No way you say? Oh, friend, yes way.

Learn YBK

We asked.
You answered.
We took action.

Today’s yearbooks shouldn’t look like, or read like yesterday’s. Students demand new plotlines apart from what used to be told.

We welcome you to the industry’s newest and boldest instructional material.

Behind the new printed box-set curriculum, numbering almost 400 pages, and its companion digital classroom, you’ll discover wisdom from almost 30 of the industry’s leading yearbook minds, work of more than 100 staffs and trade secrets from our corporate creative collective consisting of award-winning former editors, advisers and consultants.

You’ll also see the perspective of 1,200 advisers who took part in the research of how they needed help facing changes in the educational landscape.

We take our role as educators’ educators seriously.


To be connected.

We like to think of the greater Herff Jones community as your yearbook compass. By connecting you with our reps and other advisers, we give you lifelines. By providing you with technical and customer support folks who are the best in the business, we give you safety nets. Either way, you’ll never yearbook alone.

To empower the storytellers.

We want students to have the right skills, the right tools and all the inspiration they need. We want them to know everyone has a story to tell and to feel emboldened to find and share those stories. Verbal. Visual. All the yearbook magic. Students should own it.

To yearbook intentionally.

Yearbooks are for everyone. There’s no perfect process, but there are plenty of awesome teachers who help kids make books of which they are proud. We want to equip you to be intentional about the product you produce. Every book should reflect the school it represents. Every yearbook program should thrive in its community.

What does any of this have to do with curriculum and the lesson plans your principal wants to see? Everything. Yearbook is more than ink on paper, just as your staffers are more than students, just as we are more than a printing company. How to Yearbook is curriculum with equal parts therapy session and uncensored rant built in.

We crafted a 12-volume set of lessons, skill-builders and activities — tiered as essentials, next level, expert — with the goal of making your life easier.


These are the building blocks of yearbook. If you teach nothing else, hit these highlights and get your book done. Cover the basics like theme, photo composition and designing with Square One™. Check out helpful hints and life hacks for selling books (section 11) and conquering club photos (section 10).


Complete the ideas presented in the basic material. If you’re ready to level up, take on these lessons and concepts with your staff. Push your photographers to tackle the manual mode on their cameras (section seven) or challenge your writers to ask more, and better, interview questions (section six).


The top-level activities capture best practices of standard-bearing staffs and break them into action items. For example, if you’re ready to include more alternative coverage schemes, see section five. Section eight features typography lessons and design lessons, so you can make your visual treatments and architecture more sophisticated.

Welcome to Herff Jones

This is where you start. If you are a new adviser. If you feel like you’re barely treading water. If you need a reminder you have a friend in HJ. Welcome to yearbook. Let’s get to work.

Teams and Leaders

Yearbook is an incubator for workplace and life skills. You will have editors and staffers, leaders and those they lead. Use these icebreakers, team-builders and skill-builders to ensure the right people are in the right positions. Make time to build a culture which attracts students to your staff.

Intro to Journalism

You have a classroom full of journalists. Always help them remember that. They need to know what they’re getting themselves into. We cover the basics of news literacy, the value of the free press and how the American press has arrived where it is today.

Theme and Voice

This is what makes a yearbook a yearbook. This is what scares staffers at summer workshops. This is what sets your book apart. Work through examples of well-developed themes and their voices. Then when you know what it takes, have students create their own theme packets.
It’s intuitive. Just tell the story.

Covering Your School

Everyone deserves to be remembered. Every story deserves to be told. But how do we find all those stories? We have you covered. It’s all about planning and executing. Knowing how you will tell the story of the year and then telling it.

Reporting and Writing

Face-to-face conversations lead to powerful journalistic reporting. You’ll need to write a few — okay, a few hundred — captions. And you’ll include some alternative copy mods — sometimes just a quote and a headshot. And we’ll teach you how. But when you’re ready for that longform story, we’ll walk you through the process.

Cameras and Photos

Everyone is a photographer! Sort of. We can all snap a shot for Instagram, but photographers who enter the yearbook room need to get ready to become part of the action. We cover the basics of composition and the process, then you’ll need to take this section and get to the real work — practicing until you find your shot.

Layout and Design

So, you’ve heard of Square One™ but you don’t really get it yet? We’ve got you. Walk step-by-step through our revolutionary, grid-based design technique that has changed the way yearbooks take shape. Then learn design and typography principles beginning designers need to know.

Tools of the Trade

Everything you need to learn about eDesign and InDesign are already online in the form of videos and walk-throughs. Plus, both are being updated constantly. Find them at The printed version of this section provides a quick reference guide to keyboard shortcuts and some tips from the experts.

People and Index

At the end of the day, you’re making a history book. This is the one permanent collection of your school year. Make sure you have the necessary information. And don’t worry, we have checklists, samples and templates galore.

Selling Your Book

The book only succeeds if people buy it. Don’t let those business-minded students pass on yearbook. Selling the book is everyone’s job, but it helps to have someone in charge. Follow our steps to stay on budget, promote the book and keep your class running like a business.

Words to know

The definitive list of words you’ll need when working on your yearbook. If you do nothing else with this collection of yearbooking knowledge, use this list as your go-to-guide. Plus, for advisers, this publication contains a reference to the Common Core, ISTE and P21 standards.
We made this section to make your job easier. You’re welcome.


Go to for all of the checklists and reproducible sheets you see in the printed curriculum. But wait, there’s more! Staff contracts and syllabuses, quizzes and PowerPoints, resources upon resources so you don’t have to break a sweat. Some live as PDFs while others are Word documents ready for you to personalize. Log in with your myHJyearbook credentials.