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12 Creative Yearbook Layouts You Can Copy

August 3, 2020
2 MINUTES
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Danica Popovic

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Yearbook layout design should fit your yearbook theme and help you tell your story in a visually interesting way. Some of these great examples can help you with that.

Gone are the days when school yearbooks looked like awkward family albums. Good graphic design has become an important consideration in creating yearbooks—from photo editing to making sure each page layout works to support the overall yearbook theme.

If you’re not sure what would work for your school, we suggest you consider the following yearbook layout ideas.

Magazine layout design

We already said that yearbooks used to be poorly designed and tacky. A stylish magazine layout means subverting this traditional expectation to create a beautiful keepsake. Yearbook spreads look stunning when they mimic the style of high-end magazines, without compromising on authenticity thanks to real-life student photos.

There are great yearbook templates available online in this style, but don’t forget to make it your own. Use a color palette that matches your school’s signature colors or mix things up by combining several yearbook fonts.

1. Minimalist Yearbook Design

This yearbook template is available for purchase on Creative Market, but it also makes a great piece of design inspiration. The great thing about this layout is that it allows you to use a variety of different photos. Chances are most high school students have pretty impressive Instagram portfolios by now, so make sure you play that to your advantage and include different snaps that capture the everyday student life.

minimalist yearbook layout.png

2. Lake Wales High School

This is a great real-life example of successful page design in a magazine-style. The pictures and mods (short text accompanying the picture) are well balanced to make yearbook spreads look accessible and appealing. This example achieves great visual coherence through colors: all the pictures chosen for this yearbook spread are heavy in orange and green.

lake wales yearbook layout.jpg

3. Corona del Sol High School

This HJ Yearbook Discoveries spread is a particularly useful reminder of how you can combine different photos to achieve the desired look. It goes without saying that using stock photography over real-life student memories is unacceptable. However, as much as the photos are genuine, sometimes the quality is below par. A magazine yearbook layout is a good way to tackle this issue. Combine lower quality photos with longer mods and use high-quality ones for a full-page spread.

corona del sol high school yearbook

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Professional minimalist yearbook pages

High school students often like to be perceived as older than they are. If you want to show the world you’re ready to take on the next step as young adults, skip the hashtags and the emojis, and instead try to come up with a design layout that’s clean and elegant, like some of the examples below.

4. NCFA 2014 Yearbook

You might be surprised to learn that this glossy yearbook spread comes from a college fantasy football league. Nevertheless, it’s a great testament to the power of simplicity. Indeed, it could just as well be a professional sports team’s yearbook. This type of style is great to consider with relaying information like your school history, class achievements in numbers, or stats.

ncfa yearbook layout.jpg By Doug Houvener

5. reAnimania Festival Yearbook

Another great photography hack is making your yearbook photos black and white. This will help you achieve a coherent visual look and can be a great way to include photos of lower quality. It will also help give your yearbook design a more professional note. In this creative festival example, black and white photos are paired with a professional color palette and the result is a creative and sharp festival log.

reanimation festival yearbook layout.jpg By Anoush Igityan

6. Faculty of Graphic Arts ASP Gdansk

Graphic designers know better than anyone the great visual impact of simplicity. This example uses geometric shapes to create a crisp page layout that allows the visual content to stand out. It’s a great piece of yearbook design inspiration for crisp and bold title pages. If you opt for magazine layout design, this kind of style can help you organize your yearbook better and place focus on where you want it to be.

faculty of graphic arts asp gdansk yearbook layout.jpg By Jorge Sousa

Modern scrapbook yearbook ideas

Well-known yearbook publishing tools like Herff Jones Yearbooks, Jostens and Walsworth Yearbooks are great places to find inspiration on this type of yearbook layouts.

Scrapbook style is somewhat tricky, as it can be difficult to strike the perfect balance between a genuine DIY look and a yearbook design that actually looks good.

7. Yearbook concept

This yearbook layout idea is a terrific source of inspiration if you like the fun, eclectic style of scrapbooks or travel logs. There are lots of different materials you can use to showcase what student life is all about: from ticket stubs for school plays and memories from class trips to handwritten notes you exchanged in class. If you opt for this kind of style make sure you’ve got a rigorous selection process in place to ensure that the overall design works as a whole. Also, beware of cluttered designs that may obstruct the visibility of things like page numbers.

scrapbook yearbook concept.jpg By Michelle Deborah

8. Whitmer High School

This extremely fun high school yearbook pairs the school’s signature colors with a nice, scrapbook style. If you’re part of the yearbook staff team, it’s a great idea to ask students to produce quotes and notes that you can reproduce in the final design, using diverse typography for a more genuine look.

whitmer high scholl yearbook layout.png By Courtney Coman

9. Sticky notes high school yearbook

The versatility of this fun style makes it a great option for both elementary and middle school yearbooks. You can make the page layout as playful or as serious as you want by using different typography, illustrations and stickers. This yearbook spread has freshmen’s goals for high school, but instead of large blocks of text, the scrapbook design makes everything look more interesting and authentic.

sticky notes yearbook layout.jpg Pinterest

Yearbook pages with illustrations

It’s hard to imagine a yearbook without photos, but photos alone can make the design seem a little boring. There are plenty of yearbook templates readily available on Google and online yearbook publishing tools, however they probably won’t give your yearbook layout the most exciting and unique look.

If you want to go the extra mile, we suggest adding custom illustrations to your yearbook pages. These can also be a great way to make your yearbook cover design truly unique.

Don’t forget: our free illustration gallery is a great resource to help you zhuzh up any yearbook layout on a budget!

10. Clipart page design

Illustrations are a natural choice for any elementary schools and preschools, but I love this example in particular as it uses illustrations to suggest that these young children are one day going to be adults with important jobs and big responsibilities!

clipart yearbook layout (1).jpg By Lori Mc Donough

11. KJ Somaiya College of Engineering

This impressive project is a collaboration between 3 designers who wanted to give the 2020 generation of KJSCE students a nicer memento of their graduation year (since the COVID19 pandemic disrupted most graduation ceremonies). Not only is the color scheme truly stunning, this yearbook idea features impressive yearbook spreads, including student photo pages and even simple content and title pages. It’s truly unique thanks to these wonderful illustrations that accompany student quotes.

kj somayia college of engineering yearbook layout.png By Amanbeer Singh Khanduja, Kshitij Shah, Hunaid Nagaria

12. Rhodes Island School of Design Yearbook

You’d expect this school’s yearbook to deliver in terms of great graphic design, and it does. This beautiful yearbook is exciting to read as there are several different page layouts. It uses full page photos for a more dramatic look and different styles of illustrations to accompany the text. Again, the color scheme is your friend as this eclectic and wonderful example shows with a simple three-color palette.

risd yearbook layout.png By Barron Webster and Jonathan Rinker

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Danica Popovic

August 3, 2020

Having lived and studied in London and Berlin, I'm back in native Serbia, working remotely and writing short stories and plays in my free time. With previous experience in the nonprofit sector, I'm currently writing about the universal language of good graphic design. I make mix CDs and my playlists are almost exclusively 1960s.