An eye for design: Proofing visual elements of your yearbooks

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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.

Awesome Awards

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 🙂

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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.

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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 🙂

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Awesome new collage features :)

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 🙂

The definitive guide to Yearbook Awards!

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Awards and “Most Likely To…” pages are the best 🙂 We love watching you create them, and they are still fun to read in 5 or 10 years time! Our Awards page designer will be up and running mid-late Feb, so now is the perfect time to start adding your awards and encourage everyone to get voting 🙂

Top Ideas

You can add funny or serious awards, or perhaps a mix of both. Perhaps some awards for things currently at school (e.g. Best Smile) and some “Most Likely To Be…” future-oriented awards. We’re always amazed by the inventive categories that crop up but here are some of our favourites.

What to Avoid

Everyone has inside jokes, but it is a good idea to remember that something you find funny may not be so funny to others. For example, the person who wins the “Most likely to go to prison” award may not be very chuffed, and neither will their parents.

We will not print your book without your staff proofreader checking it, so please don’t include anything upsetting or offensive as the odds are pretty good that you’ll be asked to remove it!  We don’t want your yearbooks to be late because there needed to be a last minute change to delete inappropriate awards, and we reserve the right to refuse to print anything particularly questionable.

 

Casting Your Votes

To add an award, click on the “Sections” tab, scroll down and click “Manage awards”. Here you can add/remove awards, and choose the nominees.manage_awards

There are two ways to set up nominees for the awards:

  1. Default option: everyone who is a member (or editor) of the yearbook will appear as a nominee for every award
  2. Custom option: you can set up a list of specific nominees for each award. This is good for joint awards, or gender specific awards 🙂

Once everyone has finished voting, you can close the awards. This means that members will no longer be able to cast votes. Within “Manage awards” click “Close all awards now”.

 

Design Ideas

Our new Awards page designer will be ready mid-late February.

81st Academy Awards¨ Press Kit Images You will be able to create fantastic pages using the data collected from voting, and use fun images and graphs to display the results 🙂 It will be similar in style to the Collage Designer interface, and you will be able to add pie charts, bar charts, trophies and ribbons, as well as using photos of members.

You can also create your own Awards pages if you prefer – use the software of your choice and then upload the page/s as a custom page from the “Sections” tab.

Understanding image resolution

It’s all starting to feel a little more real now the new year is out of the way and many of you are starting to think about developing your yearbook designs which is fab! If you’ve been chatting to us about your design, I’m sure you’ve heard the phrases ‘high resolution’ and ‘print quality’ bandied around quite a bit – that’s because we want you to be amazed with the finished quality of your book. Getting your head around image resolutions and why they actually make a difference can be a little tricky so here is a little overview to explain more 🙂

Put in simple terms, the quality of your image is tied to the resolution. Every image you upload is created from lots of tiny dots, each capturing a little piece of the overall image. The greater the DPI (dots per inch) the more detail you’ll capture in your images.  If you have a low resolution image (anything >150dpi), you’ll find it looks a little pixelated, blurry and lacking in detail. With higher resolution images (300dpi), there is more information stored giving you a crisper, more defined image (and a bigger smile when you open your books) which is better for everybody! Whilst you’re uploading images, for profiles, your cover, collages etc, you’ll notice resolution warnings and these are here to help 🙂

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You might find an image and think ‘this looks spot on’ and then be a little surprised when we ask for a higher resolution version. This is because print resolution is generally much larger than screen resolution, take at look at this if you don’t believe me 🙂 quite a difference right?

So now we have a bit of an understanding about resolutions, lets see it in action! Lets say I want to make my yearbook cover using our logo…

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The logo looks fine here right? Nice and clear and no problems. As we start to enlarge this towards print resolution, you’ll see the edges have started to get a little pixelated and it’s all starting to look a little fuzzy  😦 AYB Logo1

You wouldn’t be pleased if your books arrived looking less than perfect and nor would we be, so as a general rule for logos, you’ll need to chat to a staff member- usually anything you’ll find online is teeny-tiny and sadly there is no magical way to make transform them into beautiful high quality images for you. As you collect photos you’ll also notice varying degrees of quality; this is normal and this is due to a lot of factors such as improved camera technology (mobile phones of yesteryears had pretty bad cameras!), whether you’ve got the original camera file or scanned printed photos etc. If the image isn’t swamping your laptop screen it’s probably going to be low resolution and unsuitable for printing on a larger scale i.e. as your cover/ endpapers/double page photos or as a custom background. The key is to look at your image objectively and check:

  • clarity– does the image look sharp and clear?
  • source– where has this image come from? Could I find a better version from somewhere else?
  • size– what are the dimensions of the image? Check our guides to covers and pages for more info 🙂

I hope this helps a little and let us know if you have any questions. We’ll be holding a yearbook photography workshop soon to help you get the most out of your yearbooks so keep in touch using our online chat, facebook and twitter 🙂

Import pics from Facebook

Now it’s even easier to add your favourite photos into your yearbook 😀

You will need to be connected to Facebook for this option to be available – you can manage your connection settings by clicking on the Facebook button in the top right of the page, or by following the instructions in the pop-up.

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  • Simply click on the “Pics” tab, and then the “Add pics” button.
  • You can upload photos as normal, or choose to import pics from Facebook.

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  • Select the photos you would like to import. Only photos that you have been tagged in will appear as choices.

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CV Skills – How to make your yearbook work for you

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Just this morning I was chatting to a student who had started a project with an ulterior motive in mind. She wasn’t making it purely for the memories (it’s a nice little bonus though) but as a means to fulfilling an academic project 🙂 Courses such as the AQA Baccalaureate include an extended project which lends itself perfectly to modern day yearbooking – you choose a project, research, manage and evaluate the process once completed – awesome right?! So with this in mind, we thought we’d discuss the benefits of being a yearbook editor in relation to your studies.

In some cases, such as the example above, the relationship is evident straight from the start but you might not have considered the CV boosting skills that are part and parcel with being a yearbook editor. Many of you will be facing interviews for college and university soon and why not share your experiences! By being part of the yearbook team you’ll gain:

  • Organisational/Time management skills
  • Project Management skills
  • Research skills as you source photos and other content
  • Design skills
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Proof-reading skills

and many more! So if you’re intrigued about how your yearbook can work for you, or if you’re a member of staff interested in the academic benefits discussed, just get in touch. We’re always delighted to answer any questions you may have 🙂  Reach us on 01223 503259 or pop an email over to us at hi@allyearbooks.co.uk

Creating beautiful pages

Lee, our resident designer, has written a guide to help you craft unique and beautiful pages using the wide range of tools that our system offers.

The tutorial includes advice for how to customise your background, choosing a complementary colour palette, and picking fonts best suited to the style you want to create.

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Lee covers the common pitfalls you can encounter when designing your pages, and offers tips and advice to avoid clashing colours, and boring backgrounds 🙂 We want to help you realise your design vision, and help you create a stunning yearbook to preserve your memories.

The possible colour and theme combinations are almost infinite, and we are so excited to be able to offer you complete customisation of your pages – let your imagination run wild!

Monday Moodboard: Art Deco

Looking for something with style and class? Art Deco exudes sophistication and the bygone era has been revitalised thanks to the Great Gatsby and period dramas such as Downton Abbey. Think stylised geometrics, rich colours and graphic frames and you could be talking about our new theme!

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This theme is perfect to showcase your Prom and Ball photos – think of all the gowns!  N.B. Don’t fancy it in green? You can now change the background colour and design of your pages – simply choose “Customise background” under the Design part of your yearbook section!

Custom Backgrounds: personalise your pages

Custom backgrounds are here!

Have you chosen a theme and layout, but want something a bit different for the background? Great!

If you would like a custom photo (e.g. the school grounds, school building) as the background, let us know. We will ask you to email over a high quality version of that file, and we can add it as a background option for you to apply. The same goes for school crests and badges – email over a high resolution version of the crest, and let us know which colours you would like, and our designers will create a background for you 🙂

This feature will allow you complete control over your book, and will help you maintain your chosen design and style across all of your pages. You can see 22 designs that we have uploaded in the “Design” area of your yearbook sections. We will be adding more and more, so let us know if there is something specific you would like to see. Check out our support site for details.

8 themes, 25 layouts, endless colour combinations… we give you the most freedom possible!

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