Leadership and the Real World

Uniting the themes of recruiting new staffers and taking on challenges, here’s the second installment of EIC Live.


Meet the amazing Casey Medlin, who was a three-staff student journalist at Cape Fear Academy in Wilmington, N.C. You read that right — newspaper, lit mag and yearbook.

She’s a student at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and has some awesome things to say about how her former life as a student journalist gave her people skills and leadership experience that really does translate into her real-world career direction. She shares how she has applied her journalism skills in internships while attending college.

This one is a gem, not just for your current staffers but also for your future recruits.




Need to rewind? All of our Adviser Assistance emails are available on their own page.

Superstar Editors Have the Best Advice

Learn how great editors get the best coverage

If you or your staffers were unable to join our adviser or editor roundtables this fall, you missed some great conversations.

We hope you got our invites to our roundtable series this fall, but if you missed them, no worries. We are happy to share some of the highlights from the Editors in Convo series.

Our first installment on coverage comes from Edward Garcia, a former Coverage Editor from the Cayuse yearbook at Walnut High School in Walnut, California. Edward shares some great advice for tracking student coverage and ways to generate new story ideas.



Start Shaping Tomorrow’s Leaders Today


Start empowering next year’s leaders now

One of the most rewarding parts of advising is fostering leadership in young adults. It’s even better when you can convert a student who doesn’t see themself as a leader into a force of good in your yearbook space.

As your deadlines come and go, you are probably seeing some of those students move to the front of the pack and start to shine. Some of them will simply show you that they are organized and can keep cool under pressure. Another may raise her hand and tell you she is interested in a leadership position. So, take a minute and look around the room. And, while it’s your job to inspire and empower, your current leadership should also take on this noble calling. What a great set of leadership skills for them to learn, as well.



How do you make this happen? Here are some ideas:

1. Have your current, returning staffers fill out applications for the positions they want. You can use the resources in our curriculum in the Welcome section, including the Staff Interview Form and Job Application.

2. Plan interview appointments with every member of your staff. Start with returners and talk to them about their potential for advancement in their yearbook careers. For seniors and non-returners, treat them as exit interviews, where they have the opportunity to give you feedback on every aspect of the program. This is such an important career-readiness skill.

3. Treat the process of advancement as a business manager would. As homework, consider the EIC video series as a starting point for reflection — as deadline assignments ebb, these are a great way to get a grade in the gradebook.

4. Once new positions are chosen, make the training process part of your graded assignments. Mentorship sessions between outgoing and incoming leaders are an easy way to build relationships and teams.

Communication is key

This week’s Editors in Convo video features Madge Lister, a former editor from Casady School in Oklahoma City. She provides some great insight on maintaining open lines of communication on the yearbook staff. We can all take notes on Casady’s class organization and workflow, too.

Give it a few minutes.

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.

How To Sell More Yearbooks

Tiered pricing, discount codes, payment plans and more can help your staff sell more right now

Discounts can be a helpful tool for offering a sale to a specific group and for a short period of time. Be careful about spreading codes far and wide and keep sales windows tight. Check out this great resource about selling your book.

Here are five ways to put discount codes into action today.

    Provide codes to parents who attend a grade-level meeting or back-to-school night. Keep the window short: Give them 48 hours to purchase a discounted book using the code specific to their child’s grade. Ex. “MustangsYBK2025”
    Create a promo code for “free personalizations.” Set up a package that includes a name plate or other personalization and provide a discount code for buyers to take that amount off of their purchase.
    Start an early-bird senior ad special. Offer a promo code for submitting those ads by a specific date. For seniors who purchase a yearbook ad, give them a discount on buying their book — and earlier is always better.
    If your book is $70, which sounds better 10% off or $7 off? Consider the difference between using a percentage discount or a dollar amount. Our new discount codes feature in eBusiness can handle either version.
    Provide discount codes to businesses that would like to donate a book to an anonymous student. Reward their generosity with a discount.

Like these? Here’s a great handout with even more ideas.


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.)

Making It Your Own

Putting inspiration pieces to work in your yearbook

Decorated and dedicated yearbook adviser and advocate Mike Simons takes viewers on an impressively deep dive in his “Making It Your Own” session.

