When you are just starting out in the field of yearbook design, you will encounter the temptation to put far too many pictures onto a single page. Your yearbook layout instructor will end up stepping in, after all of your hard work and getting everything just right, and cut your project page to shreds. Why? Because you forgot the golden rule of yearbooks: leave room for each photograph’s description!
The description that we’re speaking of is not just the title on the page, nor does it restrict itself simply to the fine print under the picture giving people’s names. The description of the photos on the yearbook layout page ends up encompassing all of the words on that page spread. If your theme takes up the entire two pages that can be seen at a time, then the wording on both pages must reflect and describe the entirety of your spread.
Often times, eager yearbook design students like yourself forget this fact. You end up looking at the present time, the here and now, and say to yourself that the artwork and the brilliantly colored pictures should be able to stand for themselves, because everyone knows who is on the football team, and the entire student body knows who the class president is.
This may be true, for now. The thing that you must remember is that these yearbooks are not just about this year. Once this yearbook layout is solidified in print, it will become a part of the school’s history. After this year is over, your yearbook design will be put on file in the principal’s office to gather dust with those that came before, and those that will follow it.
Yes, the students will take these yearbooks home and treasure them over the summer. But as next school year rolls around, these, too, will be filed away for safekeeping, to be replaced with next year’s model. And so, twenty five years from now, when the graduating class holds their reunion, the yearbook that you worked so hard on will come to light once more. After twenty five years of college degrees, marriages, children, divorces, job searches, career changes, and everyday life, are people going to recall who was in what picture anymore if the words to describe the scene aren’t included on the page?
The occasional collage page in your yearbook design is acceptable. These should be filled with fun pictures and don’t necessarily need descriptions. For the everyday content though, the descriptions of a football season or the list of important changes made by this year’s student council, proper descriptions may well be more important for history’s sake than the pictures themselves end up being.
So remember to keep your yearbooks layout balanced, and take the time to come up with the perfect word use for every situation. After all, you have an entire school year to get this history recorded just right, and future generations will judge your success.