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.

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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Collage like a pro!

With our brand new, custom made collaging tool!

We’ve been hard at work making an online tool for you to use to put your collage pages together – there’ll be no more waiting around in our design queues during our busy season, and you can make as many changes to your pages as you need to make sure they’re perfect for print. So once you’ve added your collage sections, you’ll notice a placeholder in the book preview. To start working on the collage itself, click into the section you want to edit and click the layout collage button as indicated below :) collage1

The next screen you see will be the design screen and you can play around with the layout of your collage, add additional pictures, add titles and do all sorts of cool things! When the collage is generated, it takes the form of an empty grid but you can alter this in many ways. We have a selection of grids that you can use if your simply looking to build collages quickly and you can view these by clicking on random grid.

collage2Now here’s the fun part! The blue arrow shows you how you can find and locate pictures uploaded to your yearbook. You’ll notice the gallery bar shows some pictures already- these are the last 50 photos added to the book but you can also use the drop down menus to search for other images too :)  By clicking onto an image in this gallery, you can drag and drop the pictures onto the page.

What else can I do?

Having the freedom to design your own collages is great but chances are you’ll be wanting more than just a grid of pictures on a page. We’ve given you all these options to play with too:

1- Add Frame -Need more photos per page? Simply click on the add frame button to add extra photo frames to the collages.

2- Add Text– you can title your pages here with a wide range of fonts, and pick a colour scheme to match the rest of your book. For the moment we only support single line text, so you needn’t write an essay – just a quick catchy title will do! :p

3- Shuffle– Quickly switches the images from frame to frame so you can view possible layouts with no fuss!

4- Scramble!– Puts all of your frames at a jaunty angle so the images appear scattered on the page.

5- Undo– Let’s you go back and undo the last change you made to the collage. Click this as many times as you need to :)

6- Redo– Reverses any action you’ve undone!collage3

If you click onto an image in your collage you’ll notice a little image options box appear as well as the blue handles that appear on the image itself. Use these handles to resize orrotate the frame, move the pic around within it, zoom in and out etc.
The grey ‘image options’ box allows you to play around with things like border colour,spacing between frames and frame rotation too, so have a play around and see what you can put together – if you find something you like, apply it to all frames in the collage using the ‘=’ button :)

~ The Pick up pic button is great for swapping photos from one frame to another – often an easier way to rearrange your page than resizing every frame separately – just move an image to a frame that’s already the right shape!

FINALLY, please take note of the Resolution setting at the bottom of the Image options box – this is key to getting a really high quality collage – Ideal resolution is 300dpi but if this number is less than 150dpi, the picture isn’t particularly high quality, and we’d suggest it is either made small on the page, or replaced with a better image – PLEASE ask us for help with this if you’re not sure, as it can make a huge difference to your printed book.

Get creative with our new online collage tool!

collagetoolHi guys, I know it’s late on a Friday afternoon but we’re super excited about the new collage tool that has just launched so here we are shouting about it! It’s literally just launched this afternoon so whether you’re just getting started on your collages, or you’ve  been eagerly waiting for the arrival of this awesome new feature, get online now and give it a whirl! If you have any questions about it, or feedback (we’d be glad to hear your thoughts too!), you can leave us a message in the chat box and we’ll get back to you asap 🙂

Not sure where to start? Check out this handy support article! We’ll be talking about collages in lots of detail on Monday and you’ll also be able to check out our shiny, new video tutorials to help you create the best collages ever! Happy Friday everyone and we cant wait to see what you create 🙂

Even more new features!!!

It’s Friday (hooray!!) and we’ve had yet another week of productive yearbooking in the office. We’ve been busy sending out our sample packs, visiting schools and you guessed it… adding even more great features for you! So what’s new this week?

Firstly you may have noticed the activity feed in your yearbook home page has become more versatile- you can now click on a specific person to find out what they’ve been up to in the yearbook, choose a specific question and review everyone’s answers to this and more. Super useful when it comes to proof-reading but also great for giving you ideas for your own profile! Generally members can use the links to hop between sections in the yearbook and it also acts a prompt for your members to fill out their own profile, vote on awards etc 🙂 Handy stuff huh?!

