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More happy customers!

by ~ July 3rd, 2014

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It’s great to hear so much positive feedback from our lovely customers- it really makes our day and we’re so grateful to all of you for sharing your thoughts and ideas. Many of you who have finalised your books may have received our little survey and thank you so much to those of you who have taken the time to suggest new features and share your experience as a member/editor in 2014. We use all this feedback to help us develop our services and products for future years so we can make even more people happy!

For those of you still working away on your yearbook project, check out our last post on how to finalise your book. With the end of the academic year looming, make sure you visit your staff proof-reader to check they will available to proof-read over the summer. Your teachers look forward to their summer holiday too so don’t just presume they’ll be free to read the final draft at the drop of a hat- they might be sunning themselves on a beach somewhere with no access to your online project! Another tricky situation to avoid is the clash of payment schedules vs finance office hours. Your finance office will most likely close over the summer holiday so you will need to ensure you pass along any invoices due over the summer asap. These will need to be processed before the end of term!

If you’re worried about term dates and deadlines, do give us a call on 01223 503259. The same issues tend to crop up year after year so we’re happy to help out where we can :)

What’s next? A brief guide to finalising your project :)

by ~ June 5th, 2014
finalisingyourproject1Hi everyone :)  it’s been super busy in the office so I wanted to grab your attention for a moment or two to talk through the final stages of your yearbook creation process. We know you’ve been working hard for months on your projects and a lot of time, energy and love has gone into putting it all together! Please do keep your print deadlines in mind as this is really when we need to send your book to print- sure we leave a day’s leeway in this to finalise artwork and do our checks but we do need this time! Before your books are sent to print we have to do all sorts of pre-printing checks to ensure everything is just right. We don’t want something to go awry and neither do you so please do your best to stick to the print deadline! Another thing we’ve had lot’s of this year is late artwork submissions. Submitting your cover artwork on the day we need to send your book to print is less than ideal so do try to get your artwork in early- this will give you time to review your draft and make any changes BEFORE the print deadline :) This is what happens next:
  1. So once your happy that everything is done, double check! You might have a blank page that needs addressing or a photo that could be cropped differently. Check out our article about proofing the visual elements of your yearbook  to see if you can improve your design in any way :)  When you get to the stage where you’re happy the book is ready to print please let us know; whilst we try to check in on as many of you as possible we cant always get round to everyone so shout it from the rooftop and let us know you’re done by email, chat or drop us a call :)
  2. We’ll then prepare a confirmation email for you that is sent to both the lead editor and your staff proofreader. A common misconception is that this is a stock email that we fire out to all customers but we don’t work this way! We’re dedicated to providing you with the best possible books so we meticulously go through every page of your book and create a very detailed and personalised email for you. We’ll cover the basics such as final number of copies and pages, delivery details and also flag any areas in the book which may need to be addressed. Please be patient when waiting for your email, this process takes time and whilst your eager to get everything done, we don’t want to rush and miss anything important.
In order to send your book to print we must receive a reply from both the lead editor and the staff proofreader for your project. Failure to receive a reply from one or both of you will mean your book is unconfirmed and wont be sent to print. This can cause delays to printing and delivery dates so try to keep on top of the project until the book has definitely been sent to the printers! When this is done, take a deep breath and relax :)

A note about reprints and some lovely comments from our customers this year!

by ~ May 7th, 2014

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A lot of you are now having your books delivered and whilst everybody is celebrating the arrival of their lovely new yearbook, there are often a few people who regret not ordering their own copy! Whilst we can do an additional print run for you after the original order has arrived, these do tend to be more expensive so really push for sales before your print deadline! Often staff members like a copy to remember you by or for the schools records so don’t forget to ask them too :D Around 30% of the people we work with order additional copies after the first print run so try to get ahead of the game and perhaps order a few extra copies as spares!

We’ve had some wonderful feedback from those of you with early deliveries so we were keen to share this with you all! You might also find some inspiration from the awesome covers that Lee has created this year :D

Selling advertising space in your yearbook

by ~ March 24th, 2014

girl_c3There are lots of projects on the go now which is awesome and a lot of you are in the process of collecting orders and payments for the yearbooks. If a sponsored silence, car wash or bake sale isnt for you then a good way to raise funds for your project is to sell advertising space in your books.  Here is a quick guide to help you get the ball rolling :)

Approaching a business can be a scary thing, especially when you’re going to ask for money which is why it pays to be prepared. First things first think about your year group, your community and the sorts of places you like to go/ things you like to do. When a business can see you’ve invested some time in learning about them you’re much more likely to get the results you hoped for! Being able to discuss the benefits of promoting their product in your book will help you to get sponsors on board and will add those all important funds to the kitty! Remember, when approaching a local company or society for sponsorship, it’s best to know who you’re talking to! Always try to speak with a manager a.k.a the decision maker- they will be able to give a definitive answer as to whether it’s of interest and you can continue on your quest for a sponsor should they decline. Most of the time you’ll be making a few calls but if you’re going to meet with anyone obviously be cautious and always be safe! Ask a parent or a staff member if they can attend too! If you’re emailing companies, perhaps set up a generic yearbook email account to use. That way your enquiries will be accessible to your editing team and lets face it, AYByearbook2014@gmail.com sounds much more professional than sparklyunicornsandhearts@hotmail.com!

Sponsors can vary depending on your age group and sometimes you wont have to look far! If your school, college or university have an alumni, start here! A lot of schools want to keep in touch with past students so you might find the Old Boy’s Society for example want to promote their group and encourage sign ups from the new leaving class. You might find that including a single page ad will subsidise your yearbook costs and in turn make the book more appealing to the year! More sales, means the price is lower so it’s win-win for everybody :)

If your part of a university project, you might find sponsorship from larger, national companies. Medic yearbooks often get sponsorship from specialist insurance providers for example. If you’re part of a secondary school, perhaps look to nearby colleges, driving schools and more local companies. Perhaps set your year group a mission to speak to parents about the project and see if their workplaces would consider offering sponsorship. If everybody in the year gets one parent to enquire with work then you’ve already targeted 100 companies and that’s a pretty great start.

Also, remember to leave yourselves enough time to liaise with your sponsors. No one likes to be told “we need you to give us money, right now” as this puts pressure on the companies you’ve approached. Leave yourself a few weeks so people can go away, think about the opportunity and prepare any artwork they will need to provide you with. If you’re successful in selling ad space, hooray and congratulations :D You’ve just made your books cheaper! If you have any questions about page sizes and dimensions for artwork, just get in touch. We’ll be more than happy to talk you through this and help out where we can. Sponsors will need to send their payments through to you at school, or to you as an individual, as we usually don’t accept payments from third parties. Again, if you have any questions at all just give us a shout :D

Medic Yearbooks

by ~ March 12th, 2014

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Why?

Med school is a pretty huge experience and you’re probably going to miss an awful lot of people when the journey comes to an end. After so many years together, you’ll probably be looking for ways to commemorate the times you’ve shared and a beautiful yearbook can do just that! Packed with photos, laughs and probably a few cringey moments, your medical yearbook will help you relive those wild parties and awesome electives.

How?

Making your yearbook is simple. Create an account at allyearbooks.co.uk and set up a group for everybody to join. Within minutes you can get everybody online uploading photos and working on the book :)  Our unique online collage tool lets you create amazing photo collages in an instant and you can also make article pages, awards and lots of other content too!

How much?

So what about funds? You’ve probably got an end of year ball, a few outstanding rounds to buy at the bar and all sorts of things planned right? No worries, we pride ourselves on making high quality books for less! What’s more, you’ll often find companies, such as MPS and Wesleyan, who are happy to sponsor projects in return for a little advertising space in the book :)

If you’re interested in making a yearbook for your med school or society, come and chat to us now! You can reach us on 01223 503259, by email hi@allyearbooks.co.uk or tweet @AllYearbooks for more info!

