Understanding Why Design Matters

By Mike Taylor, CJE

Teach fundamental yearbook design with this unit, including how to recognize good design elements, how to start a design from scratch, how to create a basic spread and the importance of packaging.


You have a theme. You even have a great cover. Now it’s time to figure out what goes on each page of your yearbook. Where to start?

Publication design is more than placing pictures on pages. It’s more than picking pretty fonts. It’s more than using green, “because it’s my favorite color.”

Good designers evolve and good design communicates. It draws the reader in, it enhances stories, it drives your well-chosen theme.

The timeline for this unit will be ongoing. Once you have mastered basic design principles, you will be introduced to more advanced design, leading you well on your way to communicating with design.

To get started, we need to look at the foundation for building an insightful eye for design by examining the following areas:

  • Observing the elements of good editorial design
  • Starting with a blank page
  • Creating a basic design
  • Understanding type
  • Creating a secondary coverage package

Mike Taylor, CJE

Mike Taylor, CJE, is a Journalism and Key Accounts Specialist for Walsworth Yearbooks. Mike came to Walsworth in 2011 after serving in a similar role with Balfour/Taylor Yearbooks. Mike is a well-known speaker and instructor at yearbook workshops and conventions, known for his creativity and energy. For Walsworth, Mike travels the country each year to meet with yearbook staffs and help them improve their program in all facets. For 13 years, Mike was the journalism adviser at Lecanto High School in Lecanto, Fla., where his publications staffs won numerous state and national awards. In recognition of his contributions to scholastic journalism, Mike has been awarded the JEA Medal of Merit, CSPA Gold Key and Florida Scholastic Press Association Gold Medallion.