Summer Tips for yearbooks

15 Jul

Another school year is over. Time to take a well-deserved break but don’t forget to start thinking about next year’s book.
Once school begins the clock will be ticking. A couple of things that can be done over the Summer to prepare:

1. Gather old photographs or other content from everyone you know. With all the time off, it might be the perfect opportunity to root around in people’s attics or research the school’s history online or in their archives.

2. Take beautiful/ arty photographs of your school while the sun is shining and all is quiet.

3. Get some fun holiday time snaps to put into the book. There may not be another opportunity to do this as everyone will be busy in Winter.

4. Check out prices from printers, etc. This is their off-season so it might be easier to negotiate when they aren’t as busy.

5.Start your inspiration collection. As you read magazines while sun-bathing, don’t forget to look at layouts and get ideas. Keep anything you find interesting so you can have a collection when the school year starts.

6. Start a blog about the yearbook to get the students excited about it. Email everyone and ask people to sign up for positions on the committee. People always think they’ll get involved with things “next year” so ask them while they’re not so busy.


St Patricks Special- Yearbook Quotes

15 Mar

Seachtain na Gaeilge (March 5th -17th) is the Irish language week that is so popular, it doesn’t even fit into a week. In its honour, I present an Irish quotes special that you can use in your yearbook to give a touch of Irish charm. Some can be used to sign off and some as quotations or titles for your yearbooks.


Cúpla Focal

 Slán- goodbye / farewell

 Slán go fóill mo chara- Farewell my dear friend

Slán Seán- Goodbye Seán (slang for goodbye)

Slán agus beannacht leat- Goodbye and blessings on you

Saol fada chughat- Long life to you

Go raibh míle maith agat- Thanks a million

Go raibh míle Síle- Thanks a million Sheila (taken from go raibh míle maith agat)

Cuimhnigh i gconaí- Always remember

Thar gach ní eile- Above all else

Tá tú go hiontach- You are great

Grá – Love

Chairdeas- Friendship

Grá go deo- Love forever

Dílseacht- Loyalty

Proverbs/  Quotes


May you live as long as you want, and never want as long as you live.

May the sun shine, all day long, everything go right, and nothing wrong. May those you love bring love back to you, and may all the wishes you wish come true! 

May you have the hindsight to know where you’ve been, the foresight to know where you are going, and the insight to know when you have gone too far.

May you never forget what is worth remembering, nor ever remember what is best forgotten.

Be kind to those that meet you as you rise, you may pass them again as you fall.

You’ve got to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather was.

Remember if you lose all, keep your good name as without that you are worthless.

Promoting your Yearbook to Increase Sales

24 Feb

Promoting your yearbook is an important part of the yearbook committee’s role.

To get the maximum amount of sales students and parents need to be excited about the yearbook and want to buy it.

Get people involved.

People are more likely to buy a yearbook that they were involved with creating.

Have a contest to design the front cover where the winning design goes onto every book.

Give them what they want.

The best way of ensuring sales is to give people what they want in the yearbook.

Ask students what they want in the book through a survey. Give a sneak preview.

Take photographs of the finished product, some of the most interesting pages or the cover

and release as a sneak preview, either on a poster advertising the book or online.

Think of a slogan.

Come up with a slogan that you can use in every part of your campaign.

Something short and catchy works best. If people are saying it around school or

if you hear someone say they are sick of it- it’s working! Examples of slogans could be to take the lyrics from Green Day “For what it’s worth it was worth all the while”- Put WORTH and WHILE in capitals to show how worthwhile buying the yearbook is.

Make posters.

Make posters advertising your book- you could include a spread, photo or a photograph or stick to your slogan.

Make sure you tell people where and when it will be available.

yearbook poster

Get the school staff to help you.

The school will already have a number of systems in place to tell students, staff and parents about things.

Find out what these are and ask if you can use them to promote your yearbook.

The school may have a calendar of events that each student receives.

