After the theme and design, yearbook layout is the most important aspect of the production of these annual publications. We at Expressly-Yours Yearbooks will even go as far as providing inputs on the best possible layout to complement the theme and design of the drafts, all in the interest of making our clients happy.
In the course of our work, we have discovered several common mistakes made in the layout of yearbooks. You may be making one or two of these mistakes but it’s not too late to remedy the situation.
First, the column structure is overlooked. This is the structure created when the page is divided into the desired number of divisions (i.e., horizontal and vertical columns), which will establish the rough draft of the yearbook layout. Without the column structure, your readers will have a hard time focusing on the content of the page. Their eyes are dragged, so to speak, every which way instead of being effectively led from the primary to the secondary coverage. In short, you can improve the readability of your school yearbook with the appropriate column structure in place.
Second, the gutter is used as an extension of the entire spread. The gutter, by the way, is the area where the opposite pages of the yearbook meet and where the binds are placed. There are several ways that your yearbook layout will be all kinds of wrong in relation to the gutter:
- The photos are placed such that the faces of the subjects are halved – half is in one page and the other half is in the next page. When the yearbook is bound, there is always the possibility that the halves will not line up and the faces will look askew. Now that is a problem that can require reprinting!
- The texts and stickers are also halved. When these are placed right smack in the middle of the gutter, the rest of the words or the graphics will most likely be lost.
Third, the captions are missing. The cardinal rule in yearbooks is that every photo should have a caption that briefly explains it without resorting to spoon-feeding. But don’t place the caption just about anywhere. It must be placed adjacent to the photo it describes and it must be separated from the photo by one pica. It helps to write the captions with flair, too, using the following tips:
- The first three to five words should grab the reader’s attention by using visual nouns, active action verbs, and active voice.
- The persons in the photo should be identified, when possible, but limit it to just seven.
- The writing should be in the present tense to make the reader feel like the action is happening in the here and now.
Experiment with your yearbook layout, of course, but make sure that your experimentation will not result in gross errors.