Get the look: Movie Glamour theme


Who watched the BAFTA’s at the weekend? Feeling inspired by Hollywood’s hottest? Why not recall all the famous faces of your school days and do it with style with a movie glamour theme 🙂

So when you think of the movies, you think of red carpets, lush velvet curtains and golden highlights right? Naturally you’ll want to build these colours into your palette so something like this is a great starting point:


When it comes to fonts,  there are some great theatrical choices that look awesome in this kind of theme. Limelight has been one of our trusty favourites for years now but be sure to create a nice mix of bold title fonts and stylised body text options too. Poiret One is a great choice for example 🙂


If you’re keen to develop your movie theme further, we’ve got a range of backgrounds that will look fab for your profiles, awards, collages and so on. Take this Oscars theme for example- it works perfectly as a background for your profiles as the colouring is light enough to support lots of text. We’ve also added this movie strip frame to a series of profile photos too 😀


Now obviously awards are a big thing in the movie industry and if you’re keen to follow suit, mix things up with some PNG frames and plaques. You’ll find these light box frames in the graphics and clipart draw and you can layer text and photos over them for some great results!

movie awards-page-001

Alternatively why not choose a specific movie or genre that inspires you and use this as a base for your design. I love this great Gatsby inspired book as it incorporated wonderful Art Deco graphics and styling. We’ve also seen Star Wars themed yearbooks and Mean Girls inspired books so there’s no limit to what is possible!


If you’re yearbooking this half -term, rest assured we’re still on hand to assist despite the holidays! If you have any questions about your chosen yearbook themes or your project in general, just get in touch by phone, email , instant chat or whatsapp 🙂

the AYB team

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

Colour Palettes


“The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love colour the most”            -John Ruskin

Bold and beautiful yearbooks are full of careful design choices and picking the perfect colour palettes for your pages will really help you create distinctive and unique creations. Unlike other companies, we believe that you, the designers and editors of the yearbook, know best when it comes to picking the perfect palettes for your yeargroup. We have some pre-made palettes if you’d like to use them but you always have the option of customising your palette choices too. Whether you’re using your school and house colours to theme your book or going completely wild with colourful pages and backgrounds, you’ll need to choose wisely for maximum impact.

As yearbook coordinators, we see thousands of pages made each year and we know a thing or two about making a yearbook stand out. Whilst it may be tempting to choose the most vivid of red or to pair bright neon colours, these don’t necessarily translate well in in print. You want people to enjoy reading their books so the first rule is about making your text elements legible…



You might look at this example and think it’s obvious but you’d be surprised just how often this comes up. If you have text elements on the page, make sure they are easy to read by using a contrasting font colour. Here you can see the white text is super hard to read but the black is much clearer. If you’re unsure on what colours will contrast each other well, have a look at this colour wheel as a starting point:


In this second example, you can see the black text over a background which uses a black  and white pattern. This obscures some areas of the text so in this instance we would change the opacity settings to ensure you still get the patterned background but the text is still legible.



Whilst it’s important to have contrasting colours in your colour palette, you probably wont want this for all available colour options. As a reminder, you have 5 main colours to select plus black and white which appear in all palettes anyway. If you pick 2 or 3 main feature colours for your page, you can then build up your palette with complementary tones. These can be used to accent details on the page or as frames for your images for example.


If you’ve picked a theme for your yearbook, you might find that inspires a set colour palette for you to work with. If you’ve been inspired by social media for example, you’ll probably want to use a recognisable palette of colours to reflect this. If you’re unsure what the exact colours are, try sampling from an image using online colour picking tools to provide you with hexcodes. I often use this website as it’s really straightforward to use:



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 😀

Boarding House Books


Living with your classmates all the time might be a nightmare for some but there are lots of you out there who are school boarders. If you’re not making a yearbook for your full year group, you can always make a group book for your halls of residence or boarding house instead. In fact, as long as you’re ordering 20+ copies, you can make them for friendship groups if you like!

Once you’ve been room mates with someone for a long time, the transition from this can be really hard going. With a lovely leavers book though you can remember all the good times and keep in touch with old dorm buddies 😀 Visit for an instant quote today and be sure to request a free sample book and info pack whilst you’re online too!

