It is often said that readers of elementary school yearbooks have shorter attention spans than their older counterparts. Children are often drawn first to the colorful photos and then to the text contents, which explains why the yearbook layout in a high school yearbook has a different appearance and vibe than an elementary yearbook.
It then becomes imperative for designers of these annual publications for the elementary grades to make each page readable so that kids will read the text after looking at the photos. Here are the most important tips:
Use larger font sizes on the text contents accompanying the photographs. Keep in mind that the principle of emphasis in design states that the most important element should occupy a prominent position on the page.
If the letters on the page are disproportionately smaller than the accompanying photos, then you are sending out the message that the text is less important than the pictures. Increase the font size and see how the emphasis changes from the photo being the dominant feature to both the text and the photo complementing each other.
Even before designing the yearbook layout for each page on elementary school yearbooks, it is important to choose the primary and secondary colors to be used. This way, you can easily decide the colors of the text information including the caption box.
We suggest choosing the school colors as the primary colors and complementing colors as the secondary colors. Get a color wheel, play around with the hues, and see which ones fit best. Just remember several rules on color including going for bright hues to prevent fast fading; avoiding clashing colors on a single page; and choosing a harmonious color palette during the entire process of designing the yearbook layout.
Choose your words carefully not only to avoid using inappropriate language – the F-bomb and its variations, for example – but also to encourage the students to actually read the text. Avoid using words that require running to the dictionary or to Google for their meanings; the simpler the words used, the more enjoyable the reading experience will be for the kids.
Of course, the words in relation to the yearbook layout must also be relevant to the particular section where these are printed. For example, if the page is dedicated to the photos of the kids as babies, then the heading and captions should say so albeit in different wordings. The caption may read as, “Grade 7 as Babies” while the captions may be humorous like:
• Look at those cute bangs!
• Dazzling the world with your baby face.
• I’m a babe and I know it.
Basically, you want to keep the text as simple yet as engaging as possible. This can also be said of the entire yearbook layout; simplicity is, after all, beauty.
The best way to ensure the readability of elementary school yearbooks is to think like elementary school students. Do you actually enjoy reading it? Do you like how the photos go with the caption? If you answered yes to both questions, then you have found one of the most important tips in designing an effective yearbook layout.