With numerous examples of professional work and how to use the “yearbook blender” effectively, he breaks down theme inspiration — both visual and verbal. Simons asks attendees to describe your theme like it’s a person. Those details should feed into your “pretty hunt.”

Steps for inspo success

Remember your final product should be an evolution — not a duplication.

  • Find inspiration everywhere. He lists several sites/sources in the video.
  • Copy the piece exactly. Seriously, like the whole thing.
  • Start tweaking. Keep going. Incorporate other theme elements. Change something else.
  • Make your final touches. And, don’t forget to print it out.

Six ways to make the design your own

  1. Color
  2. Typography
  3. Photo treatments
  4. Shape and design elements
  5. Type and photo packaging
  6. Coverage and mod ideas

Learn more about how to turn examples you like into designs (and components) that work for your book, your school, this year. Watch the video. (Don’t miss out: Link expires on Oct. 15.)

22 YBK coverage tips for 2022

What a great way to break down tricks for better storytelling. And, how to create a yearbook people will actually want to read.

Mike Simons helps you discover new and creative ways to get unique stories and coverage in your book. He is a decorated and dedicated yearbook adviser and advocate from Upstate New York — and he has some stories to tell.

From where you’ve been, to where you’re going, he steps through the process with intention. Simons recommends getting to know your “two most important people in the school” — front office person and head custodian. And, that’s just a taste.

Spoiler alert: He does make it through all 22 (even though it’s close).

Here are the first five

Don’t worry, you can view the rest in the full video.

  1. Take a look back: Check the last three years and look to avoid repetitive feature coverage.
  2. Get organized: Are traditional sections for you? What makes sense for the year?
  3. Host a roundtable: Gather. Talk. Record.
  4. Look and listen: You should have the pulse of the school community. Be a creep — appropriately.
  5. Take a hike: What do you hear, see, smell?

Learn more about these great tips for better story leads and angles in your book. Watch the video. (Don’t miss out: Link expires on Oct. 15.)

Designing your yearbook ladder

Your coverage style should inform your structure

Whether you’re new to yearbook, or a new editor, Carrie Faust has some ladder pro tips to share. She’s been doing this YBK thing for a while and has lots of accolades to prove it.

First things first: What’s your coverage plan?

Types of coverage plans

Your content should lead your ladder.

  • Traditional: Topic-based ladder designed at the beginning of the year and doesn’t change.
  • Chronological: Time-based ladder is based on the calendar and allows for evolving school year.
  • Umbrella/Concept: Theme-based ladder is based on exploration and allows for complete customization throughout the year.

Faust’s staff has been using Chrono for years and stands behind it as a coverage technique. She’s also quick to praise Umbrella for being smart — but acknowledges it can be daunting for new advisers and staffs.

She says the planning should start on paper, then move to the computer whether it’s Google Drive or eDesign to put the pieces into place.

Finding coverage balance

Once you remove the ads, index and theme pages, break up the following pages like Faust recommends.

  • Student Life (25 percent)
  • Academics (15 percent)
  • Clubs/Activities (10 percent)
  • Sports (15 percent)
  • People (25 percent)

Advance Your Yearbook Theme

Find your story and tell it — with both your visual and verbal.

Rockstar yearbook advisers from perennial award-winning programs, Carrie Faust and Mike Simons take some time to talk pandemic probs before diving into what makes a theme tick. Covid shaped 2020-21, and yearbook themes reflected that fact.

Parts of a solid theme

Don’t forget to use various techniques to drive home your theme visually and verbally.

  • Voice
  • Perspective
  • Look
  • Tone
  • Feel
  • Coverage
  • Vibe
  • Features

The order of theme

Seriously, start with the voice then move to the vision.

  1. Story: What are you going to say?
  2. Words: How will you say it?
  3. Pretty: How will you show it?

After touching on finding a theme, the duo shows off a college look book for inspiration. They can’t stress enough how good these pieces are because they target the same readers you do with your yearbook.

Later, they break down a few different examples, including Del Norte High School’s 2021 book because of how well the staff handled their theme.

See what makes a concept strong and take a deep dive into more themes to understand what makes them such powerful unifiers. Watch the video. (Don’t miss out: Link expires on Oct. 15.)