May 13, 2024 / Theme

Creating Thoughtful Themes – Your Guide to 2025 Theme Development

Written by Danielle Finch

This training video, “The Thoughtful Theme”, hosted by yearbook experts Mike Taylor, CJE, Jim Jordan and Sabrina Schmitz, CJE, provides invaluable guidance when developing thoughtful and impactful themes for your yearbook. Be sure to watch this video with your staff before theme planning.

 A great theme goes beyond surface-level graphics and fonts – it uses design to tell a story. The process of theme development starts with searching for an evocative phrase, then experimenting visually before making design decisions to achieve cohesion. 

Gain Inspiration from the Experts

Find inspiration from professional graphic designers, whose curated styles can be adapted for yearbooks. Studying an artist’s overall aesthetic provides a package to build from rather than disjointed elements. This will expose your staff to authentic design and will help them elevate their theme development.

Playtest and Explore 

The video profiles schools who took themes through iterative design processes, refining ideas until achieving their visions. This level of playtesting is emphasized as crucial. Thoughtful themes use elements like layout, headlines and spreads to fully convey stories – not just carry a look throughout. This makes themes resonate more profoundly. Try out the following strategies when playing with theme design: 

  • Make features bigger or smaller 
  • Bleed off the edge of your spreads  
  • Change the scale of type, graphics and photos 
  • Turn and tilt 
  • Layering 
  • Cutouts 
  • Cropping 
  • Color swatches 
  • Saturation 
  • Manipulate margin spacing 

Taking Themes to the Next Level

The “Thoughtful Theme” concept challenges schools to push boundaries. Examples display uniquely contrasting concepts and personalized details. This shows that with creativity, many phrases can make a lasting impact. Continuously challenge yourself to find new ways of visual storytelling.

Get Started Today 

“The Thoughtful Theme” training video provides an invaluable framework for developing impactful, story-driven themes. Encourage your staff to elevate design beyond surface elements into true visual narratives. Following these principles can your staff create a yearbook that is both beautiful and deeply meaningful. Watch it with your staff today! 

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Danielle Finch

Danielle Finch is a former journalism adviser at Smithville High School and now works as a Digital Marketing Specialist for Walsworth. Danielle's passions lie in writing, managing web content and representing the needs of advisers.