An eye for design: Proofing visual elements of your yearbooks

by ~ March 7th, 2014

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When most people think of proof-reading they place the emphasis on the reading part but it’s just as important to cast an eye over the design of your yearbooks! When proofing your books, look out for the 4 C’s; copyright; content; cropping and colour schemes:

  • Copyright- A term that’s been mentioned a lot recently but it’s important that you check you have the necessary permissions to print your images. For more info, take a read of the copyright notice on the Pics tab!
  • Content- Content  is usually very important for staff proof-readers and they’ll look out for anything school may deem inappropriate. To avoid getting anybody into trouble, it’s best to find out what they’re happy to include and what’s considered unprintable. Images containing nudity, alcohol and swearing are usually the ones flagged by staff so be responsible and remove anything you think may be off-limits. Similarly keep an eye out for any duplicated pictures in the book. You might find someone has already used a photo on their profile so there’s no need to give up room on your collages to repeat the image.
  • Cropping- Check no-one’s been accidentally decapitated in your photos by moving your photos in their frames and ensuring everybody fits. You may need to enlarge the frame slightly to squeeze everybody in so think about how this may affect your layout and have a play around with your page in general.
  • Colour- It’s easy to go a bit wild with colour when you’re creating your pages so it’s worth taking another look at your colour scheme and try to avoid clashing colours. Whilst blocks of colour can make your content pop, you might find that bright red or luminous green is a little overpowering in hindsight. Look also at the layers of colour to ensure your text is vibrant and easy to read. A white font on a yellow background for example will be far harder for everybody to read than a black font!

Other important things to look out for are:

  • Headers and footers- check they’re visible if you’re including them and ensure they are consistent across all pages in your book
  • Snap to grid- if your collages have been made using a grid format you can easily check if your frames are aligned used the snap to grid feature. If anything is out a place, you’ll be able to spot it and correct as needed :)
  • Font sizes- especially important if you’ve made pages offline and uploaded them as custom pages. If you’ve created your page in Word, chances are it’s set to be A4 sized as a default. When you upload this page to you’re book this is then resized to B5 and as such your fonts will be smaller! Do check you’re happy with the actual printed size and that it’s easy to read (without the aid of a magnifying glass)!
  • Fit methods- again, important if you’ve made pages offline. When you upload pages you can choose from bleed off the page, fit to the page and add a border. To help you decide which fit method is right for your pages, check out this handy guide!
  • Backgrounds-check your backgrounds don’t obscure your content! A nicely designed background should enhance your page not detract from it so avoid anything that’s overly busy.

Most importantly, ALWAYS CHECK YOUR PDF WHEN PROOFING! The preview you see online is obviously not to size and isnt full print resolution. You must check your PDF file to view the print resolution file and check all pages for errors.

Extended office hours :)

by ~ February 28th, 2014

screenshot2sOk guys, we’ll keep this short and sweet as it’s Friday and you’re all probably getting excited about the weekend! Following the half-term break, projects tend to really kick it up a gear so we’ll be extending our office hours and chat cover until 7pm as of Monday :) For those of you in the last month of print preparations, this is great chance to ask any questions you may have and we’d be more than happy to provide you with to-do lists to avoid any last minute panicking!

Awesome Awards

by ~ February 21st, 2014

A good awards page can be a real talking point which is why we’ve been developing an awesome new awards designer for you to use this year. Most of you have set up your awards categories by now and have voting well under way but if you’re just getting started, dont panic! Check out our guide to yearbook awards and crack on! For those of you who have results in hand, you can now start to design your pages- horray! First things first, make sure you’ve set up an awards section in the book! To do this, just click into the sections tab and on add awards section. You’ll then get a screen like this to work with :)

Awards

When you create a new awards section, the page will default to use 12 awards per single page. You’ll notice there is a mixture of pie charts, bar charts, text and photo awards to help you get started but you can change these options should you want to. At the top of the page, you’ll find your award categories and a few design tools to allow you to change your page background and add text and titles.

