Beyond the Cap and Gown: Elevate your Yearbook with a Striking Graduation Spread

Written by Mike Taylor, CJE

Graduation happens every year: the seniors walk the stage, pose for a camera with their school board and toss their caps to the wind to celebrate their accomplishments. At the end of the day, your staff wants your graduation spread to be unique to the school year with eye-catching design and coverage. Let’s take a look at some graduation spreads to see what makes their spread stand out. Select each spread to get a closer look. 


Bishop Miege High School – Roeland Park, Kansas

This staff did a great job with showcasing that final walk in the stadium. They have great photography with the students who graduated in 2022. The staff included stories and quotes that highlighted this special day. 



Derby High School – Derby, Kansas

The staff not only covered their graduation, but they also highlighted the end of year accomplishments of the student body. The staff focused on their art classes putting on an art show as well as their choir doing their final performance for the community. The staff included unique modular packaging and sidebar designs with great coverage. 




Emporia High School – Emporia, Kansas

Emporia was “Feeling 22” with our favorite artist Taylor Swift as the inspiration. The staff pulled quotes from graduates, teachers and speakers from the event. They had great photography with well-written captions. 



Francis Howell Central High School – Cottleville, Missouri

Francis Howell also used Taylor Swift as inspiration. The staff used well-crafted quotes and captions. They captured students’ excitement and all the emotions that come with graduating. 



Kearney High School – Kearney, Missouri

Taylor Swift also dominated the coverage theme with Kearney’s graduation spread. The staff used the final pep rally and sprinkled photos from graduation. They also incorporated comprehensive sidebar packages. 



Notre Dame De Sion – Kansas City, Missouri

As an all-girls’ school, they took a different approach by discussing their formal ceremony – something unique to their school. This great spread captured graduation in a way that differed from traditional graduation spreads. 



Oakwood High School – Oakwood, Ohio

This spread had great design, utilizing white space to make their design elements pop and catch the eye. With photo sidebars, the staff did a great job telling the story of their graduation. The use of bold color added even more continuity to the spread. 



Smithville High School – Smithville, Missouri

What stands out in this spread is the photography. With the diverse angles and varying shots, the spread captures the moment well. The staff also chose to incorporate modular packages to tell the story of the senior’s last moments as high school students. 



Southside High School – Fort Smith, Arkansas

This spread captured the activities the seniors did in the final weeks leading up to graduation. The photo montage at the bottom of the spread covered those last moments in a meaningful way that will promote excitement for the future seniors. 


3 Key Takeaways

  1. Strong Photography – Be sure to use varying shots with unique angles and different orientations. This will allow your designer(s) to take the spread where they want it. 
  2. Eye-Catching Modular Packages – Tell the story within the story. The graduation ceremony is not the only piece to the puzzle. Tell the stories that led up to graduation. Get meaningful quotes and push to tell all sides of the story. The more modular packages you consider, the more likely you are to have varying coverage. 
  3. Consistency in Design – Your theme elements should shine in your graduation spread. Consider your theme phrase and determine how you can incorporate it in your headlines, modular packages, and body copy. Remember to keep your theme colors and styles moving throughout your spread elements. 

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Mike Taylor, CJE

Mike Taylor, CJE, sees things differently, and as a journalism specialist for Walsworth, he uses that creative edge to help yearbook staffs across the country put together the yearbook they dream about. A former award-winning yearbook adviser, Mike has been awarded the JEA Medal of Merit, CSPA Gold Key and Florida Scholastic Press Association Gold Medallion. Follow Mike on Pinterest at taylormjc.