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How to Design a School-Leavers Book

    How to Design a School-Leavers Book

    Are you putting the finishing touches on a yearbook for graduating seniors? We chatted with Caroline Haas to gain some insight into the process of creating a photobook.
    She has worked on Thomas’s Kensington’s yearbooks for quite some time, and the volumes she and her colleagues have developed using Bob volumes have established the standard for all subsequent yearbooks.
    “I used the Bob designer software,” she discloses. I use it to make picture albums for my family, and it’s great since I can tweak the design whatever I like.
    Here are her suggestions for getting started, maintaining order, and, most importantly, creating a yearbook that kids and their parents will treasure for years to come. Are you eager to begin working on your school’s yearbook? Check out the Create page we’ve set up.

    1. Start as early as possible

    Having extra time to prepare and collect images for your book can yield greater results. Haas says she usually begins at least a few months in advance since it takes time to gather images of each child and organize the content of each chapter.

    She thinks that gathering images of the kids from all the parents is a major challenge. “Parents will frequently send photographs taken with their smartphones, but the quality isn’t always enough. Starting early can help you avoid an uncomfortable last-minute rush to do everything on time, even if there will be days when you feel discouraged and believe it’s an impossible task.

    She stresses the significance of making it simple for parents to upload and share all of their children’s photographs in a single location in order to amass the necessary number of images. A cloud-based file-sharing service, such as WeTransfer or Dropbox, is one example.

    2. Get some help

    Haas recommends assembling a core team to work on the book with you, as its planning and design might be a lot to take on by yourself. Team members might be given specific roles to ensure that no one person is responsible for all aspects of the project.

    Each of the six persons involved in writing the book was assigned a certain chapter to complete. “There was a sports one, a music one, a drama one, a picture of parents and teachers one, and so on,” explains Haas.

    “We found that having one main person manage the book was helpful, and then we would get together for weekly meetings about a month before it needed to be done so that we could discuss the book as a whole,” the author explains.

    3. Plan the layout ahead of time

    Before you even start gathering images, it’s a good idea to have a broad concept of what the book will end up looking like and what parts you’ll be adding. For example, each kid would probably have his or her own page including two or three images and a small text about their hobbies, interests or preferred school topics.

    To gather content for these pages, Haas says it’s helpful to ask each a youngster a few questions or add images that represent their interests.

    “For example, for someone who was a really good swimmer we included a photo of them swimming, or if somebody was very musical we would use a music photo. We also had all the youngsters answer questions, such as ‘What are your favorite memories?’ or ‘Did you have a nickname?’ or ‘What do you want to be in the future?’ We would put this together with their images and then create different files to keep everything organised.”

    4. Mix it up a bit

    When creating a yearbook, it’s also vital to avoid placing all the images from the same event in one area.

    “We mocked up the layout of the book to see where we wanted to put what,” she explains. We arbitrarily decided to put a dramatic scene on one page, a sports scene on another, and a swimming scene on still another. You won’t have pages and pages devoted to a single occurrence this way. Photos like this add visual variety to the text, which helps the book stay engaging.

    5. Include strong headlines

    In addition to aiding in the organization, catchy headlines may pique readers’ interest, add a dash of personality, and set your work out from the pack.

    “In some cases, we included humorous headlines,” explains Haas. One of our headlines read, “The Escape Artists,” referring to the children who had left school before completing the whole six to seven-year program. However, we were determined to find a method to include them in the narrative.

    She also stresses the significance of consistency in the placement of textual elements such as headlines, blurbs, and captions. Maintain uniformity in your book’s typeface usage at all times. Size can be adjusted as needed, although settling on a single typeface to use consistently is preferable.

    6. Be selective with images

    It would be difficult to include every photo ever shot, and doing so would make the book boring to look through.

    “Our book ended up being more aesthetic and representative of the children’s school years as opposed to being a 100% representation of everything that happened,” adds Haas. Including every image ever taken risks making the book tediously lengthy.

    Since you never know when you might need more pictures to fill in the blanks, it’s not a good idea to get rid of the ones you don’t believe you’ll use.

    As you might imagine, we had to do a massive cull of the photographs at first. Instead of getting rid of the originals, we just put them in a separate folder. This allowed us to reexamine the images we had filtered in the event that we were missing one of the children for whom we were looking for a replacement.

    7. Give each child a chance to shine

    Also, make sure that every kid gets the same amount of attention in the book so that nobody feels left out. They will likely also make an appearance in other parts of the book, such as the sports days or group shots, in addition to their individual page of images and hobbies.

    Haas claims she used an Excel spreadsheet that listed each child’s name down the columns and the book’s chapters across to ensure fair representation. She kept a spreadsheet and put a 1 next to each child’s name when their photo was included in the book. This made it simple to check that nothing had been missed.

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