Theme Development Package
Written by Idea File Staff
Mexico H.S., Mexico, Mo.
Traditionally, a yearbook’s cover, endsheets, title page, opening, closing and division spreads together form the book’s theme development package. On these theme pages, both the verbal and the visual are important. Recurring motifs-words, graphic elements, and designs-link these pages just as the theme or unifying idea links the sections of the book.
The 1998 Mascot staff designed a theme package that effectively provides the book with a common angle and unified look. Since this volume would be the school’s 50th yearbook, the editors decided that ‘Encore” would be a suitable catch word. The key element of the theme logo, “Encore,” became the focal point of a simple, but attractive, cover. To reinforce the concept, the staff used the word repeatedly in a screened form.
Just a little dab of color can add so much. Red, one of the school’s colors, was introduced on the cover in the theme logo. Used sparingly, the color draws the reader’s eye to the logo. Notice the subtle use of red dots in place of the “o’s” in Mascot and Mexico. It is understated, but effective.
Rather than use traditional divisions, the staff divided the book into three primary sections and gave them new names. Playing on the red-highlighted “e” in encore, the sections all begin with an “e” and were presented in the same style and typeface as the theme word.
The key to a good theme logo is being able to adapt it for other uses. On the title page, the staff repeated the type and rule line graphics of the logo, but substituted lightly screened photos in place of the gray-screened versions of the word “encore.”
Once inside, repeating the logo itself is not enough to carry a theme. Copy has to relate the theme to the school as well as tell the story of the year. Instead of traditional copy, the Mascot staff reinforced their theme by listing the top 50 events of the year, tying the theme concept into the yearbook’s 50th edition. The copy on the opening spread covered the first 10 of the 50 events. On each of the following theme spreads, another 10 events were covered.
At first glance, it is obvious that this division spread is theme oriented. The adaptation of the logo as well as the continuation of the opening copy show the reader that this is part of the theme presentation. Using an alternative form of copy, the writers provide, in boldface, a description for each of the 10 events listed. The sentences that follow, set in italics, give additional information, usually capturing the humor in the events.
By repeating the theme logo adaptation and continuing the list of the top 50 events of the year, the staff carried the theme forward into the body of the book. The design repetition also reinforces the continuation of the theme.
A good theme presentation has a beginning, a middle and an end. The last pages of the book should finish the story of the year. By repeating the design format introduced in the beginning, the reader is alerted that these pages have a special significance. The Mascot used a reversed version of the opening spread, allowing the running list of the top 50 events of the year to end on the last page.