June 22, 2009 / Theme

Theme & concept

Written by Jim Jordan

New ideas for the new millennium

Theme Basics
Developing a theme idea throughout the yearbook not only helps to unify the book, but also adds a special dimension of involvement for readers. In the late 90s, there are many theme directions you can pursue.

Consider the following guidelines while working on a theme

* does it make sense, considering the events, activities and issues of the year?
* is there a catch phrase that students will be able to relate to and understand?
* is there a unifying concept to tie the events of the year together?
* does it allow for both verbal and visual development?
* does it show a fresh, contemporary approach?

Where to develop the theme idea

* Cover-theme catch phrase may be actually stated, but at least the cover sets up the mood/tone reflected in the theme.
* Endsheets-promotes unifying idea, either with color choice or through use of headlines, copy, photos, artwork, captions and/or graphics.
* Title page-content and design reflects theme idea. Title of book is most important type element and includes year, volume number, school name and complete address (include zip code). Many schools are also including school enrollment and telephone number.
* Opening section-usually two or three spreads that relates theme to school in general, but with specific facts and details.
* Divider spreads-show how each section relates to theme idea.
* Closing spreads-last spread(s) and final page serves as a wrap-up to theme and school year.

Types of themes that may be used

Pride-incorporate pride without actually using the word “pride.”
Examples
“Without a Shade of Doubt”
“Classic Formula”
“How Lucky Can You Get”
“Too Good to Keep Under Wraps”
“The Gold Standard”

Anniversary-focus on the year, not the history of the school.
Examples
“AtTENtion Please”
“Now Look Who’s 35”
“Black Tie and Blue Jeans”
“Our Forte”

Concept-major theme may be a one or two word concept with section themes taking prominence.
Examples
“Continuum”
“American”
“Edges”

Slogan/Catch Phrase-could be used any year, but is made specific with copy for this year at this school.
Examples
“Keepin’ in Touch”
“One Way or Another”
“Caught in the Shuffle”
“In 25 Words or Less”
“Back to Square One”

Double-Edged-can be completely positive or edged with a negative undertone.
Examples
“Plus or Minus”
“Rude Awakening”
“Same Difference”
“It was bound to happen”
“Now look what you’ve done”
“X-rated”

Jim Jordan
Jim Jordan

Jim Jordan is a Special Consultant for Walsworth Yearbooks and the host of the Yearbook Chat with Jim podcast. He is former yearbook adviser at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks, California. Jim was the 1996 JEA Yearbook Adviser of the Year, and shares his expertise with students and advisers at workshops and conventions across the country. Jim is the lead mentor for Walsworth's Adviser Mentor Program.