Set the date of your sale and publish it in the school diary. You will have to do this early.

Tell parents.

Parents are the people who will be likely to pay for the yearbook and who will want the student to have it in years to come.

The school may have a mailing/ text list of parents that you can access to send information about your book to parents.

You could send home a letter with the Christmas results or set up a stall at a parent-teacher meeting.

Tell the students.

blackboard with yearbook slogan

There are many ways to tell the students about the yearbook.

You could go to every classroom in the evening after school or at lunch time and write your slogan and details on the board.

You could ask permission to go to each class and promote your yearbook and take orders.

A great way of knowing that you have reached everybody is to speak at assembly.

Remember to prepare what you are going to say and be excited about the book yourself.

Ask the secretary to announce the details on the intercom every day of the week your yearbooks go on sale.

Set up a stall.

Ask permission to set up a stall at lunchtimes where people can place orders.

You could get t-shirts made for each member of the committee with your slogan.

This way, students will know where to go and who to ask for orders.

Use social networking sites.

Why not create a funny movie promoting your yearbook and post it on youtube?

This is an example of someone using youtube to promote his business. For more search for “the hop inn” on youtube.

He is promoting a bar, but you can use the sane idea. Have fun with it.

You can use facebook and twitter to keep people interested in your yearbook progress and production.

You could post the images from the yearbook and tag the people in them or give a sneak preview to create interest.

10 Tips to make your yearbook presentation great

16 Feb

10 Tips to make your yearbook presentation great.


1. Make it special.

2. Make it meaningful.

3. Make it relevant to the year.

4. Have a presentation ceremony.

5. Think of the yearbook as a product.

6. Add something else to it.

7. Personalise each book.

8. Be environmentally friendly.

9. Use social media.

10. Get publicity.

Some ideas…

1. Make your yearbook something that people will love to receive.

Present your yearbook in a presentation box with little gifts/sweets. You could add memorabilia of the year to your box.

2. Present the yearbook in a school memories folder.

This could include a copy of the school play programme, a copy of the final year exam papers, a contact list for all of the students. Use your imagination and make it meaningful.

3. Add a music CD.

Maybe your school has a school band or an excellent music class or choir. As a part of your presentation, you could produce a showcase CD of original school music. You could also use a CD with the best of the year chart music to bring back great memories of the year- beware of copyright laws if you choose to use copyrighted music- you may need to ask permission and credit the artists.

4. Add a multimedia CD/DVD.

You could include a DVD with the photo files from the yearbook or the photos that haven’t made it. You could use a simple programme such as Windows Movie Maker to make theses photos into a slide show DVD that the students can watch at home on their TV or computer. You could alsoask students to submit their video files from their cameras with their yearbook submissions and add these to a special edition yearbook DVD.

5. Package your yearbook.

You could package your yearbook like a product. There are many cheap ways to make a product look special. Use your imagination or ask someone who has an interest in crafts for some ideas- have a look in your local craft shop to see what they have- pretty papers, beads, ribbons, etc.

Idea: use the plastic sealable bags used by photographers (available in every good art supply store)
Get a bag that fits the yearbook’s width.
Place the yearbook inside- you can add something extra to the bag if you wish.
Fold the bag neatly at the back and seal.
Tape a paper ribbon bow to the top left corner at the front.
Add a sticker to the back of the package with the name of the student.

6. Personalise it.

Try to make your book personal to each student that receives it. You could do this in many ways.

Idea: make a book jacket that is individual for each recipient.

Have a general grid but feature the student’s yearbook photo as the main image on the personal book jacket. Remember that it is more expensive to get different designs printed by your printer than many of the same, you could ask about using the printing facilities at the school to do this yourself or you could print a general jacket with your printer and stick on the personalised image.

Idea: have a scheduled book signing.

