July 22, 2010 / Book Organization

Five yearbook essentials that not every staff remembers

Written by Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Some yearbook advisers and staffs have referred to their yearbook as their baby and consider the delivery to be similar. When a baby arrives, parents announce its name, weight, length, time of arrival, their names and Five-yearbook-essentialsother pertinent facts. To use the baby analogy, staffs eagerly await the delivery of the yearbook. When it arrives and is distributed to students, the essential facts included in the yearbook are slightly different, but just as important.

Can you imagine a yearbook that does not include the school name? They exist. There are certain facts that you should include in specific areas of your yearbook to tell readers now, and remind yourself and them in 20 years, about how that yearbook was made, what school year it belongs to, and who is in it. Here are five places you need to put your yearbook essentials, and what you should include.

  1. Cover – Your cover should include the yearbook name and the year of publication, with the school name, city, state and volume number on the spine.
  2. Title page – Yes, include a title page. Put on it the book’s title, volume number, the school year, school name and complete address including ZIP code. The complete address is important as some schools do move, like when a new building is built. Many schools also include school enrollment, telephone number, email address, principal’s name and number of faculty. Let your title page give a quick snapshot of your school.
  3. Colophon – A colophon is one of the most important parts of the yearbook. It should include the company that printed the book, number of copies ordered, fonts used, paper and cover specifications and general acknowledgements. You can include other printing specifications such as types of computers and cameras used, submission method, a description of how you arrived at your theme idea, photography information, awards and special thanks. Some yearbooks include a complete staff list and an editor’s note in the colophon, and some yearbooks separate them.
  4. Index – The index is the most-read section of the yearbook. It helps your readers easily find themselves and others. The index also can be used while you are creating the book to determine whether some students have been included too many times and others not enough. Help your readers by indexing of every person where they are located, including ads; every topic, such as football, theater and yearbook; and the name of every business that placed an ad.
  5. Captions – Every photo should have a caption. Captions complete the story that the photos tells. They will help your readers remember who everyone is decades from now. And the information will enable your yearbook to fulfill its role in your community as a history book and reference book. Here’s a simple formula for writing captions: Write a first sentence in present tense to describe the action in the photo, then a second or additional sentences in past tense to add details. Make sure to include the names of the people and other identifiers, such as grade, age, position played, instrument played, subjects taught, or other details.
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  • Robert, they vary. It’s up towards the authors. Many with the letters coming up are handwritten, or hand-notated, it’s about half and half. Though most from the first letters were typed. The fourth letter was a comic.

Elizabeth Braden, CJE
Elizabeth Braden, CJE

Elizabeth Braden, CJE, is the editor of Idea File magazine. She has been a copywriter for Walsworth Yearbooks for more than 10 years, writing articles for walsworthyearbooks.com and marketing materials, and proofreading copy for the Yearbook and Commercial divisions. She has taught at Adviser Academy. Her career has included reporting and editing for United Press International and editing for Knight-Ridder Financial News. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Media News from the University of Tulsa.