Collage Don’ts: Avoiding common mistakes

Freedom is a great thing don’t you agree?! When designing your photo montages, you have complete control as to which images go where and how everything is presented. Sometimes though the range of possibilities can lead us astray so today I’m talking collage do’s and don’ts to help you create the happiest pages 🙂


Let’s start with everything that’s right and wonderful about this example. Firstly, the page feels full- there’s no glaring gaps of empty space and there is a nice balance of images across the spread. Each photo is nicely framed and centred and the images are all fairly well lit so nothing will print too dark. When you have lots of group photos, it is best to use fewer frames and make the images larger on the page. This will allow you to see everybody in the photos clearly; when you’re 80 and squinting at your book through thick spectacles you’ll thank me for this!

There are lots of fabulous backgrounds available through the system so you should always find a nice one to use in your designs that will complement the theme and content you wish to include. If you’re developing a theme throughout the whole book, why not try variations of backgrounds along similar theme sets. i.e. different types of papers for journal styles. If you love a particular background but feel it’s too busy or heavy for the page, you can always reduce the opacity so you have a lighter version of the design 🙂


When making any yearbook pages, you’ll notice there are some faint grey boxes around the edges of the page to guide you 🙂 These boxes indicate the safety margins on the page and whilst it’s fine to bleed backgrounds over this, you’ll want to keep important content within these lines to ensure nothing gets cut out in the spine of the book or is too close to the edges of the page. In the example below, we can see the title text goes across the gutter and the middle of the text is hard to read as it goes into the spine. This is the kind of thing to avoid where possible!

openBookbMoving on to our second example, you can see there is a big difference here. The images are scattered on the page randomly and it all feels a little haphazard! As you drop images into frames think about the frame size you’ve used. You wouldn’t put a portrait image into a landscape photo frame in real life so why do it online. By selecting suitable sized frames, you can ensure no one in your image gets decapitated (always a good thing)! Similarly avoid letting your photos go off the edges of the pages as these may be trimmed when the book is put together.

There is no magic remedy for dark and pixelated images so if you choose to include them, be aware that these can look pretty bad in print. Anyways check your print resolution PDF file to ensure you are happy with how they will look when printed and if possible, try to find alternative images for better results. Any extremely low resolution images will be flagged to you so you can discuss them with your team and make decisions accordingly.

So to repeat, a good collage =  well lit, good quality photos with group photos in prominent larger frames and photos centred! If you’re ever unsure about your page designs and need a second opinion, just leave us a chat message and we’ll have a look over them for you 😀 Have fun…

the AYB team

‘Me in a photo’ Quiz Pages

festival This is such an awesome page idea and we think this will be the big addition to many editors page plans this year! Summing up your personality, interests and style, each person submits one photo that really says it all…then you make a awesome quiz page and you get something that looks a little like this…


You can make this page so easily as a collage and is a fun twist on the traditional text based quiz pages you see in most yearbooks. So come on then, how well do you know your year group?

Stargazer Yearbook Theme


‘I know nothing with any certainty but the sight of the stars makes me dream’

Vincent Van Gogh may have been a little unhinged but he’s right sure right about this! We’re all dreamers when it comes to a beautiful night sky so it’s no wonder this has been so popular as a yearbook theme over the past few years. I’m not sure I’ve seen a year 11 yearbook go to print without at least 1 person sharing the ‘Shoot for the moon and even if you miss you’ll land amongst the stars’ quote! If you want to go for a stargazer theme, you’ll need to head in one of two ways- sci-fi style or dreamy journal style 🙂 Sci-fi styling looks fab with contrasting deep blues and silvers with title fonts like Megrim and body text in Orbiton.

If you’d prefer a softer approach, ‘Dawn of a new day’ is a delightful handwritten font that looks fab on our constellation inspired Wire Frame background and Starfield background that you can see in the example below.



Now we’ve addressed the fonts and theme choices, let’s see it in action hey?! In true Blue Peter style, here is a profile design we made earlier…


And for your cover design, a swirling nebular background teamed with a simple title creates a very distinct look… plus there is still plenty of room on the back cover to list peoples names, add a photo or maybe even an inspirational quote!


