Yearbook Themes

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What is a Yearbook Theme?

A yearbook theme is the central concept or idea around which the coverage and design of the yearbook are built upon. It is essentially a visual and verbal statement that helps highlight the memorable experiences throughout the school year as well as the many students who contribute to the character of the school. A well-developed yearbook theme should contain the following visual theme identifiers: font type, color, shape, pattern and texture. READ MORE


Ideas for Yearbook Themes

Developing a theme for the yearbook is easy and fun. Consider the theme as the attitude of the year for your school. Many schools may be going through growth phases or celebrating anniversaries or initiating new changes or welcoming new administrations. The yearbook is the perfect medium to tell a story that will be remembered by all. Remember, a yearbook is not a newspaper and should not include controversial issues or include editorials for or against a certain event or policy. Instead, a yearbook should record the events of the year and celebrate the milestones of the year, under a story format that ties into one main theme.

Themes come in different shapes and sizes based upon the attitude of the year. Many themes contain a play on words and are introduced on the cover. For example, the popular “KEEP CALM AND…” phrase could be taken in many directions depending on what the attitude of the year for that school is. Perhaps their school mascot is the Warrior so they decide to play on that and create a “Keep Calm and Warrior On” theme. Or maybe the school is celebrating growth in their district and have re-defined themselves. Their theme might be “We Are” with words that describe how they now see themselves.

The theme can be carried further on an endsheet design with names of the sections of the yearbook that include a supporting word in the title. Also, the school can consider bringing the theme to the endsheet, by bringing over a graphic element to the endsheet pages. As we mentioned earlier, there are different sections in a yearbook.

These sections could be named as follows to carry on the “Whole New Direction” theme:

  • Student Life: New Traditions… • Sports: New Victories…
  • Clubs/Organizations: New Impacts… • Academics: New Accomplishments… •Portraits: New Leaders Of Tomorrow… • Ads: New Business…

Stories and photos in these sections could include thematic elements as well through certain quotes or story developments that tie into the impact the growth has had on the school. The key to developing a theme is making sure you address the theme in every section of the yearbook as well as the cover and endsheets (if applicable). Consider playing off words of the theme as titles for each section, or work on conceptual themes that play of an idea vs. words.


For example, working with an “Inside & Out…” theme:

  • Student Life: Inside our Walls… • Sports: On the Sidelines…
  • Clubs/Organizations: Siding with Others… • Academics: Sides of Success… • Portraits: Side by Side… • Ads: Outside our Walls…

Survival Tip #1:

There is no such thing as a yearbook theme enforcement squad that goes around the country saying you have a good or bad theme in your yearbook. A theme is only designed to unify your entire yearbook around a certain attitude and tell a story about that attitude. Many schools choose mascot- or spirit-related themes that tie in with school colors or anniversaries. Whatever you decide, make sure your team can support the theme.


Survival Tip #2:

The best way to plan a theme is to develop one as a team with your staff. A great resource for catch phrases is NTC’s AMERICAN IDIOMS DICTIONARY, available online or from a local bookstore. This publication has thousands of everyday expressions. If an idiom book is not available, consider using a thesaurus.


Make sure to introduce your yearbook theme on your cover, endsheets, title pages, division pages, and sections of the yearbook. There is no wrong theme; but a theme might be underdeveloped and difficult to understand. To avoid this, as you select your theme, make sure to brainstorm ideas with everyone on the yeargbook staff.

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