Awardsoptions

You can also play around with the layout of the awards by merging the 1×1 spaces on the grid. You’ll notice in between each allocated awards space a little connecting bar and it you click this, the two squares become one larger rectangle which will fit a bar chart/pie chart showing your voting results and the winners photo :) If you want to change a certain space on the grid to show a different typoe of awards, simply click on the space and choose either pic, text, bar chart or pie chart using the drop down menu! You can also use this options box to delete spaces entirely to make room for titles or other text :)

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Once you’ve decided on your preferred layout, you can start to add in your awards! Clicking on each award categories at the top of the page will drop them into a random position on the grid or you can drag and drop them :) With photo awards, you can choose which image to use by clicking on the award space and then on the pic drop-down. You can use a members profile photo, find a photo from elsewhere in the book or if you’ve been clever enough to add in an awards label, you could filter by label too!

The Awards Designer will provide an idea of how each award will be displayed, but you will need to click Save at the bottom, and then view the page in the Yearbook preview tab to see how it will look when printed.If you have lots of awards (e.g. many more than 24!) or you would like to display them in text form rather than image form, then you can delete the boxes and simply add text boxes as displayed on the right hand page in the example below. Alternatively you can take complete creative control by using our collage tool to put together more text/photo based awards and most likely to pages :)

We will be adding more features to it over the coming weeks, so do tell us your feedback :)

awardsfinished

Staff Proof-readers for Year 11 and Year 13 Yearbooks

by ~ February 14th, 2014

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Throughout the yearbook process, you might stumble upon some rather shocking stories and photos, some of which may need editing or removing entirely to avoid any upset or embarrassment. As yearbook editors this is something you can monitor and you can always block/delete troublesome members if they’re misbehaving! In the same way that you want everything to be perfect so will your school. Schools work hard to provide you with a positive, safe and respectful community and it’s no surprise that they want to protect this! If your yearbook bears the school’s name and logo you will need to approach a staff member to proof the content before printing, that’s just how it is! They don’t need to be fully involved and they won’t take over your project but we do need that person to either:

  •  Agree to proof all content in the yearbook before printing

OR

  • Give the Chief Editor of the yearbook permission to proof.

It’s best to do this early on in your yearbook’s timeline – we all know how busy teacher’s are, and we don’t want proofing problems to delay your yearbook delivery. Often it’s the Head of Year, or perhaps the Business/Marketing Manager, or the Pastoral Heads of Year who get involved so have a chat to your favourite teacher and I’m sure they’ll be more than happy to help :)

Alternatively, you can create an Unaffiliated Yearbook. This would not bear any information that can be directly related to your school, and there are several conditions that would need to be met.

Awesome new collage features :)

by ~ February 5th, 2014

Our online collage tool is awesome, there’s no denying it! Not only can you make fab photo pages that fill your book with happy memories but you can also use it to make all sorts of interesting content for your books too :) Gone are the days of faffing with word docs and pesky PDF files! Intrigued? You should be! With a little creative thinking, you can make pages and pages of lovely yearbook goodness and here I am to prove it! Over the next week or so, I’ll be sharing lots of video tutorials to help you create lots of different page types using our lovely collage tool but for now I’m talking templates, text and the freedom of design :)

If you’ve not been online for a while,  shame on you! We’ve introduced fab new collage  features for you to enjoy :) To make quick and easy pages, you can now use choose from a range of templates in our collage tool. These don’t just cover collages but also divider pages, articles and form group spreads! Everything a happy yearbook ever needs! To find these templates, simply click into the collage and on ’choose template’- this will give you a drop down of all sorts of layouts so be sure to check these out!

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If you’ve designed your own page layout that you’d like to apply to multiple pages in your book, just let us know. We have a nifty little button we can press to make your saved layouts available as templates too :) You’ll notice some template layouts have multi-line text boxes (Hooray!) which means you can now make beautiful article pages for trips, events and decorate them using our themed backgrounds and your own photos! Another new feature you may have spotted is the quick tips button in your collage tool. If you click this, a drop down will appear with lots of design tips from Lee :) He’s essentially the collage king here in the office so have a read before you get started and you’ll be making awesome collages in no time!

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Pop back next week  for our short video tutorials on how to make dividers, articles, lookalikes, baby photos and other page types! Remember we’re here to offer help and advice so don’t be afraid to ask if you’d like us to double check what you’ve made or if you’re unsure on anything :)