The yearbook theme has never been as important as this year. The students and the community are looking for hope and strength and normalcy and fun. This is exactly what the yearbook provides. This year, the yearbook staff has the opportunity to make the theme pandemic-related, but the thing is...so does the yearbook staff down the street, and across the state, throughout the country and ALL OVER THE WORLD! How can YOU take a theme that most schools will incorporate this year and make it unique to your students, your school, your year....not everyone else's?
Start by brainstorming words, phrases, and icons that are related to this year and the pandemic. For example, alone, video, Zoom, scared, confused, toilet paper, together, unexpected, social distancing. No word or phrase is wrong. None of them are bad. Write everything down. They could be useful later.
Start pairing words or phrases together or deconstructing words. Look up idioms that contain those words. Take the word Unexpected, for example. Playing off of this words, you may come up with "Expect the unexpected, As Expected, When Least Expected, Not What You Expected, When You're Least Expecting It." What are other ways to say unexpected or expected?
Come up with word spin-offs that you could use as section titles. Maybe Expression for the People Section. Extracurricular for Clubs. Experiment for Academics. Extravaganza for Student Life. Don't forget if you are organizing Chronologically, you will want to consider how many sections you will have and come up with enough spin-offs for each.
Develop a graphic that visually conveys the theme. The cover below, designed by the amazing Stephen Williams (www.thecoverartist.com) displays a beautifully thought-out pandemic-related theme. And though the graphic isn't directly tied to that phrase the overlay of the text (there are two of each letter if you look close), the blocked out text, and the fun, asterisk graphics may not be what you would have expected had you just seen that yearbook's spine. It looks like a basic yearbook, but you get to the front lid and the organized chaos of the theme phrase is spot-on.
If you are still searching for themes and are looking for great examples of theme development, check out Balfour's 2020 Yearbook Yearbook that features some of the best designs by Balfour customers. The best themes come from discussions. Start throwing out ideas. Make it some sort of game. Have fun with it. Then dive into a few of the ones with the most potential and save your full list for ideas for modules and sidebars!