Label each book at the signing and allow friends to sign each other’s book and it will be filled with personal messages when the student receives it. Make sure that if you do something like this that students are aware that if any inappropriate messages are included, the cost of new books will be added to the price each person pays.

Another way is to design a sticker with the student’s name to add to the packaging.

7. Have a presentation ceremony.

Use the ceremony to get people excited about the yearbook. Invite parents, teachers and students. Make it fun by having it as an awards ceremony. Collect nominations before the ceremony and annouce the winners on the night. The finalists and winners can be printed in the yearbook.

8. Be environmentally friendly.

Think of ways to be good to your environment when producing your yearbook. This can be using local printers and suppliers or publishing your yearbook onlineas a website or in a pdf format which is emailed or put onto a CD for each student.

9. Use social media.

Set up a fan page on facebook and get followers on twitter. You can use these platforms to show sneak previews or add photos that will appear in the yearbook. Tag people to let them know they will be featured. You can also add videos of production or just update your status so people know how it’s going. You can take orders online or through a dedicated email address. If you supply these links with your yearbook, extra copies can be ordered orpeople can comment on the final product.

10. Get publicity.

Use your local press to get some publicity for your yearbook. Ask someone who is involved and who is good at writing to write an article for the local press. Good news stories are always welcome. Perhaps students as entrepreneurs would be an angle to use. Be creative and ask everyone- someone might just say yes. Use this publicity to promote your yearbook within the school and beyond its borders.

Yearbook Controversy and 14 tips to avoid it

18 Jan

Yearbook Controversy

and how to avoid it

No-one wants to end up on the news or in court because of their yearbook being involved in controversy. This is why avioding controversy is something that should be carefully considered by the yearbook committee.

What to watch?

There are many ways that a yearbook can cause controversy.Photos, text, topics, polls are examples of where offending material can turn up in your yearbook content. Basically all content needs to be carefully examined and proofed for offensive material.

Examples include a quote from hitler being included in one American yearbook which hit the news, or photos of students making offensive hand gestures,one yearbook team got in hot water for not allowing a girl to pose for her yearbook photo in a tuxedo.

What you don’t want.

  • Alcohol
  • Drugs
  • Inappropriate hand gestures
  • Swearing
  • References to teen sex
  • Comments on sexuality of students
  • Bullying in any form
  • Derogatory comments about staff/ other students
  • Inappropriate clothing in images
  • T-shirts with inappropriate slogans
  • Copyrighted material
  • Any material showing prejudice towards race, religion, sexuality, gender, etc.
  • Illegal behaviour
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Anything that compromises the reputation of the school

How to avoid this.

1. Create a school policy that details what is and is not acceptable for inclusion in the yearbook. Ask each person who submits material to sign this policy and to accept all legal responsibility if any material has been knowingly submitted by them. This will put most people off, but not everybody. Include that the committe has the final say in what is included.

2. Look carefully at every piece of text submitted. Take care to check for hidden messages/ anagrams that spell words for example poems where the first letter from each line spells an obscenity. Look out for references to teachers and watch for repeated material across the yearbook- this may point to bullying.

3. Examine photographs submitted by students that may have a hidden agenda, for example t-shirt slogans, hand gestures, dress codes in what can be a seemingly innocent picture.

4. Look at artwork closely. There was a case where artwork in a yearbook, when turned upside down revealed a scribble offending the school.

5. Be sensitive to issues of students for example deaths of students or pregnancies. Deal with these issues in a sensitive and non-offensive way. It is great to remember students that have passed on in your yearbook, but make sure that it is not going to upset their family or friends.

6. In sections such as ‘most likely to…’ watch out for inappropriate comments or ‘the worst…’

7. Find out if material you are using is copyrighted/trademarked or if it is the public domain/royalty free. This could be logos, symbols, images or even photographs taken by a photographer. If unsure, email the company and request permission explaining what you are using it for,or omit the material altogether.

