How to Make a Yearbook in 10 Easy Steps

Before the final school bell rings, give your students a way to reminisce about the year—a yearbook. Whether they’re seniors heading off to college or students going on a trip, a yearbook will keep their favorite moments fresh in their minds.

It may seem difficult to know exactly how to make a yearbook stand out, but it’s easier than you think. With a bold cover and page layouts that capture the essence of your school, you’ll make a yearbook students can’t put down. If you’d like to learn more, read the list we created to help you design a memorable yearbook.

1. Assemble Your Team

An unforgettable yearbook design starts with a standout group of students. It helps if they’re imaginative, collaborative, organized and efficient. You’ll also want students who can stick to your budget and deadlines.

First, you’ll need to appoint an Editor-in-Chief. You can choose a volunteer who’s enthusiastic about taking on this important role or call for a vote. No matter how you fill this position, this student should be a seasoned member of the yearbook staff.

After you’ve chosen the Editor-in-Chief, fill all the other positions. You’ll need editors, writers and photographers who are assigned to specific sections of the yearbook layout.

2. Set a Budget

Next, set a budget and create a system for your team to track expenses. The two major items to factor into your budget are photography expenses and yearbook printing costs. To estimate the cost of other miscellaneous materials and expenses, brainstorm a list with of items that may impact the budget.

Finally, establish a process for your team to approve and record their expenses. This will help you stick to your budget as you make your own yearbook.

3. Schedule Deadlines and Reminders

After you’ve assembled your team and set a budget, you’ll want to schedule deadlines and reminders. Collaborate with your team to define the milestones needed to make a yearbook. Try working backward from the date you’ll need the yearbooks in hand to distribute to the students. You should also take into account the time required for printing.

As you flesh out the deadlines, assign tasks to the members of your team so everyone knows what’s expected of them. You should not only encourage students to mark deadlines in their planners, but also set reminders to keep the team on track. Include the Editor-in-Chief and brainstorm the best way to set reminders for your team along the way.

4. Make a Content Outline

Now you can use the calendar you created when setting your deadlines to help you make a content outline. Brainstorm with your team and list all the different yearbook design categories you want to include. Start with the basics, like class photos and staff photos. Then, get more specific with school events, club outings and sporting events.

Next, work with your team to start developing page ideas for your yearbook layout. Consider things like volunteering, school life or a selfies page. And don’t forget all the pages dedicated to celebrating the seniors who are heading off to college. Some classic and fun ideas include senior superlatives, memorable yearbook quotes and baby photos.

5. Request Photo Submissions

Gathering great photos is an essential step to making a sentimental yearbook. From posed pictures of the prom king and queen to candid snapshots of a community service event, these photos will bring your page layout design to life. Collecting all these photos requires collaboration from the student body and staff.

Put a call out for photo submissions to gather photos for your yearbook layouts. Have your team make a list of the types of photos you need to fill the pages established in your content outline. Some examples might be snapshots from teams, clubs or field trips.

Then, brainstorm photography ideas of moments to capture with your team. In your call for photo submissions, encourage students to use their smartphones to capture memorable and exciting moments throughout the year.

6. Create a Template or Style Guide for Your Yearbook Pages

It’s important to create a sense of consistency throughout each page layout design. You want your finished yearbook to be cohesive and have a common theme tying each page together. This is why it’s a great idea to create a template or style guide for your yearbook pages.

Start by highlighting creative guidelines to give your team parameters to work within. You can also set goals with your team for each page. Rely on your Editor-in-Chief to help establish and enforce these templates and guides.

7. Design Your Yearbook Pages

Now, here comes the fun part. It’s finally time to design your yearbook pages! This is one of the most exciting and crucial steps to make a yearbook that’s timeless and special.

You can start by helping the members of your team add the content and photos to their pages. Make sure your team stays on track by following the schedule of deadlines, content outline and templates or style guides. Lastly, encourage your Editor-in-Chief to collaborate with team members throughout this process.

8. Design Your Cover

The yearbook cover sets the tone for the beautiful book of memories you’ve created. Start by brainstorming with your team to generate ideas for the cover design. You could go with something clean and simple—using the school mascot or school colors—or, you could create something more elaborate.

This is another great opportunity to engage the rest of the student body and staff. You could put out a call for submissions for cover designs to encourage the artistic students to get involved. You could also narrow it down to two or three selections. Then, have the entire student body or just the senior class vote on the cover design.

Whatever you do, get creative and have fun!

9. Edit

This is the big moment for your editors and, most importantly, your Editor-in-Chief. Help and encourage the editors on your team as they check each page layout design. Advise them to focus on readability, grammar and spelling.

The editors should also review each photo for quality and cropping. After the editing process, your carefully curated yearbook will finally be coming to life.

10. Send it to Print

The big day has finally arrived. Now, it’s time to send your masterpiece to print! Congratulate your team on all their hard work and effort that’s paid off. You may even want to arrange a team party to celebrate.

As you await the delivery of your yearbooks, get the students and staff excited. Arrange a final brainstorming session with your team to discuss yearbook promotion and distribution.

Step by Step: Make a Yearbook

  1. Choose the size, cover type and number of pages to get an instant quote in advance.
  2. Set up a free Shutterfly Classroom Share Site.
  3. Invite teachers, coaches and parents to join the Share Site so you can easily gather everyone’s photos in one place.
  4. Start making your yearbooks. You can customize them cover to cover using the Shutterfly templates and idea pages for fun suggestions.
  5. Add your photos from the Share Site, your computer or your phone.
  6. Add captions and embellishments to your pages to tell the full story.
  7. Download a PDF you can proofread and share with everyone before you order.
  8. Place your order at least two weeks before the end of the year and prepay to get your yearbook discount.

This school year, create the best yearbook your school has ever seen. By following the ten steps to get started and checking out our yearbook themes, you’ll design a yearbook everyone remembers!