Given that our yearbook was such a hit among Dyners (see some visuals in my previous yearbook post), I encourage your company to take on this endeavor and see what comes of it. It may seem like a daunting task, but to help out, I put together five thoughts to make your own yearbook creation process smooth.
Dyn Yearbook's front cover.
We knew that we wanted each employee to have their own page in the book, so from the outset, we were looking at a 100 page book. Since we weren’t planning on making the book a part of the fitness program, we kept the additional content down to a minimum.
Remember to consider your bindery here. If going with a perfect bound book as we did, you’ll need to keep the page count divisible by 4.
Here’s how our outline looked:
- Acknowledgements + Closing/back page – 1 spread
- Intros – 1 spread
- Year in Review – section start is 1 spread
- Infographic – 1 spread
- Where We’ve been map – 1 spread
- Superlatives – 1 spread
- Departments – 5 spreads
- Employee pages – 49 spreads
Total = 120 pages
Choose your dimensions wisely and make sure everyone is aware of them. We could have simplified this project if we had gone with an 8.5 x 11” page, but we liked the allure of the unique square book too much to keep it simple. Then there was that issue of saying, “Just make a page for the yearbook” and people assuming “a page” was 8.5 x 11”…oops.
Thank goodness for vectorized pdfs, which allowed me to open the majority of the incorrectly sized pages in Illustrator and move the parts and pieces around so that they fit in the 7 x 7” dimensions.
Templates help guide people on the dimensions and give them the start for their page. InDesign, Illustrator and PhotoShop templates are all logical, but not all employees have access to or knowledge of this software, so I also provided Open Office and Word document templates with a 7 x 7” box area delineated. Throughout the process, we found that many people were comfortable in PowerPoint so when we begin next year’s yearbook, I’ll be sure to provide a template for that application as well.
Make sure your templates outline the safe zone for printing (usually .25” in from the edge on all sides) and instruct people to keep critical material inside of this area. Other than that, the actual trim (edges of the page) are noted and the bleed area as well (usually .125” beyond trim on all sides).
Basics of print in action here: work backwards from when you actually need the book and make sure to communicate with your printer right at the start so you’re aware of their timeline. Since the yearbook wasn’t anyone’s sole job, we left plenty of cushion in the timeline to accommodate for other priorities.
We started planning in August, rolled out an email to employees after Labor Day and gave them a month to complete their pages. That left eight weeks for tracking down stray content, compiling, layout and proofing with the final unveiling at our holiday party. Now knowing what to expect, we might be able to shave the eight weeks to six but I couldn’t imagine any less than that.
Keep it fun, keep it true to yourselves and repurpose, repurpose, repurpose. Repurposing content that has been used elsewhere for the company makes great fodder for the yearbook. Not only does it save on content creation time, but it also gives employees a chance to see an ad or graphic they might not have ever laid eyes on.
With minor layout & content tweaks, our office holiday card became the Year in Review infographic. Our department pages were also repurposed content with some gaps filled in and there are a few fun stray graphics in the book that many employees might have not seen if not for the yearbook. We created an online poll for the superlatives so that everyone could give their thoughts.
Hope that helps your office’s yearbook creation process and feel free to ask any questions in the comments below. I’m happy to answer whatever I can!
Julie Parenteau is the lead graphic designer (aka Pixel Pusher) for Dyn, the world leader in Internet Performance Solutions that delivers traffic management, message management, and performance assurance. Follow on Twitter (@mypigsfly and @Dyn).