Planning Your Yearbook • Inter-State Studio

Planning Your Yearbook

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Getting started planning your yearbook

  • Choosing a Cover & Yearbook Theme
  • Planning Your Yearbook Pages
  • Yearbook Page Types
  • Tips for Taking Great Photos
  • Copyright Reminder & Information

When designing a yearbook, stay consistent with a theme throughout the book. Referring to your theme several times is a great way to enhance your yearbook. You will be surprised how easily your book can come together once you have a theme selected.

Tip: Your yearbook should have a new theme each year. People will enjoy your creativity and the story the yearbook tells each year.

Here are three ways we recommend choosing your cover & theme:

    A great place to start is our Yearbook Cover Selector located in your yearbook kit or by visiting Inter-State offers 30+ COVER DESIGNS for free each year, which can be customized with your school name on each cover. Some covers allow you to further customize by adding school colors and/or your own images. Be sure to check them out!
    One great thing about yearbook advisors everywhere is that they love to share! There are 1,000s of choices out there. Pick one that best suits your school and then choose a cover design that matches. Go to to see theme ideas and other useful tools.

Getting started is always the hardest part. A great starting point is to reference your yearbook from the previous year to guide you in building a Yearbook Ladder. Download and print a blank Yearbook Ladder here to help you get started.

When filling out your ladder, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. How many pages do you need to accommodate faculty/staff and class pages?
  2. What special events are happening this school year that should be included?
  3. Will you be selling business ads or personal ads in the yearbook? How many pages will you need to include?
  4. What sports, groups and clubs will need to be featured?
  5. What other fun pages could be included? (Examples: Senior Recognition, Graduating Class, Accomplishments, Student Quotes, Superlatives and Baby Pictures)

Our design software options make class pages simple and quick to design. If Inter-State Studio takes your school pictures, we will automatically add your faculty, staff and student images into your chosen yearbook design program. Many of our design programs already have multiple templates for class portrait pages ready for you to use. Simply flow your images into these pages and add your background to continue your theme.


Let your creativity shine when designing special event pages. These pages are a great place to slightly stray away from your overall theme. Consider a special background for these pages that relates to the event you are featuring. This will help tie the page back to the event you’re showcasing. When making special event pages, choose about ten pictures that will capture the essence of the event. Try displaying one large group picture and then choosing pictures of students involved in the event.

Tip: It may be tempting to squeeze as many pictures on a page as possible, but it is not always pleasing to the eye. Find something special about each event and highlight.


Are you designing a larger book? Consider using division pages to separate your book into sections for easy navigating. Include your sections in a table of contents at the beginning of the yearbook for even easier navigation through the pages.


When it comes to keeping images organized, we recommend using Google Drive to store and organize pictures by class and events. Share your recreated folders with those who will be helping you take photos throughout the year.

They can add additional folders and document the specifics of the event and who is in each picture.

Tip: Set reminders to notify your photo helpers throughout the year about capturing those special events and moments.

For Great Pictures Remember:

  • Use flash for indoor photos.
  • Be as close to your subjects as possible.
  • Scan original photos instead of making photocopies.
  • Use a camera with 6.0 megapixels or higher.
  • A 250 dpi jpg digital photo is recommended.

Avoid These Common Photo Mistakes:

  • Taking photos of people facing the sun.
  • Not using a flash in areas with low light (e.g. school gym).
  • Increasing the resolution of a photo on your computer.
  • Creating dark shadows by using the flash too close to the background.
  • Choosing dark backgrounds, like red curtains or gym floors.

Magazines, books and other publications are great sources for ideas, but remember they are protected by U.S. copyright laws. Use your creativity to adapt your favorite layouts and other design ideas to create something completely new. Photographs, graphics, artwork, character images and character names, as well as slogans and phrases, are all protected by copyright laws and cannot be included in your yearbook. You MUST have permission to use copyrighted material. Include a copy of the permission letter with your layout. If you have questions if something will work in your book, contact your customer service representative to find out for sure.