should be nailed down early in the year. Aim for before winter break, at the latest.
  • Yearbook Event Planning. Promote your yearbook and engage student participation by hosting yearbook events. Themed events are a great way to solidify the look and feel of the book’s chosen theme.

While this list isn’t exhaustive, we hope it demonstrates the importance of drafting a yearbook schedule before the school year begins. The need to be flexible and adaptive is important for the role of the yearbook advisor. However, having a general outline of the year will help keep your team focused and on-target.

Yearbook Planning: Balancing Control & Flexibility 

How your yearbook plans look in September is likely to change over the year. Yearbook staff changes may occur, shifts in roles and responsibilities can happen, and unexpected circumstances might pop up. However, if you have a schedule that provides a general sense of organization and allows for adaptability, you and your team will easily maneuver throughout the year.

Top Editing Tips Successful Yearbook Committees Should Know

Yearbook Editing Tips

Anyone with yearbook planning and execution experience knows just how valuable proper editing is when crafting an extraordinary looking yearbook. Editing tasks may seem tedious and boring, -they’re often not as exciting as capturing important moments like photographing a top school sports game, or documenting student elections. However, detailed and focused editing is essential to make your final yearbook draft an outstanding product.

Often, yearbook advisors and staff members can become easily overwhelmed by the seemingly unending mound of editing tasks. When that happens, mistakes may go unnoticed and lead to a poor-looking yearbook. After laboring for months on gathering content that reflects the school year and your yearbook team’s chosen theme, don’t let simple editing errors destroy all your hard work!

Here are some of our top editing tips that we feel every yearbook committee should know.

Maintain Yearbook Layout Consistency

A yearbook’s layout should reveal a content pattern, – a general sense of consistency, from the title page to the closing farewell. This will create a cohesive experience that tells the year’s story clearly and in a way that is meaningful to the reader. When yearbook staff don’t have a defined layout plan or deviate from a predetermined strategy, the result can appear messy, clumsy, and as a poorly planned product.

The best way to maintain a consistent layout throughout the yearbook is to establish a layout plan and then stick to that plan. When defining your yearbook layout strategy, consider the following questions to help direct the layout planning process:

  • Do you want the book to be based on chronological order? Or, is sectioned by grade a better fit for your yearbook team?
  • Will each school class have dedicated pages? Will each class be presented individually or, will the focus be more on the student body as a whole?
  • Are class photos the defining feature of the yearbook, or should student experience images be more prevalent?  

Carefully Manage Yearbook Images 

Yearbook Images

Catalog yearbook images as they are being collected. Don’t wait until late spring to start sifting through the mounds of jpeg files potentially stored across multiple devices and inboxes. If images aren’t accurately labeled and stored shortly after collection, problems could quickly develop. For instance, you could risk losing a beautiful image or, even worse, erroneously use an image in a place it doesn’t belong.

Protect months of painstaking picture collection by creating an organization system for your images that yearbook staff can easily follow. The system doesn’t have to be overly complicated, in fact, the more simple the system is to use, the better it will be received. Even a defined system just for labeling and storing image files will make the yearbook editing process more manageable.

Did you know there are multiple digital resources for image collection and editing that are completely free? Learn more here.

Represent Yearbook Classmates Accurately 

Telling the story of an entire school year requires keen attention to detail, primarily to ensure the year’s students are accurately reflected across the pages. While some faces are bound to show up more than others, -some people love the camera while others actively avoid it, do your best to include everyone.

To reflect a fair representation of all students, consider different ways to track how much each class, team, or activities group are being photographed and documented. Keep different folders -one for every grade level or type of group, to store specific content ideas and related images. 

Start this process early. At the beginning of each year, jot down the names of each school club, sports team, or other known social circles, and make a plan on how to best capture their story.

High School Yearbook Committee

Be Creative but Remain Consistent

As the year progresses, there are undoubtedly going to be yearbook features and ideas that come and go. This is a normal part of every successful yearbook production process, and it’s important to let the year’s events influence the yearbook. Unplanned events spring up, yearbook budget priorities shift, and sometimes, changes in staff members can occur.

While it’s essential to let the story of the academic year sway a yearbook committee’s decisions and creative process, it doesn’t require starting the yearbook over from scratch with every twist of events. If unexpected circumstances pop-up that severely alters the yearbook’s direction, try to keep the chosen layout, font selections, colours, or other details that will leave the consistency of the book unchanged. 

