Photo by: Shawnee Mission South High School
The 2022 President’s Collection Highlight Series Shares What Makes a Yearbook Great – Part 5
Written by Shiloh Scott
March is almost at and end, and we’re excited to wrap up our month-long series with the President’s Collection, part 5! For our final post in this series, we’re featuring The Benjamin Middle School, Drake Middle School, Deerlake Middle School, Harding University, Shawnee Mission South High School, Hill Country Christian School and Providence Senior High School.
Yearbook experts Mike Taylor, CJE, Jim Jordan and Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, discussed what makes the yearbooks in our 2022 President’s Collect great – and we recorded their conversation. We’ve shared snippets below, but be sure to check out our gallery for the full video for each of the 31 schools in our President’s Collection. With one video released each day in March, all will be available by March 31.
Each of these videos focuses on five main areas of a school’s yearbook: concept and theme, coverage, design, writing and editing, and photography. Yearbook staffs can use these videos and the accompanying assessments to reflect on each of the five areas. This will help them identify quality elements, reflect on their own work and chart a course for improving the 2024 book.
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4 of the series have been posted. In addition to the teasers below, you can find more information on our Instagram, Twitter and Facebook social media sites. The full reviews are five to 15 minutes long and available to watch at walsworthyearbooks.com/presidents-collection-webinar.
The Benjamin Middle School, North Palm Beach, Florida
Congratulations to the Azimuth 2022 yearbook staff! This fun and Florida-centric yearbook cover has more than meets the eye. Its use of QR codes throughout the book allows users to access additional content. The bright graphics reflect the middle school’s location and age of their student body. As a private school, the yearbook serves a special role in recruiting for the school. It’s clear the staff considered their audience when making design choices.
The sun that’s visible on the cover is carried throughout the book, like a gradient sun sitting behind a cutout photo of an administrator.
“They’re still taking those elements from the cover and bringing them in. But they’re doing it in smart, thoughtful ways,” Schmitz said.
Drake Middle School, Arvada, Colorado
The Lair yearbook staff at Drake Middle School created an eye-catching yearbook that makes you want to see more. The techniques used on the cover were simple.
“It says fun everywhere. And it also says layers,” Taylor said. “You almost feel like you’re looking at something going on inside the letters. And it’s nothing more than a very simple laminate book.”
The graphics used have an organic feel. Lair built on the feeling of movement they create by forgoing square boxes for photos when appropriate. They allowed their photos to work with the graphics.
“It’s not like we just took all this beautiful organic movement and slapped a rectangle on it. We built those photos into that beautiful movement in those shapes, and I thought that was really smart,” Schmitz said.
Deerlake Middle School, Tallahassee, Florida
The 2022 Legacy is in the President’s Collection for the first time! This outstanding middle school yearbook plays off its theme of “Here at the Deer” with graphics that mimic the “you are here” indicators seen on GPS and maps. The opening spread stands out because they arranged the body copy into that same map icon shape.
“What a great idea. So instead of having that map point there, that little map point, they’ve made the copy into the shape of that map point. So that’s thoughtfulness. And I do want to point out that they opened up the leading in that so that it fills that space, but it’s still easy to read,” Schmitz said.
Throughout the book, the staff matched captions to words. For example, a headline reading “It Takes All of Us” is accompanied by a photo of a group of cheerleaders.
Harding University, Searcy, Arkansas
Harding University’s 2022 Petit Jean makes their theme, “Reframe,” loud and clear starting on the cover. The image looks like the viewer is staring out at campus through a misty window. College books are often different from high school or middle school books. The student body usually receives them after graduation, which makes for a different experience focused on memories. They also tend to serve as more of a coffee-table style book.
The staff carried the framing motif throughout the book. Divider pages have graphics that look like frames around the text. They even use rectangle graphics in subtle ways throughout the book.
Taylor admired the classic feel. “They do a nice job of bringing in stories. They do a nice job of bringing in traditional looks.”
Shawnee Mission South High School, Overland Park, Kansas
The Shawnee Mission South High School yearbook made an unexpected color choice in 2022. Their school colors are green and gold, but they chose a red and orange cover with an image of their mascot. This tied into the theme, “Of Course.” The sculptured emboss and UV silkscreened letters make the book even better when you hold it in person.
The title page starts the reader off well with a stunning photo of a crowd. Their band spread stood out with the mix of text and photos. Jordan even suggested the spread be used as inspiration for other schools.
“One thing you might consider as you’re moving into the spring is take a layout like this and copy it with your own photos as you’re beginning to try to move out of the structure that you may have used year after year after year. This is a beautiful look and I think probably 99% of the books in the country haven’t tried something like this,” he said.
Hill Country Christian School, Austin, Texas
Walsworth did not print Hill Country Christian School’s 2022 yearbook, but we’re honored to have them as a new customer for their 2023 yearbook.
The 2022 yearbook theme was “OK, So Basically.” The bright yellow and orange colors are eye-catching, and they had fun with their graphics. The yearbook staff opted to connect the title page the to the back of the endsheet. This meant readers saw full spreads from the very beginning of the book.
The spread on a look at student art stood out among the internal spreads.
“When the pandemic came, it seemed like the artwork — focusing on artwork and mini mags, poems and poetry and all that kind of stuff — really took off. I don’t want to see it go away. I think this is awesome and it showcases these kids that sometimes don’t get their artwork displayed often,” Taylor said.
Providence Senior High School, Charlotte, North Carolina
Providence Senior High School also just joined the Walsworth family for their 2023 yearbook, and we’re excited to partner with this new customer for their exceptional yearbook. The Prowler cover is an eye-catching black color with the school mascot on it. They didn’t use many extras – only some UV varnish and embossing – but still created a visually striking yearbook cover.
Their theme, “We Know Now,” shows on the endsheets, but they enlarged it and made it semi-transparent.
“I love that because it’s there, but it’s like a barely there. And so they brought the same thin line of that frame in, but they use it to anchor the different sections of their book,” Schmitz said.
The staff thought outside the box with their content groupings, opting for more thematic categories than traditional. Those included “Normal is Complicated,” “Challenge has Rewards,” and “Together is Better.”
Taylor, Jordan and Schmitz covered much more than the books listed above. They reviewed each of the 31 books in our 2022 President’s Collection. Those five-to-15 minute videos are being released throughout the month of March. In addition to the President’s Collection, Part 5, the previous four blog posts are available now.
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