August 19, 2015 / Theme

Finding your theme

Written by Crystal Kazmierski

The pressure is on to find a theme – an all-encompassing thread, a concept for a book that won’t even come out for several months. This is the burden of many a yearbook staff forced to settle on a theme just to have one in place. And often those themes have little to do with the school itself, much less the year.

Maybe it’s because we put too much emphasis on being cute and clever and not enough on simply telling the story of the year – with a style and personality that makes the book special and different from last year’s.

Look at a list of themes and you’ll find a lot of expressions that many schools have used. But where can you go to find something original? Something that unifies the story not just of the year, but YOUR year. Something that is specific enough to be definitive, yet open enough to allow the book’s production to evolve as the year happens, not as it “needs” to happen to fit into a mold designed before school even started.

Finding a theme that is simple, communicative, flexible and fun should be the goal of every yearbook staff. With careful planning, a little inspiration, and a lot of imagination, you can learn to:

  • Pull new ideas out of thin air
  • Develop those ideas into a moldable personality
  • Carry out that personality in every area of the book
  • Keep all of your hair on your head

To help, take a closer look at the “Finding Your Theme” unit of the Yearbook Suite.

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Crystal Kazmierski

With a background in commercial art, Crystal Kazmierski advises the Wings yearbook at Arrowhead Christian Academy in Redlands, California, and teaches design and photography at journalism workshops and conventions across the country. Under Crystal’s guidance, Wings has received multiple CSPA Gold Crown and NSPA Pacemaker awards; including winning a Yearbook Pacemaker 18 times in the last 19 years. Crystal is also the author of Finding Your Theme, a unit in Walsworth’s Yearbook Suite curriculum.