The best yearbook layout should capture the readers’ attention so that the message contained in the page is clearly communicated. This should happen from one page to the next so that the readers will, indeed, find the school yearbook the best keepsake from their younger years.
You can achieve the best yearbook design in general and layouts in particular by keeping in mind the following rules of thumb on its three visual components. Take note that capturing the readers’ attention starts with capturing their eyes, so to speak.
#1 Visual Hierarchy
Start with the visual hierarchy in an effective yearbook layout because it dictates the other two components. Each element on the page, both texts and graphics, should be assigned its prominence in conveying the message. You must then establish visual hierarchy by asking the following questions:
• Which of the text and the graphic expresses the message more?
For example, the title of the article has higher prominence in conveying the message while the illustration plays a secondary role to it. This is also true for key phrases and subheadings in the articles.
• What methods can be used to establish hierarchy in the yearbook layout?
For example, bigger fonts should be used for the titles and key phrases. Bold colors and highlighted texts can also be used for this purpose.
Basically, you are telling the readers which of these elements on the page should their attention be directed to first. The use of fonts and font size as well as colors and highlighters address such need for reader direction.
#2 Visual Balance
It must be noted that one of the principles of yearbook design is balance, said principle of which is also applied in the layout. In yearbook layout, it can be expressed in terms of the location of the elements within the page. When we say elements, we are referring to both the material in text and in graphics as well as the empty space.
These two elements must be balanced so that no element outpaces the other. If there is too much material on the page, it appears too busy. If there is too much empty space on the page, it appears too empty. Between material and white space, however, experts suggest erring on the side of the latter but since it is a rule of thumb, you can tweak it to suit your plans for the school yearbook.
#3 Visual Consistency
And then there is visual consistency, which complements the first two elements of an effective yearbook layout. Structure – that’s the keyword for visual consistency with its elements being manifested in the identical headers, footers, and page numbers as well as column widths, among others.
It can also be achieved by using the same fonts and font sizes for most, if not all, of the text elements (i.e., titles, headers and sub-headers) in the page. This should also be applied to the graphics in that the images are placed in or around the same area from one page to the next, say, the lower right-hand corner.
Admittedly, these visual elements of an effective yearbook layout take time to master but your school yearbook will be a great read, indeed!