This year at the international high school I work at, I was given a class called “Yearbook.” So, obviously, the final deliverable for the class was a Yearbook.
The Yearbook is 90 pages long and contains 459 images. Each student was in charge of designing at least one 2-page spread for a total of around 30 pages of student work!
- I managed the design, created the templates, color palette, and font styles.
- Then, I combined all the student contributions together and made sure the style was consistent throughout.
- Finally, I created a website where students would be able to download it.
The following are notes about the Yearbook class and the Yearbook design process.
Step 1: Graphic Design 101
I wanted to introduce the students to good design practices (things like choosing colors and fonts that don’t clash and not stretching images). I found Canva’s Design School had 30 easy, beginner-level graphic design tutorials that went through all the basics I was after. I supplemented their tutorials with my own assignments until right around midterm test time. Here’s the order of major topics we covered:
- Fonts (vocabulary, serif/sans-serif/script design styles, font pairing)
- Colors (vocabulary, the color wheel, color theory & emotive adjectives, color palettes)
- Images (legal use of images from the Internet, Creative Commons Zero images)
- Layout (balance, use of white space, common design elements and font styles)
- Infographics (use of icons to convey ideas, simplification of complex topics, layout)
Step 2: Newsletter Design Practice
Around the time we started working on Layout, I began to introduce newsletter design to the students as well. The following is a list of the newsletters we worked on, the programs we designed in, and their contributions to each:
- March 2016: Google Docs (or MS Word) – students each designed 2 article layouts
- Infographic Design: Canva.com, Google Slides, or MS Publisher (student choice)
- April 2016: First introduction to InDesign – everyone made the same design together in class and we added their Infographics to the newsletter
- June 2016: Fully student-written and student-designed (using a template with margins, guides, font styles, and color palette I provided them)
Step 3: Yearbook
In order to adequately prepare for the Yearbook, I also had the students go through a number of assignments:
- Gather inspiration by looking at a number of different Yearbook designs
- Fill out a survey indicating how they would like it structured and designed
- Create 4 different, individual Yearbook covers and vote on the best:
- Big Book Look (graphics and text covering the entire page)
- Typographic Look (focusing on font choice and design)
- Abstract Look (focusing on shape and color)
- Illustrative Look (more graphical, photography was allowed only here)
- Follow my lead (in class) as we redesigned the winning cover in InDesign
- Design a special logo for the Yearbook in InDesign based on the Overwatch video game logo (following my lead)
- Finalize the Table of Contents and choose a spread for each student to design
- Create a wireframe for their spreads in Canva or Google Slides – which I then recreated in InDesign for them to use as a template
- Download their own InDesign template, fill in the required information and photos, and add their own finishing touches
I was very impressed with the creativity of many of the students. Some even designed their ENTIRE Yearbook contribution from scratch (one student did 6 pages himself!).
Alternate Cover Design
The following gallery shows the original yearbook cover, an alternate version, and the inspiration for each.
If you would like to download a copy of the Yearbook (or any of the student newsletters), please visit the website to do so: