How to Narrow Down a Yearbook Theme featured image

Choosing a yearbook theme can be a daunting task. A theme sets the character, look, and tone of your entire project. You’ll likely work within this theme for months. What if you and your team realize that the theme you settled on doesn’t have as much room for creativity and variety as you had thought? No one likes going back to the drawing board.

If these thoughts sound familiar, you aren’t alone. Many advisors share the same anxiety. During Entourage Yearbooks’ recent High School Advisors’ Conference, one of the most popular workshops centered around this very question. The yearbook theme brainstorming activity outlined below not only involves your students in the process in a constructive way, but also produces a “proof of concept” in as little as 30 minutes!

Ideally, you’ll want to create groups of four. Assign each group one of the yearbook theme ideas on your shortlist. If you would like this to be more of a general activity, feel free to grab some themes from a yearbook website. Give each group a large piece of paper (enough to be folded into four sizable sections) and colored pencils, markers, or crayons. Then, give each group a set amount of time – our workshop gave advisors 30 minutes – to create a proof of concept for the yearbook that includes the elements below.

  1. A font style, color scheme, graphic style, and folio tab that reflects the theme. You may want to reiterate to your team that often, more is less. While these elements should be thematic, the font style should be legible and the color scheme should be easy on the eyes.
  1. A cover. Remind your yearbook staff that some basic elements must be included (like your school’s name, the year, and perhaps a thematic tagline). At the same time, though, encourage them to incorporate these elements creatively!
  1. A table of contents. In a yearbook, a table of contents should look much more appealing than a plain-text list. Have the teams design table of contents entries with short verbal explanations tied into the theme. This element should be a two-page spread.
  1. A section divider/class page. You may have your teams complete one or both. Either way, though, make sure that this element also takes the form of a two-page spread. 

We were amazed at the concepts that our advisors executed in such a short amount of time. Some teams quickly realized, though, that the themes they had chosen “ran out of gas” far too quickly. Through the activity, they learned that their theme might not offer the depth or creative license that they would like to have for an entire yearbook. If that happens to one or more of your teams, no worries – that’s exactly what this exercise is for!

Need more help with finding a theme in the first place? On our website, we offer yearbook theme ideas, templates, and more. To learn more about Entourage Yearbooks and the yearbook services we offer, contact us online or call us at (609) 452-2665 today!

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