Reach for the stars yearbookers and you might just find the perfect theme for your book! Happy stargazing 😀

In my locker….


I remember my last day of school well and I especially remember saying goodbye to my old locker (well binning most of the rubbish that had found it’s way into there over my 2 years in upper school)! Your locker is an extension of you so why not investigate what’s in there and make some cool pages from your findings like these ones!


Boys Locker Page

Making a page like this is super simple to do. Just jot down what you want to appear and do a quick search online for some images. Once again, I’d suggest having a look for PNG files so search ‘pencils PNG’ as this will bring up more images with transparent backgrounds. You can then use the arrows from our PNG elements and title text boxes to annotate your page!

Girls Locker Page

Happy yearbooking everyone and I’ll be back soon with more yearbook chat and page ideas 😀

What a performance! Remembering your school shows and plays…


When I was at school I had the terrifying experience of performing on stage a whopping three times. I was pretty much the opposite to a drama kid but my friends encouraged me to be in at least one school play over the years. I gave a somewhat wooden appearance as a narrator in Charlie and the Chocolate factory which was enough for me to decide that the stage was not the place for me!! For those of you who are into the arts and love to be in every show going though, creating a few montages for the performances is a nice addition for your yearbook. Cast and crew spend a lot of hours working to put these shows together so be sure to celebrate your talented actors in your yearbook montages 😀

Usually school have a few photos of the shows that have taken place so speak to your drama teachers about where to find these and then top up with those taken by friends and parents 🙂 Backgrounds with stars and red curtains are the most commonly used ones for performances and you can add titles and show logos in .PNG format if you can find them!

Preparing for Christmas Jumper Day!


It’s Christmas Jumper Day this Friday which means many of you have been wearing your festive knitwear to school this week 🙂 If your school has hosted a great fundraising event, be sure to include lots of snaps for your yearbook and use our epic festive background pack to theme your pages! We’ve even got a Christmas jumper background for you- how’s that for forward planning?!

Making Trend Pages


You probably spotted our Trends page in your sample book so I was keen to show you all how to make something similar. First thing you need to do is make a note of what’s hot and what’s not right now. If you’re going for a trends page, think about the different games, apps and fashions that have been and gone over the years 🙂

Now hit the web and have a look for some images to go with your fads and trends. When you search online, try searching for your subject matter then add PNG file to the end of the search. This way you’re more likely to get images with transparent backgrounds so you’ll have more freedom to design and get creative with layering content!

Now upload all of your PNG files or JPGs to your book and play around with nice bright colours to add some vibrancy to the page! I’ve used the palette below and topped this with some bright orange PNG banners 🙂


By adding coloured blocks and layering white text over this, we’ve created this slick cut-out effect that’s bang on trend with magazine style layouts and design! Having bold splashes of colour coming in from the sides of your pages will give your layout a really playful feel and you can develop these colour blocks into a theme for your whole yearbook 😀

Marvellous Movember


November is a time for moustache madness thanks to Movember fundraising and many of your teachers will be trying their upmost to prove their manliness with epic facial hair. I wanted to share with you this rather hilarious collage quiz that Dulwich Preparatory School made in their yearbook a year or two ago in homage of this great charity fundraising project  😀 we hope to hear and see many more stories of your school Movember efforts over the coming month!

Pinterest for all!


Like a lot of people out there, I enjoy Pinterest! It’s a fab site that allows you to save info and images to boards for reference later. If you’re in the process of deciding on a theme for example, head over and pop a few ideas in a search- you might decide that idea doesn’t work or you might find loads of cool examples to get your creative brain ticking 🙂 Either way, have fun and explore it I’d say. And if you’re interested, pop to our collection of yearbook quotes, typography and design ideas boards for more yearbook chat and tips! We’ll be adding to these throughout the year so do follow any boards that you’re interested in so you get updates on our latest pins.

Halloween Background Pack

HalloweenWe always have a lot of laughs in the office about your fabulous fancy dress costumes so be sure to include your Halloween photos in your books this year 🙂 To help you create suitably spooky pages, we’ve put together a special collection of Halloween backgrounds for you all to collage and create with. 

Happy Yearbooking!