How to Choose a Yearbook Theme


Choosing the theme for your yearbook is not always easy. Since you now know the importance of consistency, we’re going to share ideas on how to pick and develop your theme. The development of your theme will be different based on what type of theme you are going with. For instance, a theme based on a continuous element will be focused on design research and deciding the mood you want to give viewers, while a theme based on a phrase or word will require you to brainstorm phrases/words and how you will implement the phrase/word through the yearbook.

Basic Theme Developing Tips

  1. Have students create a moodboard. This can include research gathered from Pinterest, Google searches or design blogs. Have them find design aspects like color schemes, type and page layout.
  2. After completing their moodboards, have students work individually or as a group to develop concepts. Their concepts should include the idea behind their theme, how they plan on making the theme materialize in the yearbook, and the reason behind the concept. Don’t let students confuse their concept with the design. It is easy to confuse the design elements themselves for the concept, but they are two different things. The concept should help students determine why they make the design choices they do.
  3. After coming up with concepts, have students decide on one concept to execute. Have them vote if they need to. If there is still a tie, you or the principal can be the final decision maker.

Phrase or Quote Theme

Choosing a theme inspired by a quote or phrase will be a similar process to choosing a theme based on a continuous element, but it may include some in-depth brainstorming and discussion among your yearbook committee. During the moodboard portion of theme development, your committee will want to discuss and research quotes/phrases they like, along with design aspects. Doing this should help guide them towards choosing a concept. Deciding on or thinking of a quote or phrase to use is an important part of the theme development process that can often become a roadblock.

Here are several phrase and quote theme ideas we have come up with, including some brainstorming, to help get your creative juices flowing:

2015-2016: A Timeline  

  • Yearbook is organized in order of events that occurred
  • Club and group pages have a timeline continuously at the bottom or somewhere on the page showing the order of important things that took place within each club/group

Look How Far We’ve Come

  • A good theme for a school celebrating a big anniversary (10, 25, 50, 100 year celebration etc.)
  • Could use pictures of teachers, events or buildings from 10 years ago (or different amount of time)

The Journey

  • Could include a quote about the importance of a journey. For example, “It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.”
  • Some kind of path or trail (representational or obscure) could continue through pages

Living the Dream

  • Could have a “dream-like” design, whimsical, clouds
  • Could feature students’ dreams of what they want to do when they grow up, what their dreams are
  • Could include a fun page with students talking about weird dreams they’ve had

Becoming Us

  • Use a quote like, “What we learn becomes a part of who we are…”
  • Focus on students’ learning and how it is impacting what they want to do with their lives

Capturing the Moments

  • Emphasis on cameras and photography
  • Film strip connecting pages
  • Fun page with selfies

Our Piece of the Puzzle

  • Could include a quote like, “Realize that everything connects to everything else.” – Leonardo da Vinci
  • Each club and group has a puzzle piece that is a part of a puzzle put together somewhere in the book; this could be a puzzle made from a picture of the school’s mascot

The Adventure

  • Use a quote like, “we must have adventures in order to know where we truly belong…”
  • Pages could include facts about historical adventures or adventures students would like to go on

Time Capsule

  • Could include descriptions and pictures of items that are currently important to students
  • Cover could be an image of things students would leave in a time capsule

One Step at a Time

  • Could use a quote like, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.” – Vincent Van Gogh
  • Could use images of staircases, steps or footprints

We hope this helps in your theme deciding process! Let us know if you have any comments or questions below!

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