The Program Works
Design: One of the easiest
tasks in producing a
Mastering good design skills.
• Simplicity and consistency are essential yearbook design skills
• Design skills achieve clear communication & visual appeal
Mastering good design skills.
• Good yearbook design is like good building design
– An overall plan is necessary before you begin
– Establish exterior margins
– Even “unfilled” areas of a yearbook are planned
– Yearbook design centers around “spreads”
– Spreads are two pages that face one another
– Columns define space on a page
– Columns are equal-width vertical spaces that act as guides
to start and stop the elements placed on spreads
Mastering good design skills.
• Repetition is a key design element
– A good yearbook designer uses repetition in:
Exterior margin width
Standard column/internal margin widths
Shape of photographs
Size of copy blocks
Patterns of typography
Other distinctions
– Initial caps
– Gray or color screens
• Repetition gives strength and appeal to effective design
Establish a column plan
and exterior margins.
Establish a column plan
and exterior margins.
• This eight-column yearbook spread illustrates common design
– Outside margin
– Page-framing white space
– Top margin
– Bottom margin
– Single column
– Gutter
Establish a column plan
and exterior margins.
• Certain elements define areas on the page
– Photos
– Type
– Graphics
– Screens
• White space is another element that must be planned
Establish a column plan and
exterior margins.
• Most traditional yearbook elements are rectangular
• When a photo or other element is not rectangular,
it is done for effect
• Limit non-rectangular photos to one per spread
Dominant elements.
Dominant elements.
• The design’s dominant photo
– Is two to two-and-a-half times larger than any other photo
on the page
– Helps define the spread’s exterior margins
– Generally runs on or through center of spread
Dominant elements.
• Note the photo “sticks” to the column edges vertically,
establishing the internal margins
• Remember — the readers don’t see the columns and margins
in the book
• Only the designer’s placement of elements establishes
margins for the reader
• The spacing left between elements is generally one pica
(1/6 inch)
Dominant photo.
• The next graphic shows the potential placement of a horizontal
• Note it still defines the margins on the top of both pages and
on the side of the right page
Dominant photo.
Dominant photo.
• The horizontal dominant photo need not run to the margin on
the right, but be sure it remains a true dominant
• See how a smaller photo could define the outside margin and
the larger could be pulled back to the next column
Dominant photo.
Continue adding elements
to the vertical dominant spread.
Continue adding elements.
• Good designers provide visual variety in size and shape
• Rectangular photos should vary — some taller, some wider,
some square and always getting smaller in size
• Note how the second photo is a horizontal, the opposite shape
of the dominant, touching the exterior edges of the column
Varying size and shape.
Varying size and shape.
• Note how additional elements are placed
• Always place elements one pica from the surrounding
• Always vary the sizes and shapes
• Keep open space to the outside corners
How all this works together.
How all this works together.
• All the elements are added from the center out, one pica
away from the next
• White space is in the outside corners
• Space is left for captions
• Center pictures touch bottom and top margins at the gutter
• Use the six-pica-or-more rule for alignment of elements
How all this works together.
How all this works together.
• As with the top and bottom margins, photos should touch
the side margins at the center rather than at the corner
• Avoid placing photos so they are barely out of alignment
• Photo placement at the bottom of the graphic illustrates
this concept
• A bleed is an element that goes through the exterior
margins and off the edge of the page
• The bleed must go all the way off the page once it crosses
the exterior margin
• Never place a person’s face near the edge of a bleed photo
• Bleeds should be limited to one per side
Common design errors.
Common design errors.
• The first example shows the placement of the larger photos
to the outside, creating a “well” or “tower” of unplanned
white space within the spread
Common design errors.
Common design errors.
• Undesired white space occurs when elements are not placed
one pica from one another on all sides
• Avoid placing captions toward the inside area of the spread
• Leave white space and caption placement to the outside of the
Common design errors.
Common design errors.
• Avoid placing photos so they stairstep horizontally across
the spread
• Align them on a horizontal line
• The alignment is called an eyeline if it goes from margin to
margin and a broken eyeline if it is interrupted by an
• This graphic shows a near-miss eyeline — one that
misses aligning the photos by only a few picas
Common design errors.
Common design errors.
• This example shows how a near-miss eyeline is avoided
by aligning elements on a horizontal line
• The stairstep shown on the last slide is corrected in this
• The photos are aligned horizontally across the page
except where the dominant breaks the alignment
Creating a design with a horizontal dominant.
