Behind the yearbook: Crafting memories and aesthetics

Image from author

Yearbook: an album that encapsulates and preserves the cherished moments of our school journey.  More than a photo album, it stores important memories and events that unfolded throughout the academic year, presented with a captivating blend of photographs, writings, and designs that align with the chosen theme.

However, what happens behind the scenes to create the book students love? The staff and editors take on the important role of creating the layout for the book, according to Angelica Gallegos, a senior student who is a staff member. She states, “We have staff and editors who handle the layout, design, and placement of text and photos. They also work on determining the fonts.” The creation of the book involves extensive brainstorming and a keen focus on the design aspects that contribute to its pleasing and aesthetic appearance.

Design holds a crucial role: it forms the audience’s initial impression of the book. Beyond aesthetics, it significantly enhances the book’s functionality. Key elements that add to the making of a yearbook design, such as the layout and organization, overall theme, and the balance of text, photos, and white spaces are important factors considered. 

At Washington, the yearbook theme is chosen a school year before the current school year, and the book maintains thematic consistency throughout the year. For the 2023-2024 school year, the theme is “What are we searching for?” The book is inspired by Google’s homepage, and each spread mimics the appearance of a website. The central theme is important, influencing the layout and color scheme as the staff incorporates it into the yearbook’s visual narrative. It’s important to choose impactful photos, and as emphasized by Mikylla Abarsosa, a senior on the yearbook team, it’s crucial to “take lots of pictures just in case, so we have more options. It’s better to have too many and narrow down than not enough to choose from.”

E-design is where the magic unfolds; it’s where everything comes together along with the use of another tool, Canva. Editors start by crafting the spread/page in a strategic way by adding shapes, text boxes, and designs. Canva plays a role in tasks such as photoshopping shapes and designs or cutting and replacing images. E-design is also where other staff members lay out event photos and write captions, contributing to the creation process. Despite its simplicity, the book presents numerous challenges, such as meeting deadlines, contacting individuals, and gathering interviews during the making.

While it may seem enjoyable and straightforward to lay out the aesthetics of the book, the reality is different. The team ensures that the context and captions are seamlessly incorporated into the text. Beyond the design aspects, meeting deadlines, conducting interviews, contacting people, and staying after school when necessary for event photos are all essential tasks that go into crafting one spread. 

Qudsia Hashmi, a senior Washington student who joined the yearbook team this year, decided to become a part of it after enjoying Ms. Campisano’s digital imaging class and her passion for photography. Qudsia’s journey on the team has been filled with joy and excitement, exploring various school events and capturing them through different perspectives. In addition to her passion for photography and storytelling, Qudsia loves the process of putting together mods and spreads that capture the essence of each event. She finds the fun in the challenge of transforming collected stories and photographs into visually appealing narratives. Qudsia shares, “Not one spread or mod will be the same as another, since you have different photos and stories of people and events. It’s the process of fitting them all together, like a collage, that makes it fun.”

Moreover, the intricate design process, through brainstorming and careful consideration, adds not only to the aesthetic features of the book but also enhances the book’s functionality. From the selection of a central theme to incorporating meaningful photos, the yearbook transforms into a canvas where students can leave lasting marks on the pages of their shared journey.

Jenny Hsu is a senior at Washington High School, born in Xian, China, and raised in Fremont, California. This is her first year at The Hatchet. She is interested in covering topics related to music and psychology. Jenny has diverse interests including music, band, anime, and art. In the future, she plans on attending university and potentially majoring in forensics.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *