Photo by: Liberty North High School, Liberty, MO
The 2022 President’s Collection Highlight Series Shares What Makes a Yearbook Great – Part 2
Written by Shiloh Scott
Happy March! We’re celebrating the month by highlighting the yearbooks in our 2022 President’s Collection. Yearbook experts Mike Taylor, CJE, Jim Jordan and Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, sat down to talk about each yearbook.
Each video focuses on five main areas: concept and theme, coverage, design, writing and editing, and photography. Yearbook staffs can use these videos and the accompanying handouts to reflect on each of the five areas and identify quality elements, reflect on their own work and chart a course for improving the 2024 book. In the 2022 President’s Collection, Part 2 blog post, we take a look at Cactus Canyon Junior High, Woodland Junior High, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Liberty North High School, Shawnee Mission North High School and Burges High School.
We’ve shared some teasers below and on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook social media sites. The full reviews are five to 12 minutes long. You can register to watch here.
Cactus Canyon Junior High School, Apache Junction, Arizona
The staff of the 2022 Oro did a great job of executing their theme, “Find Your Groove.” Even their font looks like it has grooves in it. The staff kept their typography and color scheme consistent throughout the book. The theme copy was written from a second person point of view in the theme copy, and the designer bolded certain words to draw attention to them.
Their academic spread showed the capacity for middle school students to take excellent academic photos.
“Make that a focus of yours when you get in that classroom, don’t take a picture of the whole classroom. Get in there and focus in on particular students who are doing the work,” Schmitz said.
The Oro staff used an eye-catching typeface but balanced it out with clean design. They made good use of white space and clean layouts.
Woodland Junior High School, Fayetteville, Arkansas
Woodland Junior High School’s 2022 book, with the theme “Here We Go (Again),” did an excellent job of appealing to its middle school audience. They used bright, beautiful colors and a simple sans serif font.
“Remember that you were also dealing with sixth, seventh and eighth graders, so simplicity is going to work better with that group,” Taylor noted.
The Round-Up staff did a great job of carrying the colors and font were carried throughout the book, starting from the cover to the endsheets, the title page, and the opening. They even pulled the words from their theme into the four sections the book is divided into. “It all starts here” is the academics and student life section. “We brought our game” is the sports section. “Look at us go” is the people section. And “Together again” is the index and ads section.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Parkland, Florida
Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s yearbook staff chose the theme “And We’re Back” for their 2022 yearbook. The photo they use on their title page really drives that theme home.
“I love a good title page photo. My goal was it should, in one photo, tell you the theme. And so there’s just so much great emotion in this spread,” Jordan said.
Marjory Stoneman Douglas made use of subtle and simple design. They worked parentheses as a design element into their title page and carried it throughout the rest of the book. The yearbook is highly cohesive, and all the subtle details in the design are done to echo the theme.
Liberty North High School, Liberty, Missouri
The 2022 Ayrie used design trends like gradients and cutouts to create a modern-feeling yearbook. This was especially appropriate for the theme, “Right Now, Right Here.”
“What really holds us together is this beautiful, beautiful photography,” Jim said.
Schmitz gushed over the thoughtful touches the staff used, including the white margin on the yearbook’s cover.
“I like that that external margin on the outside edge, instead of bleeding all of that all the way off the edge, that white external margin gives it such a much more modern feel. If you can imagine it, if they had bled it all the way off, still would have looked nice. But wow, this takes it to another level and makes it look so much more modern,” Schmitz said.
These external margins were used throughout the book, and Schmitz also noted the times they were broken. In one notable spread, the designer used a cutout of a Waffle House building to break the external margin, adding depth and creating visual interest.
Shawnee Mission North High School, Overland Park, Kansas
Shawnee Mission North High School celebrated the school’s 100th anniversary and debuted the yearbook’s new name, Brickhouse, in 2022. The theme was “So Much Has Changed.”
“Instead of thinking like ‘It’s an anniversary book, so it has to be about legacy or looking back or looking forward or memories’ or anything like that, they found a way to capture exactly what was happening, but in a modern way,” Schmitz said.
The staff used photos from the school year on their cover, then made a nod to the past with older photos on the endsheet. It was all tied together with a design element that mimicked the look of stacked bricks. They used that same effect throughout the book, but used it differently on different pages to keep things interesting. The book’s design captures the idea of change while paying tribute to the school’s history.
Burges High School, El Paso, Texas
The Hoofbeats yearbook staff at Burges High School took a phrase that is frequently used at their school and turned it into their yearbook theme, “IOB – In Our Blood.” The cover photo shows a group of people who are silhouetted, carrying giant letters to represent their school’s catchphrase. The yearbook staff used glow-in-the-sun ink on the cover’s I, O and B to really make those letters pop.
They used the school’s colors, purple and gold, throughout the book.
“Sometimes we want to find colors that really resonate with the theme phrase or the vibe or the attitude. This is a great theme to use your school colors. Pull those in, because if you would try to add in other colors, it would have fought with the message,” Schmitz said.
The Hoofbeats staff also used elements from the cover throughout their book. On the cover, the letters are tilted. The staff tilted letters inside the book to create consistency. The designers also used small diagonal stripes to subtly connect different elements of the design.
Taylor, Jordan and Schmitz covered much more than the books listed above. You can find all 31 book reviews as they are released here. And watch for more blog posts covering the 2022 President’s Collection.
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