8. Get students to submit section about themselves rather than about other students. This means that any reference to themselves will have come from them and is less likely to offend. It also means that they will be remembered how they wish and not how others see them.

9. Proof it yourself first and then hand it to someone else to proof without telling them what you noticed and then compare notes.

10. Trust your gut. If you are unsure about something, ask yourself how might it be controversial, and how could it affect people. If this could be negativein any way, omit the material or ask someone you trust for advice.

11. If you are a student and you are happy with the material, ask a teacher to look over the material and vet it giving them the final say.

12. Get a hard-copy proof from your printer/ publisher and agree that mistakes can be rectified at this stage. A soft-copy proof is ok, but mistakes are much more obvious in a hard-copy proof. When the final yearbook is printed, it’s too late to change any errors and you might stand to lose your entire budget if you notice something controversial.

13. If you do notice on delivery that there is material likely to offend or be controversial, deal with it, ask the opinion of the principal and even if it means binning the entire yearbook, and starting again, it’s better than a lawsuit.

14. Try to educate students on why it is important to uphold high standards in this regard. Ask them to think about showing the book to their grandchildrenand how would want to be remembered. It may be useful to bring up exapmles of the negative effects of controversy for the students involved in other cases.

Remember that people get angry when their names are spelled incorrectly so try to imagine how angry people will be if they find offensive material printed about them.
All of this is not intended to scare you off yearbooks, but to advise you to be careful before publishing any material that will become available to the public. A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself if you have been as careful as possible with regard to included material and as long as you are confident that you have tried not to knowingly or willingly offend anyone. Freedom of speech should be encouraged amongst students as long as it is reasonable and ethical.

Yearbook Layout tips

6 Jan

Yearbook Layout tips

to give your book a professional feel

Layout is how you arrange your elements- text, photos, illustrations, etc. on your pages. Sometimes, it can be daunting to start with a blank canvas and know where to go. The temptation is there to ‘throw’ everything you have onto the page and move on to the next one. This is not a very good idea as the yearbook you end up with will look amateur and careless. The good news is that it is easy to create professional looking layout by following a few simple guidelines.


A great way to start with your layout is to create a grid. If you are using computer software, there is usually a facility to create a grid or you could just draw a grid onto graph paper and begin laying out your pages.

Using a Grid

You can set up a basic grid: three columns, five rows for example. From this grid, you can then try to place your elements within this grid. Remember to leave a gutter/margin between each grid area. Some elements, for example imagery may take up four sections of your grid while others may take up just one. You may decide to leave certain sections free of content.

Rule of Thirds

A basic rule in design is what is known as the rule of thirds. Divide your page into three either vertically or horizontally and aim to keep elements within this division. This gives the page a pleasing look in comparison with a symmetrical grid divided into two.


Remember that each page is part of a spread, not an individual element so be sure to design your pages with the spreads in mind. It is an idea to design your pages as spreads instead of pages. This will make the overall look of the book easier to read and more connected.

White Space

Ensure that you have enough space around blocks of text, images, etc. Try not to have the page cluttered. Sometimes leaving extra space around an object gives it importance and draws the eye towards it. It always a good idea to leave lots of space between elements. Don’t be afraid to use large margins or spaces, as they will help to de-clutter the page.


Make the most important elements bigger. The biggest item on the page is seen as the most important by the reader. Use size to show the readers what you want to emphasise.


Group items together. If images are of the same thing, put them together. Put captions close to the images so the connection can be easily made. It is of no usr to have a caption that people don’t know what it refers to.


Try to come up with a heading that is interesting and grabs attention. As the heading will be larger than the rest of the text, it will be the first thing that people read. It must make you want to read on. Try to give more than one word headings. You can also use sub-headings to explain the main headings further.


Only use a maximum of two different font types per spread. Otherwise the spread will look cluttered and confusing. Leave a good amount of line spacing in blocks of text. This will make it easier to read. Blocks of text should not have long lines stretching the length of the page. Use your grid to create smaller columns of text that will be easier on the eye.

