Jordan shares design ideas, tips with convention crowd

Written by Evan Blackwell, CJE

A crowd of at least a couple hundred students and advisers crowded in Friday morning for Del Campo High School yearbook adviser Jim Jordan’s Design Quest 2017 session, as the educational agenda of the JEA/NSPA Spring National High School Journalism Convention in Los Angeles began.

Jordan guessed that he has conducted his Design Quest session between 10-15 times at the JEA/NSPA Convention, always in an attempt to get yearbook staffs inspired and thinking ahead to fresh design ideas for next year’s book.

Jordan implored the audience not to simply look at the previous year’s book from their school, or even other schools. But to branch out and look at the work being done professionally.

“When you start looking for cool things to inspire you, you need to look at professional press,” said Jordan. “See what they’re doing, and tweak it to make it yours.”

Jordan offered up a variety of practical tips for yearbook staffs looking to get a jump on design ideas for their 2017 books.

  • Take a field trip – Visit a book store and browse through professional materials (magazines, design books) and see what catches your eye.
  • Always have your phone out and ready to take pictures. Design ideas are all around you – signs, logos, posters – and your camera phone allows you to record them.
  • There are a vast number of online resources available, with an almost endless supply of design ideas, from digital publishing platforms like to online portfolio marketplaces like You can mine them for ideas.

“You can make a design that is every bit as beautiful as a professional does it,” said Jordan.

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Evan Blackwell, CJE

Evan Blackwell, CJE, is a Marketing Automation Specialist for Walsworth. He's been a writer, editor and web content specialist for Walsworth Yearbooks for the past 15+ years, and is the author of the Yearbook Suite's "The Art of the Interview" unit. Prior to joining Walsworth, Blackwell spent five years as an award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. He holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Kansas.