chapter 2 - editorial concept

Editorial Concept - Title 2

editorial concept - idea

As a leader of the project, think about the general concept of your book before starting anything else. Focus on your audience and list potential topics. Brainstorm with your team, get to know what other schools do and organise all this goodness your own way.

Content: What will you put in your yearbook this year?

Well, there are tons of ideas out there and you’re about to discover a few! However it’s important to understand that a good book is an ensemble of things based on a good structure.

01. Things you can get from your school

Don’t know where to start? Yearbook content is all about your school life. Get in touch with the school administration to collect the basic information.


Leave no one out! Compose a list — collect names, contact information, and any important data that may be relevant in your yearbook. This may include organisations that students are involved in, subjects taught by the faculty, number of years served at the school, etc. Compare your list to a directory to make sure everyone is accounted for.

– Students by Year
– School Captains
– Dux/Achievers
– Student Leaders
– Staff by Subject (English, Maths, etc)

editorial concept - students


Staff are as much a part of your school as the teachers. Document what they do for your campus, and get their contact information so they can help when required. It may help to collect some interesting facts about them.

– Maintenance & Cleaning
– Administration & Support
– Advisers Assistants & Volunteers
– Canteen/Cafeteria


Extracurricular activities are vital to the spirit of your school. Compose a list of all the ways students can be involved and what parties are in charge. Don’t hesitate to reach out to these clubs, because they may want to add some of their own content and you can gain great interview material.

– List of Clubs
– Club Leaders
– Club Events

editorial concept - contact list


Obtaining a schedule of your school’s events will give you great opportunities to document student life. These include school dances, sports events, awards ceremonies, and more. It may also be nice to include the events calendar in your yearbook for students to reminisce over. Your team should make use of this schedule to organise their photoshoots and interviews.

– Sports Carnivals
– Formal Nights
– Open Nights
– Excursions


Gathering the school’s marketing materials will help you visualise your direction for design, and also help set the mood of what your yearbook will evoke (reminiscent, spirited, etc.). This is a good idea-generating process for what you think will be valuable additions to your yearbook.

– Previous Yearbooks
– School Logo
– School Colours
– Flyers, Brochures

editorial concept - marketing


Involve the Principal. Ask what topics they think should be included in your yearbook. Have a day where the Principal joins a staff meeting or meets the editorial team to brainstorm ideas that could be fun, appropriate, and school-mission centered. The benefit about including the Principal is you know whatever they suggest will be approved!

Editoral concept - Expert advice

02. The benefits of collective thinking

Brainstorming with your team is a great way to find new ideas. It encourages people to think of solutions – from crazy to brilliant – and helps build a book that everyone will remember.

Editorial Concept - Brainstorming

Editorial Concept - PRO TIP

Be prepared
Identify the goals, set a time limit and assign a moderator to keep the debate constructive.

Keep ideas anonymous
Some people are shy, others are not. Maximise the number of ideas by removing any peer pressure.

Discuss each idea together
Put each idea on the table. Everyone should bring a positive and a negative comment. Choose the ones that are the most convincing.

Take notes, but keep it visual
Use sticky notes and sketch out your ideas on a white board to make sure each idea is correctly interpreted.

What would normal people think about this?
Include someone who has nothing to do with the project. It will give you an idea of what an outside reader can think about your ideas.

Sum everything up and share the results with your team
Session done? Take some time to analyze the results, then share them with your team. It’s a good way to make sure you didn’t forget something.

03. A few other ways to find inspiration

Spark your curiosity! The best yearbooks are those that break the mold. You can use the internet to discover new and creative ways to mix up the traditional yearbook template and make it your own.

Editorial concept - guides

Free downloads
Discover our complete collection of free downloadable guides to take you through the different aspects of yearbook creation.


The Yearbook newsfeed
Visit our blog or sign up to our monthly newsletter! Hundreds of tips, tricks and ideas are waiting for you.

Editorial concept - pinterest

Follow us on Pinterest
Plenty of covers, pages and spreads from around the world to give you inspiration for your project! Follow us here

Editorial concept - templates

Hundreds of beautiful themes are just waiting for you!


Structure – How to organise your book better?

Now that you have written all your ideas down, it’s time to organise them in your yearbook. Gather your topics into sections, find the right balance between all of them and plan your book while keeping your audience in mind.

04. Gather your topics

Create a master list of the topics you want to cover. It will be beneficial to classify their categories or divide them into specific sections to better gauge if your yearbook is too heavy with any particular topic. It may be a good idea to keep backup topics to use as a substitute in case some don’t work out.

– The Cover
– Table Of Contents
– Editorial
– Sports

– Culture
– Events
– Profile Pages
– Excursions

05. Sort your sections

Create a master list of the topics you want to cover. It will be beneficial to classify their categories or divide them into specific sections to better gauge if your yearbook is too heavy with any particular topic. It may be a good idea to keep backup topics to use as a substitute in case some don’t work out.