Christmas Background Pack


Christmas is my favourite holiday of the year and I’m of the crazy variety that starts to wear festive jumpers in October 🙂 I am always very excited to see so many people donning their Christmas jumpers for charity so get involved and find the most cheesy ones you can. One with lights and music would be epic! Ok, calm down and let’s not get sidetracked! The real news today is the launch of our festive background pack- hooray.
Be sure to capture the winter ball, Christmas jumper days, snow days and more this winter and include them all in your yearbooks! We’ve also got a lovely 2016 background you can use for new years celebrations, prom and other events throughout the coming year 😀

the AYB team

Get the look: Social Savvy


It’s said that teenagers spend on average 31 hours a week online so it’ll come as no big surprise that so many yearbookers are trying to incorporate social media styling into their projects. Last year we saw hundreds of snapchat collages going into books and there was a great celebration of all things social (and a little bit silly) about year groups today 🙂 I expect we’ll be seeing even more snapchat photos in books again this year! 

The key to replicating your online profiles with your yearbook ones first comes down to colour choice. Picking the perfect palette is super important so to help you get started here are the ones you’ll need:


Twitter Palette


Snapchat Palette


Facebook Palette


Instagram Palette

When it comes to font choices, you’ll need to have a look at the fonts used on your social sites and find a close match. Look at the qualities of the fonts to do this- are they chunky or thin, curvy or more angular?

Constructing your page layout may take a little time to get just right and you might need to tweak your designs according to how much text you want to show, how many photos a person has and so on. To prove it’s really possible, here is a page I made earlier:


If you’ve got your heart set on a social media style layout for your yearbook, do give me a shout if you have any questions 🙂 This theme will test you in terms of shapes and layering but the final effect is pretty darn close right!

We love


No that’s not a misstype! is a fab website for creating colour palettes that really work.You can explore which colours gel well and it’s gets bonus points for giving you the hex codes for each colour in the palette too 🙂 If you go back to your book, you can build these hex codes into your theme with a simple copy and paste- hoorah for bright colourful pages that don’t make your eyes bleed!


Get the Look: Try our School Smarts Yearbook Theme

schoolIf you really want to capture your school life in your yearbook, you can opt to work in a school theme to your cover artwork and page designs. Uniform inspired covers have been really big in 2015 and they’re set to be in high demand again in 2016! So starting with this cover idea, how is it done? Well, you just need to supply your school colours and logo for this design. If you can’t get hold of a high resolution logo from school, try laying your uniform on a flat surface and taking a photo of the crest on there. Again, this image needs to be as high resolution as possible as it’s quite a big feature for this cover! With this cover, design you also have a lot of room to play with on the back cover so you can add a photo, word cloud or your year groups names in the shape of a 16 if you like 🙂


Setting your school colours as your palette is the easiest way to develop your school theme and personalise your book. Backgrounds such as paper textures work especially well but also ones like the chalkboard and pinboards look great in this theme.

custom background

Similarly, you can also ask us to create a custom background using your school logo 🙂 If you’ve got different house groups you wish to incorporate, you can easily create distinct sections in the book using the different palette colours and section dividers.


When it comes to fonts, you’ll probably want to select a combination of handwritten styles and bold title fonts such as Graduate and Vast Shadow. Graduate has a really American feel to it so would be perfect if you’re looking to recreate American style yearbook pages! For your main body fonts, you’ll want to pick something a little smaller but do ensure it’s clear enough as a smaller font size. If you need to squeeze in a lot of text in 8pt font lets say, you’ll want to avoid anything too skinny or swirly which may be quite hard to read. For more info on fonts, check out my last post on font pairing 🙂


Font Pairing 101

The fonts you choose for your books will really influence the finished look of your pages so it’s worth spending a little time getting the perfect selection in place. First think about your theme for the book as this will probably affect your choices straight away. If you’re looking to create something really sleek and professional, formal angular fonts are great. If you want a more personal feel, selecting a palette of playful handwritten fonts will really help you create this affect. Whatever you choose, this will impact on the font family you put together and to help you get started here’s our 2 step plan to pro font pairings….

Step 1

Think about the areas of text you’ll have in your book. Probably profile answers will be the most text heavy areas so this is your first focus point. If you’ve only got a small space for profile answers, you might want to avoid smaller, ornate or swirly fonts. Whilst they look fab as big titles, these font styles can be hard to read if they’re too small and ideally you want to be able to read those profiles right?!

Step 2

102 (2)-page-001

Choose a complimentary or contrasting font for page titles and larger text. Complimentary fonts as shown in the top example work in harmony with the main body font for a very smooth finish. You can always change the text colours to generate contrast in this instance 🙂 The bottom example shows two contrasting fonts, one thin and one thicker and curvier. Which do you prefer?


If your heart is set on one consistent font throughout the book, you might like to try incorporating the same font in its various italic, bold and caps forms to help you keep things fresh and interesting. Next to a font name in the theme menu, you’ll see a drop down of any available alternatives for you to use. Just add the same font to two of your palette choices for example and set one to normal and one to italic.

Want more font ideas? Check out our typography board on Pinterest for some creative uses of text and layouts: