September 2, 2003 / Fall 2003 / Theme

Got It Covered

Written by Idea File Staff

Your staff has successfully created a theme, and now they must interpret it on the cover for everyone to see. Luckily, help is available for advisers and staff to get their cover finalized and into production.

It is important to get the cover design done as early as possible. Thorun Zitner-Crawford, a yearbook representative from Birmingham, Ala., said she likes the covers of her spring delivery books to be finalized by the end of September, and the fall delivery book covers done before the Christmas break. Early cover design submission provides ample time for the Cover Department to create the design and the staff to review the proofs and submit corrections if needed.

Karen Ray, a yearbook representative from Missouri, said, “I tell my advisers, ‘let’s get it out of the way so you can work on the rest of the book.’ If they drag it out, it will drag out their theme and everything they do.”

Zitner-Crawford said when she was an adviser, she began discussing theme with her staff in late spring and summer in preparation for the fall.

“Having a theme and cover by the beginning of the school year gives everyone a sense of direction,” Zitner-Crawford said. “Once they pick a cover they have a commitment to the book.”

Most staffs attending summer workshops have the opportunity to meet with a Walsworth cover designer, who can take the theme and concepts from the students and illustrate them into a design the students will like.

“That whole process of putting the students together with someone with a creative mind is the biggest thing that we offer,” John Kelley, yearbook representative from Missouri, said about workshops.

For students who did not attend a workshop or do not have PhotoShop, help is available from several Walsworth sources such as the Portfolio, which includes standard covers that can be personalized, and the Cover Gallery. Staffs also can work with their sales representative to design a cover using the Portfolio 2003 CD-Rom.

“That CD-Rom is wonderful. It really impresses them,” Zitner-Crawford said. “It changes colors and fonts, and they can see it before the proof comes. My schools love it.”

Using the CD also allows the staff to submit digital files of their cover designs, simplifying the submission process.

Your sales representative can provide guidance, too. Ray said she helps first-year advisers ease into cover design. She asks the adviser if she can come and show the students ideas and costs, and personalize a standard cover by Walsworth.

“I tell them, ‘let’s take the easy way this year and use a Walsworth cover, then next year you can design your own,'” she said.

Kelley said he is good at offering advice about colors, applications and other cover enhancements.

“I can tell them what will and won’t work,” he said. Cover development can get bogged down along various stages of the process.

“Problems arise when schools don’t take the time to come up with a good theme,” Kelley said. “Sometimes they try to develop the cover first, and it doesn’t work to fit the theme into it.”

Zitner-Crawford said problems occur when there is a breakdown in communication between the school, the representative and the plant.

Communication problems also arise among yearbook staffs. Mike Diffenderfer, a yearbook representative from Lincoln, Neb., said schools need to make sure the staff is 100 percent behind the cover, which saves time and money.

“All the work is done, the proofs are back, and then one or two staff members say they don’t like it. Maybe they did a standard cover; then they switched to their own,” Diffenderfer said.

The cover involves a lot of anxiety and hard work, but that is because of its unique role in delivering the staff’s message.

“We stress that the first thing people see is the cover,” Diffenderfer said.

  • joanie williams

    The cover gallery is not as easy to navigate, nor does it have the magnitude of yearbook covers and ensheet ideas as last year. We are disappointed…

    • Evan Blackwell

      Joanie –

      Thank you for the feedback! At this time, we haven’t been able to launch this year’s Cover Gallery on the new walsworthyearbooks.com. It’s a pretty big undertaking, and we’re still in the process of getting it ready to go up on the site, hopefully very soon.

      Could you let me know where you were searching, and which Cover Gallery you were looking through? Thanks,

      Evan Blackwell, walsworthyearbooks.com

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.