– The Cover
– Table Of Contents
– Editorial
– Sports
– Culture
– Events
– Profile Pages

– Excursions
– Classes
– Teachers’ Pages
– Superlatives
– News Of The Year
– Parents’ Messages
– Autographs

06. Sketch out your book

Editorial concept - drafts

Like magazine editors, sketch out the entirety of your book on paper. Code your sections with different colours so you can visually observe the diversity of your yearbook content. This is a good reminder that the yearbook is a visual journey for your readers, so take time to envision the design and layout of each page.

Free resource!
Download a 200+ page book blueprint as a spreadsheet to help you setup your sections.

07. Article types to keep your readers hooked

Create a wide array of possible article topics and styles to keep your reader entertained. Explore some of the different options below and their purposes.

The editorial article is a representation of your school’s opinion and vision for this year. You can use this format to take an optimistic stance on controversial topics, such as budget cuts, new policies, and more.

This is an effective format to inform people of facts and figures. Use a report article to talk about how your sports teams performed, improvements in test scores or where the seniors are heading.

A portrait article can be used to acknowledge or highlight a person who is making your school a better place. Profile your sports MVP, Teacher of the Year, a new principal or new administrator. This is a great way to show your appreciation.

Feature articles are like windows into human experiences. Review your list of school events and select a couple dates that hold intriguing potential that your student body may want to read about. Think about homecoming games, dances, senior trips, etc.

This type of article is great when featuring people of higher stature or intrigue. Find out who the students want to hear from. Are there any unique alumni, community member stories or other topics that would benefit from an expert’s input?

A column article is great for sports, advice or humor. This is more of an opinion piece reflecting on a topic relevant to your readers. Remember to establish the credibility of your writer or risk losing reader interest

Editorial concept - key-figures

08. Examples of yearbook structure

Use these simple formatting tips to organise your book in an appealing way.


editorial concept - chronological structure

CHRONOLOGICAL. Create a linear journey through your academic year arranging your articles in the order they occurred. Start with a piece about students on their first day back to school and end with a report about the seniors who are moving on.

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Editorial concept - Flashback structure

FLASHBACK. In the opposite direction of the chronological order, the flashback structure starts at the most recent event and works backwards. This is ideal if you want to place the most date-relevant information at the start.

Editorial concept - tapered structure

TAPERED. The tapered structure is starting off with your strongest, most entertaining articles and ending with the pieces you deem not as engaging. This structure is great for making a striking first impression.

09. Ingredients for better readibility

Let’s be honest — whether it’s on the internet, smartphones or print, people don’t like to read the entire copy. When faced with a long article, it’s natural to just skim through it. If you have more than one subject or fact to mention in your article, consider visually differentiating them.


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Editorial concept - Readability - 01

TITLES, SUBHEADINGS, SUBTITLES. Keep your articles in bite-size pieces. Using titles, subheadings, and subtitles will help you break up your writing into concise and purposeful paragraphs. This eliminates the intimidation factor of a text-heavy page, and also lets your reader breathe.

Editorial concept - Readability - 02

PULL QUOTES. Pull quotes are short and powerful quotations used to catch your reader’s attention and introduce them to the article. Think about movie trailers that quote critics’ reviews: “…a brilliant and revolutionary film…”. They draw you in and make you want to learn more.

Editorial concept - Readability - 03

CAPTIONS. Images are a great way to ease the reader’s eyes and provide visual aids for your message. However, don’t stop there. Captioning your photos will help establish the relevancy of your image and elaborate on your article.

Editorial concept - Readability - 04

CHARTS & INFOGRAPHICS. Display your data in a visually stunning way. Since humans process images more quickly than words, you have the ability to share interesting data about your school with your readers in a beautiful and accessible medium.

Editorial concept - Readability - 05

BOXED TEXTS. A boxed text addition to your article allows you to spotlight a selection of text and place it anywhere on your page. This is perfect for pulling insightful quotes from interviews, annotating articles, or providing advice for your readers.

Editorial concept - Readability - 06

KEY FIGURES & FACTS. Opinions are just words, but opinions backed by data and facts become compelling. Conduct your research before you start writing — you are more likely to keep their attention and their trust if you provide unbiased data.

Guide How to Make a Yearbook

What’s next?

In this second chapter, you’ve learned how to build a yearbook structure that makes sense. Remember, those are just examples and indications – you still have the power to come up with something 100% original. In the next chapter, we’ll talk about Content Collection. This one should save you loads of time on your project :)

Don’t forget! There’s also a printable version of this guide (a free 40 page eBook) that you can download here.

To make the most of these resources, we recommend you access your trial account. As you try your favourite tips and tricks directly, it will be easier for you to understand!

NOTE: this guide is part of our collection How to make a yearbook. You’ll find more guides like this here.

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