Lancaster Catholic HS

Tips for Picking a Yearbook Theme

Your yearbook theme is one of the biggest decisions you will make as a staff. Theme is the invisible string tying everything together. It is a cohesive package that yearbookers use to tell the story of the entire school year.


So, where do you start? Picking your theme can be a daunting task. You want to successfully represent your student body and tell their stories with a theme that can all be summed up into a few words, colors and fonts. Here are a few things to consider to guide your theme selection process.

  1. List descriptions of your school. Picture a student from another school coming to your campus. What are a few words that would come to their mind? How would they describe your campus and student body? What are the first things they would notice, hear or see?
  2. List things that will be new and different at your school this year. Are you building a new gym? Renovating the cafeteria? Hiring more staff members? Think about things that are happening NOW at your school that will surely affect the lens your student body experiences the year through.
  3. Think outside the “box.” What outside influences impact your school? Consider such things as technology, pop culture and social economic situations. Think about the types of headlines and news stories that catch your students’ attention. Was there a TikTok trend or community event that completely took over your conversations? Why do you think your students gravitated toward these types of stories? Pick something that resonates well with your audience, and run with it.
  4. Go beyond words. Once a verbal idea has been selected, students should look at social media pages, advertisements and websites to gather elements that would help develop the theme concept throughout the entire yearbook. Brainstorm a possible voice and tone that you think students at your school might relate to. Search for websites that use a similar voice and tone to promote their idea or product. What colors and fonts do they use? Does it add to their overall brand story? Consider how their strategy could fit your own theme development.
  5. Attend Workshops! When you go to a workshop, you are literally surrounded with expert yearbookers, inspired staffs, helpful sessions and direct, professional help with your theme. If you don’t have any local yearbook workshops near you, attend our free, virtual workshop streaming live from Orlando on July 10-12. Get together and host a watch party with your staff. As we all know, the best brainstorming sessions happen in collaboration with others. Register for free here. 
  6. Check out more Herff Jones Resources. has a listing of hundreds of theme ideas. Have students choose three or four ideas and explore how they could be adapted to your school this year and how they would promote the coverage of your campus. 

Get a downloadable PDF of more theme gathering ideas here.