Get inspired

Become a collector of magazines and other layouts that you like. Tear out anything that inspires you and create a layout book by gluing in bits and pieces that you find. If you look at magazines, you will see that they have short length lines, well-structured grids and there is plenty of white space. You will also find that there is usually just one key point to each page. Learn from them and try to imitate their style in your yearbook.

Be Creative

Be creative with your layouts. Creativity and exploration are vital to create impressive yearbooks. Try things out a number of different ways before deciding on the final layout.

Yearbook Photos: Taking your own group shots

9 Dec

Yearbook Photos: Taking your own group shots

 If you can’t afford to hire a professional photographer to take the formal photographs for your yeargroup/ classgroup, ask a teacher or a student from a different year that has an interest in photography if they could do it for you.

The Sun/ Lighting

The important thing here is to try to arrange the photograph for a bright day, so that you don’t have to worry about indoor lighting. If this is the option you choose, a general rule of thumb is to have the sun behind you when you take the picture so that you don’t have glare of the sun on your print. Count the number of positions across the front row and place the camera in the centre position to get a centred picture.

Setting Up

When setting up the group photograph, try to count how many students will be pictured together before calling them for the sitting. That way you can have it set up and there will be the minimum of fuss when the students are called. Remember that you can have people kneeling, sitting, standing, standing on chairs and standing on tables. If there is a small group, only use chairs and not tables and arrange the group to look even. Tall people go at the back and shorter people go at the front. Check how it looks in the viewfinder and make any changes necessary before taking the final shots.

Crowd Control

Try to control the students. Ask a teacher to help you by telling students to be quiet or to fix their uniform etc. They may not listen to another student unless a teacher is present. It’s always handy to have someone there with the camera-person, they might notice things that the camera-person would not be focussed on. Make jokes or ask them to smile. It’s always better when people are smiling in photographs. Watch out on your screen for people who moved during the shoot or people with their eyes closed as these will show as big flaws when you print the pictures. This is where taking more shots will help.


Make sure to have a back up battery or a spare camera just in case. This is also useful if something happens to one set of photos, you will always be able to use your back up. Teachers and students are busy and will not appreciate being asked to do a second sitting.

Go For Perfection A Few Times

Always snap a couple of shots even if you think one of them was perfect. When you put it onto your screen at home, there may be something that wasn’t so perfect after all! Don’t forget the resolution- the higher the better. Even if it looks good on the camera screen, when a picture is printed on paper, it will be very obvious if it was taken at a low resolution. You can always make it smaller afterwards on your software but you can never make it bigger so if you are unsure use the highest resolution on your camera. If the person taking the pictures knows a lot about photography, they can use the manual settings on the camera, if not auto will suffice, but ensure to take a good look at the screen to make sure they look right. Now isn’t the time to learn manual if you don’t already know it.

Take All of Your Photos

Use the opportunity to take all of the photographs that you require for the yearbook. Especially if the sun is shining! If you want an informal group photograph, you can take the formal photograph first and follow with the informal photograph with the students in the same positions. You can then put the students into smaller class groups or teams or line up for individual photographs before sending them back to class. If it is a mixed school, you may want to take a photograph of all of the girls together or just the boys. This is also a good opportunity to take the all important shot of the yearbook committee that will go with your welcome/thank you article. If you are including a teacher section, you can take the photos for this too. If there are a large amount of teachers and you want to take a group shot, you will need to have arranged this well in advance so that classes can be maintained or so that teachers can stay for the after-school shoot. Individual teacher pictures can be arranged with their permission.

Capture the Moment

While you are taking formal photos, it is always a good idea to capture any moments that you see on the day, for example, students talking to each other during set up, messing with teachers or any natural moments.


Don’t forget when you are processing the pictures that you can try them in black and white, sepia, crop them, or split them into sections. Don’t be afraid to mess around with your images but always save the original.