As the unofficial school historians, the school yearbook staff must cover the events and moments of each year and tell the school’s story. Given the importance of each yearbook, the staff and advisor must take care to ensure the quality of the book. One way to provide cohesion and definition for the book is to develop a central theme throughout. The theme triggers the feelings and emotions as people look back on their yearbooks and recall their high school years.
Just like a school is defined by unique personalities and characteristics, a good yearbook theme will set the book apart and capture the uniqueness of the school year. During the early stages of yearbook creation, it is important to develop a great theme that will reflect the school year and the student body. However, when coming up with theme ideas, it might be difficult to nail down the perfect concept at first glance. There are many yearbook theme ideas out there, but you want to select an idea that is just right. Just as creating a brand is important for businesses, selecting a good theme will help brand the yearbook. Brainstorming and deliberating among the staff is one of the best ways to explore different theme possibilities. You might also seek out magazines and other publications to find inspiration. Good yearbook themes are both visual and verbal and relate directly to the school, the students, and the shared experiences around campus. The purpose of the theme is to set the tone for the story that the yearbook is going to tell. Let’s take a look at the idea of a well-developed yearbook theme.
What should a yearbook theme include?
A well-developed theme begins on the yearbook cover and is carried out across all pages and sections. Once you come up with a great theme idea, your yearbook cover idea will become apparent. Your theme should contain identifiers such as fonts, colors, shapes, patterns, and textures that you can use throughout the book. A specific font family should be used that can be modified with several variations. You might also consider how your school colors or mascot could fit your theme and be used.
Aside from the theme’s specifications, it is important that your concept is fun, gets students excited, and works with your content to tell a great story. A theme should include opportunities to bring in different points of view, highlight accomplishments, and tell several stories. Your theme should be sustainable across the entire book and inform the yearbook design. The best yearbook theme is recognizable, realistic, creative, and relevant.
How do you develop a yearbook theme?
The theme is one of the most important aspects of your yearbook because it is the vehicle you will use to deliver the content. A quality yearbook will do a great job developing the theme throughout the book and tying it back to student experiences. On the other hand, a yearbook that doesn’t stick to the theme can end up feeling chaotic and not purposefully designed. Once the yearbook staff has decided on a theme, it is essential to plan out how you will develop it throughout.
At a minimum, the yearbook theme should be incorporated on the cover and then again on the end sheets, title page, and section dividers. Ideally, you want to incorporate the theme on most pages and integrate it into the stories and student responses in the book. Readers should see the visual identifiers repeat throughout the book the help tie all sections together. Each theme presentation may not be the same, however, it should be clear when presented.
A school yearbook is a powerful tool that will serve as a permanent record of the memories and experiences of the year. When combined with great photography skills and copywriting, a well-planned and developed theme will help craft an unforgettable story.