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You’ll also notice a new ‘Me’ tab which is where you can review everything for your profile; answers, suggestions, pictures, the lot! Perfect for yearbooking on the go especially if you’re using your phone or other mobile device to add content to the book!

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Our developers have been listening intently to your feedback, and have now added 6 and 9 per page templates. These are perfect if you want a small photo per person, and enough room for a quote, or a couple of lines of text. They are also very well suited to Teacher/Staff pages 🙂

Ta-dah! That’s all for this week but do let us know if you’re looking for other features or if you have any feedback 🙂 Have a good weekend guys!

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!

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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Preparing for the 2013 busy season

Preparing for the 2013 busy season

At the end of August 2012, and after nearly two years of development, we launched our new and exciting yearbook creation system along with a raft of changes to our product and pricing. Feedback on these changes has been overhwelmingly positive, however there have also been some comments about features we used to have that were missing.

We’ve been rolling out new features and improvements since launching in August, but unfortunately the speed of the roll out hasn’t been fast enough and there was no easy way to fix this. Our yearbook business is extremely seasonal and it’s crucial that we’re able to fully support all of our customers during the busy period that kicks off this month.

At the end of November I took the decision to take the best bits of our new system and the best bits of our old system and fuse them together. This enables our customers to keep our fantastic new page designs whilst also benefiting from a quicker roll out of features that are required for the yearbook busy season. What’s lost is our new system’s book-centric interface, but we’ve worked hard to ensure this shouldn’t cause any problems. We’ve also lost some aspects of the real-time nature of the new system, but these should gradually reappear over the coming weeks.

Regards,

Jake Gordon
Managing Director
AllYearbooks Limited

Here are some answers to questions you might have about our changes:

Help! Everything looks different!

The interface has changed but all your data remains intact. Please take a few minutes to explore the new interface and do get in touch if you get stuck.

Do I need to create a new yearbook?

No – we’ve copied all your data across to our new system.

Will my or my members’ log in details still work?

Yes.

What’s the new web address for my yearbook?

Use the same web address you were using before.

How do I upload pages I’ve made myself now?

We will relaunch this feature over the coming days.

How does this affect the price of my yearbooks?

It doesn’t.

How will this affect the design of my yearbook?

It doesn’t.

Why isn’t uploading photos as quick and easy any more?

We will be makiing improvements to uploads over the coming days.

As a member, how do I preview what my profile will actually look like now?

Right now, you can’t – you can only see an HTML representation of your entry. However, on saving any answers to profile questions you will be notified how much space you have left to write in, or if you’ve gone over your limit. We hope to add a feature for you to be able preview your profile again in the coming weeks.

A warm welcome and some new features!

We’d like to start this blog post by welcoming the new yearbook coordinators, Harry and Becky, who bring their skills and experience to our team! They’ve joined us temporarily to help us during the busy season for yearbooks, which is just kicking off.

As always, we’ve been working hard to create new features that make it much easier, faster and more fun to make yearbooks! We’ve just launched an update that has provided some overhauling to photos and collages.

The first thing you’ll probably notice from this update is that you can now rate photos. This should become quite useful for yearbook editors when deciding on photos to include in the yearbook, since this should provide a good understanding of which are the most-loved photos.

You’ll also notice from the above screenshot that there are some buttons beneath the photo rating area: these are for the yearbook editors’ future reference. If there is a photo that really should be included in the yearbook, then it can be marked with a star. On the other hand, if there’s a photo that probably shouldn’t be included in the yearbook, it can be flagged.

This is the new collage submission process, where you can select the photos that you’d like our designers to include in the collages they create for your yearbook. Starred photos appear at the top of the list, flagged photos appear at the end, and everything in between is sorted by rating, from highest to lowest.

When you first load this page, the list of photos to include is automatically generated based on importance and ratings — but you’re free to adapt this to your liking. You can also use the sliders to adjust the amount of photos you’d like to display on each page, along with the amount of pages you’d like them to span over.

Finally, in the examples drawer you’ll find an assortment of collages that we’ve previously produced for other yearbooks. If you find one you like, simply click the “Use as a creative reference” button to support your creative instructions.

We hope you enjoy these new features. If you have any feedback, please do let us know!