Modern design trends: Yearbook edition

The energetic and caffeinated Dan Mueller jumps right in with countless examples of graphic design inspiration. It all comes back to story and how you convey that visually.

Depth in design is Mueller’s favorite thing. He repeats it early and often that it’s all about depth — or layers. And don’t get him started on pull quotes…

Four ways to step up your type game

Vary these elements within your theme look to create contrast in typography.

  1. Size
  2. Color
  3. Font
  4. Case

He has some great tips about cutouts and the amazing background remover tool now available in Canva via eDesign.

After showing off tons of great yearbook work from the past year, Mueller does a PSA for Flipster and reveals some professional work. Magazines are great sources of inspo for yearbook. It could be as big as a feature or as small as a mod.

Be inspired by yearbook spread designs from across the country — and learn what makes them fresh. Watch the video.

Typography in yearbook design

Tell your school’s story with type 

Self-appointed font queen and all-around outstanding yearbook adviser Carrie Faust gets pumped for letter forms. After starting with “wooooh” she defines the terms surrounding typography.

Make sure to stay tuned until the very end of the video for some very cool inspo spreads.

Typography is by definition artistic. Faust says type should be designed just as much as other elements of the theme.

Spend time with it. Convey the message. Speak to the content.

Parts of type

Faust says to find the font poster in your kit and teach it to your staff.

  • Ascender
  • Baseline
  • Cap height
  • Counter
  • Descender
  • Set width
  • X-height

Types of type

It’s all about that serif. Carrie really breaks these down in the video.

  • Oldstyle
  • Sans serif
  • Modern
  • Slab serif
  • Script/Handwritten
  • Decorative/Novelty

She recommends locking down the “punk freshman” with only a couple font families. And, Faust talks about choosing contrasting type for display and mod headlines.

Fonts can make or break your book. You’ll be able to distinguish the different types of fonts, learn theories about how many fonts should appear in your book, and see how typography can drive your design. Watch the video. (Don’t miss out: Link expires on Oct. 15.)

Themespiration

Themespiration

Finding theme ideas was probably one of my favorite activities to do with yearbook staffs because there are viable theme ideas literally everywhere but you do need a trained “eye” to find the perfect one so let’s do a quick review before we start our hunt.

A theme is a verbal statement with visual cues that help to tell the story of your school for a particular year. It needs to be relevant and relatable to your students and community and should appear on the cover, endsheets (if you print on them), title page, opening section, dividers and closing section. Elements of the theme may appear throughout the book in the folios or as graphics on pages.

Types of themes you may want to consider are as follows:

  • Anniversary
  • School Initials
  • School Colors
  • School Mascot  
  • School Location
  • School Name
  • Event
  • Fun
  • Pride
  • Reaction
  • Change
  • Double-Edged
  • Contemplative
  • Conceptual

Once you’ve decided on the type of theme that would work best for you, you can turn your attention to finding the perfect visual phrases and graphic ideas to help convey it. One of my very favorite places to start is on Pinterest and specifically on the Herff Jones Yearbooks Dream Your Theme board and the Inspiring Yearbooks board. And, if there aren’t enough ideas there, you’ll definitely want to check out Ideas that Fly. The examples in Ideas That Fly are all great because they are tested, tried and true themes, but if you want to challenge yourselves a bit more, you might want to page through magazines online at zinio or at your local Barnes and Noble bookstore to find other verbal/visual ideas that stand out and can be adapted to your school easily.

And, just like you can find design ideas everywhere as evidenced in this post, theme ideas are there for the taking so long as you keep your school’s special character in mind when you choose.

Where is the most unique place that you have found a theme for your yearbook? Tell us in the comments below.