Creating a design with a horizontal dominant.
• Let’s finish the horizontal design by adding photos, one pica
away from the dominant
• Think vertical — don’t add too many horizontal elements
• Plan for caption placement as you design the spread
Dressing up a design.
Dressing up a design.
Column-based designs do not have to be boring
You can introduce an element that breaks the rules
In this example, it’s an oval-shaped photo
While the design needs to be consistent within each
yearbook section, the “differences” can be repeated to
create a consistency within the section
Dressing up a design.
Dressing up a design.
• Continue adding photos, varying the shape and placing one
pica between elements
• Remember to leave room for captions
Adding copy and captions.
Adding copy and captions.
• With good basic design, with a clear awareness of shapes
and spacing, a headline and a story can easily be added
• Think of each element as an interchangeable piece
• Each rectangle could be a photo, a copy block or another
story element
Adding copy and captions.
Adding copy and captions.
• Here’s another version of the vertical dominant where the
element area becomes a team picture and scoreboard
Adding copy and captions.
Adding copy and captions.
• Here’s the horizontal design with a headline and story
Let’s review the steps for good design.
1. Establish a column plan and external margins. Start with a
dominant elements that establishes exterior margins and is
placed on or through the center of the spread.
2. Add additional elements in a variety of shapes and sizes,
always placing these elements one pica away from all
surrounding elements.
3. Work from the center of the spread. Elements should be
clustered so they are away from the corners. This places any
white space to the outside and allows room for caption
Let’s review the steps for good design.
5. Place copy and headline so they appear to be a single
rectangular unit. Headlines should read into the copy.
6. Place captions one pica away from the photos they identify and
to the outside of the spread.
7. Keep white space in the outside corners.
Typography as a design element.
• Typography is one of the most important parts of design
• It allows each book its own look and style through choice of
fonts, which are kinds of typefaces
• Most typefaces or fonts are part of a larger font family —
meaning it comes in bold and italic versions as well as others
Typography as a design element.
• For body copy and captions, go with a highly readable, clean
font such as Times or Garamond
• Most desktop publishing programs have an “auto” leading
feature that adds 20 percent leading — or spacing between the
lines of text
• You can adjust the leading for a different look, but do so
consistently throughout each section of the book
Typography as a design element.
• Don’t change type size or leading to make copy fit, edit instead!
Too many is too much.
• Typography goes wrong when too many fonts are used
• A basic rule: use one font throughout the book for your body
– Generally a serif font — one with “feet” or small extensions
at the base of the letters is chosen for body copy
– Sans serif fonts do not have feet
– Script fonts look similar to handwriting
– Specialty fonts are decorative
• Script and specialty fonts should be used sparingly and with
great care
Understanding typography.
• Fonts or type are measured in points — a printer’s
• There are 72 points in an inch, so in theory, a type that is
72 points would be an inch tall
• Fonts are measured from the top of the letters, called
ascenders, to the bottom of the letters, called descenders
• Even then, all 72-point type is not the same size
Understanding typography.
Where to look for ideas.
• Magazines are a great place to look for creative headline design
– Good magazines’ headlines can illustrate how types go
together and ways to place the type
– Each magazine has its own signature style
• Yearbooks that employ the same fonts throughout are called
one-look books, meaning they choose to use the same font
families for the entire book
• Other yearbooks will vary font selection by section, allowing
their font choices to reflect the section
• Either option is good, if done properly
Font families.
• A font family includes different weights and shapes of the
same font
• The example below shows how the letter shape changes in the
italic versions of the serif fonts
• Font versions within a font family offer a variety of looks, yet
maintain continuity of design
• Once you choose fonts for headlines, body copy and captions,
don’t introduce other fonts without a real reason
Font families.
Font families.
• These examples
show readability
differences and
relative size
• Avoid using a script
or specialty font
below 24 point
• Do not use script or
specialty fonts for
body copy, which is
usually from 9 to
12 points in size
Choosing fonts.
• As an example, for the entire yearbook, you might choose:
– Garamond for body copy
– Garamond Bold for captions
– A sans serif font for the headlines
– A serif font for the secondary headlines
– A specialty font for accents such as initial letters in the
main headline and the captions
Designing with type.