Aim for Simple and Steady

As yearbook publishers, the FutureBook Yearbooks team regularly sees how the role of a clear and thoughtful editing process affects the overall quality and aesthetics of published yearbooks. To keep your yearbook team’s editing efforts impactful and easy to follow, aim for a simple approach that strives for continuous, steady progress. For further tips and ideas for your yearbook, be sure to sign-up for our newsletter!

8 Free Digital Resources Experienced Yearbook Teams Love!

Find free digital resources for yearbook planning

When creating a stunning book your yearbook team will be proud of that’s also affordable, hard choices need to be made. Finding the right balance between a sensible budget and inspired design is crucial.

An easy way to mitigate skyrocketing costs during the yearbook production process is to use free digital tools available online. Yearbook teams can use a wide variety of digital resources to complete essential production aspects, bringing down the cost of a yearbook substantially.

Using free photo editing tools, layout design software, and useful communication apps preserves your budget for unavoidable costs, like book cover style and page number preferences. Not sure where to start? Check out the following suggestions. We’ve rounded up eight of our top free digital yearbook design resources to help maximize your design efforts and your budget.

Top Free Yearbook Design Resources in 2020

Finding inspiration and creative ideas for designing a cohesive yearbook can require a lot of research. Sifting through multiple resources in search of a perfect image, page idea, or unique personal message can consume hours and can feel overwhelming.

Stay calm and keep your design idea search simple by focusing on the online resources many yearbook teams consistently find reliable.

Yearbook layout image from pinterest

Pinterest: A social media platform for finding design and inspiration ideas, Pinterest is a fantastic place to find and share yearbook design ideas. Create different collections within the Pinterest app to keep the ideas you find organized and easily accessible.

Unsplash: Stock images may not be what a yearbook editor recommends to use as part of a project’s image collection, but, sometimes a stock image can offer design and image editing inspirations. Unsplash is a free, online collection of stock images anyone can sift through, download, and incorporate into a project as needed.

Free Online Image Editing Tools

Photo editing tools required when editing yearbook images don’t need to have a costly subscription or licensing fees to be effective. Try any of the following image editing software options. Each of these options is equipped with powerful image editing tools, as well as being easy to use, while also producing professional results on any budget.

Adobe Photoshop Express: A free version of Adobe Photoshop, the Adobe Photoshop Express version of the software gives yearbook teams the ability to edit images with professional quality from almost any mobile device. Intended for editing images for social media platforms, the free app allows yearbook images to be edited on the go and is easy to learn.

GIMP: A bit more challenging to learn than other free photo editing software options, GIMP is an ideal choice for those looking to explore professional graphic design and image editing. Tutorials and an extensive online community make GIMP a reliable option for yearbook committees to depend on for many years. 

Picresize.com: If you just need to make simple changes, you may not even need Photoshop or Gimp. As the name suggests, this site makes resizing photos a snap! Just upload, choose your dimensions, and save in a web friendly format like jpg, png, or gif. If you want to add special effects to you can, as well as flip or rotate an image. It’s free, very user friendly, and ideal for quick edits.

Budget-Friendly Yearbook Layout Software

yearbook committee meeting together

Page layout and design is the key to developing a consistent and unified looking yearbook. After staff members have planned the look and feel they want to convey in their project, put those ideas together easily with one of the free software options below.

Scribus: A publishing software for desktop applications, Scribus is well-suited for yearbook teams to learn about publishing processes, while also staying within budget. For students learning the program, we recommend opting for the stable version of the software.

Canva: For a graphic design program that’s intuitive, versatile, and free, Canva is a good option. Use Canva to develop page layouts, or to take advantage of the full availability of adorable graphic elements. There is also a robust image library, though some images cost money.

LucidPress: Offering web-based design solutions, LucidPress makes their software free for students to use upon request. The company’s education account gives students the ability to access the features of the professional account at zero-cost. 

Of course, there may be others perhaps you’d recommend. Did we miss any amazing digital apps for yearbook design? Leave a comment on our Facebook page.

Tips to Manage YearBook Costs without Sacrificing Design Quality

Incorporating free digital services and programs in your yearbook planning process is a smart and efficient way for a yearbook staff to manage available resources. If, however, you prefer the stability and support of licensed software to plan your yearbook, consider FutureBook Yearbooks. With our affordable pricing program you can have the option of including access to an easy-to-use and robust yearbook online software. We believe that producing an extraordinary book doesn’t have to be overly expensive.

For more information on how FutureBook Yearbooks can help your team create a cost-effective yearbook, contact our team.