Tips, Tricks, and Inspiration for a Great Yearbook Design

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9 Yearbook Design Examples to Get Inspired by
Print design

#Book covers

9 Yearbook Design Examples to Get Inspired by

Print design
May 3, 2022
5 minutes

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Gone are the days when yearbooks looked like awkward family photo albums. Yearbook design is a thing, and the options are endless. Tell last year’s story in a visually appealing way and solidify memories for years to come.

From your yearbook layout to the overall theme, graphic design plays a vital role in creating a book full of memories. A couple of pictures of seniors and some quotes slapped together aren’t going to cut it anymore.

Between typography, an attention-grabbing cover, and all the other visual elements a yearbook comprises, it’s only natural that you feel a bit overwhelmed.

Are you drawing a blank when thinking of how to design a yearbook? If you’re not sure what would work for your school, don’t fret. Let’s go over some yearbook design ideas and fill your head with inspiration.

How to design a yearbook cover

The cover of your yearbook design is the first impression people will get. You probably know the saying: don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, the fact is that many people do judge a book by its cover.

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A good cover is essential to make your yearbook stand out. However, an overcrowded design isn’t the solution. Here are some tips on how to design a yearbook cover:

  • You can mix and match design elements as long as you decide on a hierarchy. Enlarge what is important to show the main elements instantly.
  • Don’t put too much text on the cover. It will only distract from the design, and text-wise, everything is already inside the book.
  • Remember the design of the spine. Once placed on a bookshelf, it is the only thing you see.
  • Make sure your cover complements your overall yearbook design. You can use a similar color palette or other stylistic elements throughout.

Yearbook cover examples

The cover of your yearbook sets the tone for what’s to come. Let’s have a look at some examples that nailed their cover design:

1. Seoul National University

This graduation catalog from Seoul National University is a fantastic yearbook design example of how to keep things minimal. The deep blue color will make it pop on any bookshelf. However, the design doesn’t distract from the primary information.

seoulnationaluniversity.jpg

On the cover, each of the graduates’ names is displayed. The year, title, and website are prominently displayed, as well as the logo on the spine. You don’t need further information, as you can find the rest inside the yearbook.

2. USC School of Pharmacy

Want to keep things a bit more playful? How about illustrating the cover? This cover illustration design by Michelle Chang Wengrod for the USC School of Pharmacy shows the possibilities an illustrated cover holds.

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It illustrates the journey of the class of 2012 and displays a fun quote. The title of the school is incorporated in the illustration itself. Other than that, the information has been kept to a minimum to emphasize the illustration itself.

3. Eastlake Highschool Talon

There is always a happy medium if you don’t feel much for a minimalistic or playful style. This stunning cover for Eastlake High school Talon has fun colors and an illustration, but is toned down compared to our previous example.

The illustration shows the school itself. Bright orange is used for the spine and the borders surrounding the illustration, making sure the yearbook design stands out.

4. Louise Arbour Secondary School

Not too confident about your illustration skills? Of course, you can always use pictures instead. Like Sandeep Gill did for the Louise Arbour Secondary School yearbook design.

louisearbour.jpg

This fun cover showcases students and various moments of their time at school. It’s a great example of how to involve pictures in your design. The designer used filters that are similar in style and the same shape for each picture, making them seamlessly blend.

5. Marble Falls High School

Remember we mentioned keeping the spine in mind? The last example of yearbook design ideas for a cover incorporates the spine in the design. Coby Lusinger used colorful geometric shapes that dictate the cover and splay onto the spine.

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This idea is simple to execute since you don’t need photographs or illustrations. It’s composed of geometric shapes, which, as long as you have a solid color palette, any design rookie can make.

How to design a yearbook spread

When it comes to designing a yearbook spread, there aren’t any rules. You can follow some design guidelines to make striking spreads, but there aren’t harsh do’s and don’ts.

It’s a good idea to stick with a particular theme and have your yearbook design adhere to it. Think about browsing through it page by page. That’s much more satisfying when it is a cohesive book, right?

Naturally, each spread contains different content. Here are some tips to turn the whole book into a cohesive display, no matter the content:

  • Stick to a color palette
  • Pick a couple of fonts only
  • Create a yearbook layout template
  • Use the same filter for photographs
  • Be mindful of placement
  • Size your elements

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Bear in mind that you don’t have to stick to these rules. If you want to go all out with a rainbow variety of colors, that’s fine. Stick to two or three fonts and use a similar placement for your spreads, and your design will still be cohesive.

Yearbook spread examples

While the cover of your yearbook is a vital part of the design, it’s the inside where the fun really starts. This is where you can go all out using colors, shapes, and other visual elements.

Let’s look at various yearbook design ideas for your yearbook’s spreads:

6. Birmingham Young University Graphic Design Program

How stunning is this spread from the BYU Graphic Design Program? Leave it up to graphic designer Hannah Decker to create a striking yearbook page design.

birminghamyounguniversity.jpg

The colors are on-trend, and information is displayed in a clear, unobtrusive way. This makes for a great yearbook layout since you instantly see who the spread is about. It includes some fun facts, which is a great idea to evoke emotion and keep things light-hearted.

7. 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. This spread by Doug Hovener could just as well be a professional sports team’s yearbook.

ncfa.jpg

This style is great to consider with relaying information like your school history, class achievements in numbers, or stats.

8. Rhodes Island School of Design

We’ve mentioned using illustrations for the cover of your yearbook. Why stop there? Illustrations make a great addition to spreads and keep the overall design playful. Case in point: Barron Webster and Jonathan Rinker’s design for the Rhodes Island School of Design.

rhodesislandschoolofdesign.jpg

Again, the color scheme is your friend, as this eclectic example shows with a simple three-color palette.

9. The Issue by Numbers

If you thought you could only draw inspiration from actual yearbooks to gather yearbook design ideas, think again. We love the idea of creating a spread with an infographic, showcasing the issue by numbers. Like this one, designed by Adam Sharratt.

theissuebynumbers.jpg

It’s a fun way to visualize last year’s statistics and entice people to read the yearbook.

Design a yearbook page online

Now that your head is filled with yearbook design ideas, let’s talk about putting them on paper. There are numerous ways to design a yearbook, from finding a yearbook creator online to hiring a graphic designer.

You can find quite a few yearbook templates online. Bear in mind that if you want to be creative, you do risk having a similar design as your rival school.

If you have a limited budget, you can opt for a free platform like Canva. You’ll be spoilt for choice in finding a standard yearbook layout. With a little budget, you can use a monthly service such as Fotor or the paid version of Canva. This increases your customization options a bit.

If graphic design is familiar territory, you can also use Adobe programs. InDesign to create spreads from scratch, or Illustrator to create your own graphics. This way, you’ll be sure of a unique, creative design.

Creating from scratch is only recommended if you know your way around graphic design. Remember that a yearbook is a memorandum people keep for the rest of their lives, so a yearbook riddled with design fails is not something you want.

Another way to ensure a unique design and avoid design mistakes is by hiring a designer. This doesn’t come cheap, but bear in mind there are options such as subscription-based design services like Manypixels. You pay a flat monthly fee and have a team of designers at your fingertips.

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Final thoughts

We hope these yearbook design ideas have inspired you enough to tackle your yearbook’s design confidently. See the creation of your yearbook as a process. Don’t forget to have fun along the way. Good luck!

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Guest Writer: Simone Timmers

May 3, 2022

Simone is a writer, dividing her time between native Netherlands and 'home away from home' Malawi. Whenever not stringing words together, she's either on her yoga mat or exploring any off the beaten track she can find.