From Zero to Hero - Lifetouch Yearbooks - From Zero to... · PDF fileFrom zero to Hero 15...

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  • From zero to Hero 15

    a Five year journey to an award-winning yearbook

    The Olympus reached a first in 2008. Hercules High Schools yearbook was recognized with an NSPA First Class rating with two marks of distinction, including one for design. The Olympus achievement did not happen overnight. In fact, it was a five-year process with five separate staffs. We took a disorganized book with spotty coverage to one recognized for its design and photography. So, how is it exactly that a yearbook goes from being a zero to hero in design? We followed seven basic rules for improving design:

    1. New year, new book. You have permission to reinvent yourself each academic year. Avoid looking at your shelf of past volumes for inspiration. Just because youve done it that way before doesnt mean you have to do it again.

    2. look for inspiration all around you. Incoming editors at the Olympus have been known to hang out at the magazine stand in the local Barnes & Noble. Somewhere in the crush of publications you may find something that works for your school.

    3. Consider your school. What works in a suburban school with 100 years of yearbook tradition might not work in an urban school that is less than ten years old.

    The 2009 cover introduces the theme Where Everything Happens, along with one of the major design features (the karats). The words change, excellence, pride, and hustle are the names of the sections within the book. The name of our town is spelled out in the falling letters, but we found that many students missed it.

    From Zero to Hero

  • 16 Inspire Fall 2009

    The Olympus is very text heavy so we have to find ways to make more white space. Stories and captions are left justified, which allows for more variation in line length, thereby creating more white space.

    4. find books you like. One of the first things the Olympus staff did when it decided to get serious about design was to ask the publishers representative for copies of their best books. Find a few that you like. Take the elements that work and adapt them for your book.

    5. Close your eyes and jump. Fear can hold you back. Dont be afraid to try something different. Try anything as long as it can be legally published, said 2008 Olympus co-editor Patricia Mora in an online interview. The inspiration will just come to you so dont be afraid of the panic and procrastination... While the inspiration will come, it doesnt arrive in a vacuum; you have to do the leg work first.

    6. Editors: model your Work Ethic. Improving or shaking up your books design takes work. Show your staff how you expect them to work by modeling a disciplined work ethic. Ask them for feedback on design and theme ideas. Take time to bond as a group.

    7. advisers: Keep your Suggestions in Check. I will admit that I have strong opinions on this one. As much as I believe that the Olympus should follow the latest design trends and coverage ideas, I also know that this is not my book. It is the students book. Be careful about how far you go to guide your students to success. If I meddle too much, the staff doesnt own the book and quality drops.

    Whats on tap for the 2010 Olympus? The editors have noticed books trending toward tighter copy and more white space. Together, we have taken a look at our last four books and decided the look is stale. Its time for a major redesign and were looking forward to it.

    Natalie WojinskiHercules High SchoolHercules, California

    Natalie Wojinski, CJE, has advised the Olympus staff at Hercules High School for the past five years. The Olympus has been nationally recognized for design, photography and coverage during her tenure. Prior to her stint at Hercules, Wojinski advised the newspaper staff at Adams Middle School.

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  • From zero to Hero 17

    Consistent spacing and style are important elements to consider when improving design. The Olympus uses one pica spacing between photos. Captions throughout the book generally used the arrows to point to the picture

    and all students were identified by first and last name, as well as grade level in parentheses.

    The staff took a light-hearted look at student/parent relationships when a parent works on campus. Weve received good feedback on interactive features in the book, so we added a quick matching quiz for readers. Folios that include students are a creative way to get more of the student body in the book.