The importance of yearbook covers in any type of school yearbook from the elementary to the high school levels cannot be overemphasized.
These are the first images that students, teachers and parents, all of whom are the potential buyers of past and present yearbooks, see and then use to judge the merits of the publications. The cover must then make a positive first impression while also setting the stage for the interesting stories and photos on the inside pages.
With that being said, here are the two main choices in techniques where covers for yearbooks are concerned.
Old school yearbook covers are usually decorated covers where the materials used are acrylic-permeated paper, which has a leather-like texture. The paper itself is printed with various techniques like silk screen, hot foil, and embossing.
But don’t let the old school tag discourage you from decorated covers for your yearbooks either. You can always use a decorated cover for a timeless appeal yet imbue it with a contemporary touch, thus, achieving a good balance between the two aspects. You will be proud of your yearbook when your grandchildren come along because it speaks of your own time in school – hopefully, a great time.
And speaking of the techniques used in decorated yearbook covers:
• Silk screen printing is inexpensive while still providing a wide range of colors. Its main drawbacks are that the colors cannot be blended as easily as with other techniques and the pictures cannot hold more details than desired.
• Hot foil is on the expensive side but the money is well worth the dazzling effects on paper. It works via the die-stamping process.
• Metal gloss is most popular on military cruise books because of its dazzlingly detailed appearance, which makes it suitable for schools seals and crests.
• Embossing lends a three-dimensional effect to the text and images of yearbook covers.
We suggest going for decorated covers when you want a retro look although you can always play with the techniques to achieve an avant-garde look, too. It all depends on your choices as executed by the printing company.
If you want a yearbook cover similar in appearance, texture and feel to modern-day printed magazine covers, then litho covers are right up your alley. These are called new school covers, thanks to the addition of computer applications (i.e., Photoshop and InDesign) that allow for text and photo manipulation as well as the addition of spectacular special effects on paper.
The technique’s main advantage is the abundance of opportunities to print just about any text, photos and imagery on the yearbook covers. Every color, every pixel, and every line can be captured in great detail. Add in the shiny appearance of a litho yearbook cover and you will understand why it is the most popular technique today.
Of course, it is not so much the technique used in printing the text, photos and imagery on the yearbook covers but the design of said covers that also matters. You must design covers for yearbooks that truly capture the attention of their potential buyers but that’s another story.