• Below are three headline examples that illustrate how type can
be used as a design element
• Each example includes a primary headline and a secondary
headline, which is no more than half the size of the primary
Designing with type.
• This example uses 48-point Papyrus, a specialty type for the
main headline
– If a specialty font is readable and used in a large size, it can
sometimes be used as a main headline and for special items
such as initial letters for the captions
• The secondary headline is 18-point Arial
• The combination of fonts provides contrasting type choices
Designing with type.
• This example uses 36-point Arial Black for the headline and
18-point Old Century Schoolbook Italic for the secondary
• These two type choices provide contrast in type as well as in
boldness and posture
Designing with type.
• This example employs 36-point Old Century Schoolbook and
18-point Arial Italic
Rules of typography.
1. Develop a typographic look for each section or for the entire
2. Use no more than three font families — one serif, one sans serif
and, possibly, one specialty typeface
3. Do not mix fonts that are of the same type, i.e. one serif font
with a second serif font. Instead, stay within the same font
family. The exception to this rule is that body copy and captions
could be a different serif font than the headline serif
4. Build contrast into your headlines by varying the type face and
posture. Use bold vs. light faces, upright vs. italic and large vs.
5. You may bring in another font if you want to provide a different
mood or feeling, but use sparingly and use the other fonts
established for that section to maintain consistency
Here are a few guidelines.
1. Use the headline font for enlarged initial letters and drop caps in
your copy if you decide to employ them
2. Use the headline font for the caption lead-ins
3. It’s essential to repeat a font on the spread for unity. If you use a
specialty font in your headline, you should also use it
somewhere else on the spread
Advanced headline design.
Find up-to-date headline design inspiration from feature pages
of newspapers, magazines, brochures, billboards or other
graphic media
Be wary of using ads in magazines as a source of ideas for
headlines, because ads frequently use “over-designed” type to
achieve a dominant look and feel
Use other yearbooks for coverage ideas, not for design ideas,
since they’re at least a year old
The following ideas were inspired by feature pages in
newspapers and a number of magazines
Advanced headline design.
In this example, look at the
use of:
– Color
– The same font in a bold
and regular version
– All capitals in the second
line of the main headline
Note how much smaller the
secondary headline is, and
that it is centered under the
main headline
Note that the secondary
headline uses downstyle,
capitalizing only the first word
of the headline
Advanced headline design.
Headlines can be based on the same design but can vary
placement of the subhead
The subhead has extra leading, extra spacing between
the lines
The main headline has two lines of type run in negative
leading, reduced spacing so the lines of type touch or
nearly touch each other
If your pages are in color, pull color to tie in with your
Advanced headline design.
Advanced headline design.
This headline
example uses
variations of a
very simple font,
Helvetica, all
downstyle in the
main head and
an ultra light
version for the
headline to build
Advanced headline design.
This headline example uses the same font family: Helvetica
throughout — regular, bold and extra-light
The use of a black background and red and white type make it
The designer deliberately aligned the secondary headline with
the “T” in the main head
Student Activity
1. Using contemporary magazines, cut out headline and
secondary headline designs. Evaluate what the designer is
doing in the way of type choice, spacing, capitalization, leading
and use of color. Note whether the words are aligned or place
using another kind of symmetry.
Student Activity
2. Determine whether the headline designs are feasible for
yearbook design by replacing the words with possible yearbook
text. Will the design support variety if used as a section
headline? It’s a good idea to test a design by writing different
headlines to make sure it can be used consistently through a
Student Activity
3. Evaluate the following layout. What is wrong with it and how can
it be fixed?
Student Activity
4. Draw two eight-column layouts. One layout should have a
vertical dominant and the other a horizontal dominant.
Student Activity
5. Pin the designs on the wall and evaluate them.
Student Activity
6. Once improvements and corrections are made to the designs,
create the design in a page layout program on the computer.
Student Activity
7. Add simple text to illustrate the headline, copy, caption lead-ins
and caption designs.
Student Activity
8. Once again, pin the designs on the wall. Do a “squint test.”
Standing five feet away from the designs, squint to see if the
design has a dominant photo, follows the column margins and
provides visual variety.
Student Activity
9. Determine which designs are the best and assign them to a
section and save them as templates. Once your design is final,
create type style palettes in your desktop publishing program to
ensure consistency throughout the section.

(Columns, Margins, Elements, Bleeds, Design Errors, Copy