Your Last-Minute Guide to Creating a Yearbook

Yes, in a perfect world you started working on the yearbook in August. But in the real world, August is long gone, and you’re in a time crunch. Never fear! An awesome yearbook is still within reach, even on a tight turnaround. A fellow teacher with yearbook chops is here to help. Sarah Rowse-Borrelli is an ELA and reading teacher in New Berlin, Wisconsin, and she’s also a yearbook committee advisor. Along with our yearbook tips and Sarah’s advice, you can consider your yearbook as good as done.

Learn how to delegate

Start with rounding up students to work on the yearbook. “I rely a lot on my students to create, while I delegate,” Sarah says. “It also works well to partner with a successful yearbook company.” Which yearbook company to pick? Read on to learn what to look for.

Pick a theme and style, as the entire yearbook will be built around it

Keep it simple and easy to design, so you don’t get stuck on this step or create design challenges down the road. “Look at Pinterest, scrapbooking pages, old yearbooks, etc.,” Sarah says. “This year, my students wanted a vintage feel, so they looked at very old yearbooks for inspiration.”  

Embrace organization by using spreadsheets

Make a spreadsheet for all the clubs, events, activities, students, teachers, etc. and assign students to gather photos, names, and information. Give every task a deadline, working backward from the final due date. “Having a timeline helps create the pages, and each person has ownership over the pages they are tasked with creating,” Sarah says.

Select your quotes ASAP

It’s one of the more time-consuming tasks, so jump on it right away and keep it well organized and documented. “I place students in charge of getting the quotes from coaches, athletes, and other students, and since I’m always in the school, I can grab students for more insight as needed,” Sarah says.

Put out a call for great photos

Gather what you can from students, the school’s photography company, teachers, and coaches. “And ask parents,” says Sarah. “Parents are always taking pictures, and most are willing to share them. Also, talk with your school to see if you can get in contact with the professionals who take the team photos. Build bridges to various people, which in turn will help you fill, create, and document the wonderful school events.”

Gather information digitally

When requesting photos, quotes, or other information from students, teachers, parents, and coaches, ask them to send their materials to the yearbook staff’s email account or to share photos in the yearbook staff’s Dropbox folder. This way, quotes, dates, photos, and names can be dropped into place rather than having to be scanned or typed in.

Share documents with each other to track progress

Sharing files with yearbook team members means they can access them and update them in real time, as well as track any changes made to the document. “I’m a big believer in Google Forms,” says Sarah. “It allows us to share out surveys that help us gather information and organize it. We also share documents.”

Partner with the right yearbook company

When you’re ready to begin laying things out, use a yearbook company that provides access to current, easy-to-use, intuitive design tools, so you don’t sit there saying to yourself, “How the heck do I do this?” (Psst, we like RememberMe!)


Find an easy photo-uploading solution

When looking for yearbook sites, make sure they provide a simple way to quickly upload and organize large batches of portraits and candid shots. A yearbook comprises mostly photos, so you need an efficient way to get them laid out.

Proof via email or an online portal

Skip hard copies, as they require a lot of waiting around. Opt to do proofing digitally via email or an online portal created by your yearbook company.

Get fresh eyes

You and the yearbook staff have likely read, edited, and reviewed the yearbook pages A LOT by the time the final proof arrives. Fresh eyes are more likely to catch mistakes and notice an odd layout or flawed photo. Have several people check for consistency with design, margin spaces, typos, readability, photo clarity, and more.

Start selling

Now that yearbook production is well underway, it’s time to market it and get it into the hands of students. Be clear about when, where, and how students, staff, and teachers can purchase a yearbook. Use paper flyers and handouts, Facebook, email, Instagram, and any other route you have access to. Send out reminders and make sure you loop in parents because sometimes students forget!