by Briana Hilton
It is amazing to think that something almost every student cherishes when they graduate—a yearbook—has a rich history that dates back to the 17th century. Back then, yearbooks were used as a kind of logbook to keep track of student enrollments, grades, and other relevant information. Today, they are so much more than this. They encapsulate great achievements, memorable moments, and the social as well as the academic side of student life. What’s more, they are used by many more institutions than educational ones. Universities, the military, and churches all rely on yearbooks to commemorate years of hard work, passion, and dedication. However, you can add a special ingredient to yours to make it stand out from previous editions: artifacts. Comprising art, tools, or indeed any human-made object, they bear cultural, historical, or archaeological interest. They represent the height of human achievement and, therefore, merit a place in your yearbook. In what way can you incorporate your artifacts into your book so it blends seamlessly with posts, photos of students or staff, and other content?
Artifacts That Encapsulate Your Theme
Whether you are a school or a military organization, your yearbook doesn’t have to consist of a plain covering with the name of your school and the yearbook date. Far from it! There are a host of themed books that lend artistry and customize the book to perfectly match the spirit of its target readers. These include Legacy, Digital, and Heritage styles with dedicated fonts, styles, and colors that express your institution’s spirit from the start. If you have artifacts such as artworks, old photographs, or old tools found while students were on an archaeological dig, for instance, you can use these images before the table of contents page. Alongside your artifacts, include a caption that intrigues the reader rather than spelling out the entire history of the artifact. Then, in the table of contents, you can include an entry that leads the reader to more information about the artifacts they have seen.
Commemorating Those Who Have Gone
In yearbooks for military personnel, it is important to celebrate those who have dedicated their lives to serving their nation, as well as the achievements of current members. It is always a good idea, therefore, to reserve a section for those who have recently retired or for important anniversaries of past personnel. Within this section, much more can be placed than a photograph and lines of text. Those organizing the yearbook can ask former members and family members for photographs of artifacts like old military tags, their uniforms, any medals they were given, and similar. These photographs can be edited in Photoshop, with filters that unify their color and lend solemnity and nostalgic beauty to the pages they are contained in.
Hold an Artifact Challenge
Yearbooks often encapsulate achievements made throughout the year, but if you wish to celebrate history as well as the present, why not hold an artifact challenge? Ask students or staff to collect artifacts that commemorate the educational, military, church, or other experience, and ask them to write a short post explaining the value of the artifact. You can dedicate an entire section of the yearbook to the challenge, highlighting the top finalists and winners.
Artifacts and yearbooks make the perfect team since both celebrate the present and the past. There are many ways you can blend artifacts seamlessly into your yearbook design. From including photos of past staff or members to holding an artifact competition, you can extol the very spirit behind yearbooks: that of remembering all that was and celebrating the potential of current students and personnel.