Yearbook Design is Their Craft: Behind the Scenes

Senior art students in the publishing class are hard at work designing the school yearbook.

Senior art students in the publishing class are hard at work designing the school yearbook.

As high school students the only place that can really capture all the great moments from school is a yearbook. The feeling one gets pinching the corner of each page carefully to help them through their recollection is like no other: Best friends of many years; a teacher with a great sense of humor; a club that they had joined. Yet one has to wonder: Who are the people who work so hard to put all of these memories in this book?

Considered a publishing class, the FSSA art seniors use their creative abilities as well as graphic design skills in order to design the Award-winning yearbook every year.

“Every single senior in art is doing the yearbook,” explains Khristine Rojas, a senior art major herself. The students create everything within the yearbook, from the cover, fonts, and all pages to photos and sections dedicated and given in by other seniors.

Ms. Spata helps students learn Photoshop and other design programs.

Ms. Spata helps students learn Photoshop and other design programs.

Ms. Spata, the art teacher in charge of the class, does this by having the students create test pages and teaches them technical abilities before starting the yearbook.

“It’s my job to make sure that every designer is ready for the task,” she states.

Ms. Spata explains how students use Photoshop as well an online design site provided by the publishing company known as Walsworth.

“It’s not easy to learn,” Ms. Spata adds. “I constantly have students create fonts and layouts, and then we decide what is best for the yearbook.”

The most important part of the yearbook the designers have been working on are the third pages, a personalized page in the yearbook that every senior gets, which are designed with the help of the art students.

Being that schedules have to be made and they are working with these complex programs with a publishing company, the designers have to do everything they can in a short amount of time.

Two designers, including senior Lisa Moore, share their experience thus far with the class. “As soon as school started, we did the yearbook,” Lisa states.

Cheyenne, the art senior that happened to be next to Lisa, added, “I remember on the first day of school, Ms. Spata said, “’The cover is due in two weeks!’”

Time has seemed to be the biggest obstacle for designers, being that the publishing company they work with requires strict deadlines.

“They are killer. You are lucky you don’t have to worry about it,” Rojas said.

Khristine also comments on Ms. Spata being in charge of deadlines, stating, “It must be really stressful for her.” Ms. Spata herself feels the same way, talking about how she uses her own methods to bring in deadlines on time. Also, students barely got a lunch break working on third pages. “It’s hard to capture an entire year in a book due in March,” she laughs.

Though it is a lot of hard work, some seniors still have their opinions and complaints. Jodee, vocal senior, talks about how there used to be half a page, yet it was reduced. “All they want to do is save money,” Jodee says.

However, the designers do explain how, because of deadlines and time constraints, as well as for design aesthetic, extra photos are not necessary. Lisa justifies, “If we don’t regulate it, people will complain that it’s gonna be ugly.”

As far as general critiques on the yearbook from other seniors, Lisa says for the most part, it’s very subjective. Ms. Spata believes however that the comments are mostly positive, which is true.

As mentioned before, these students have won all sorts of awards, such as for meeting all the deadlines, best design cover, and a chance to showcase in the National Yearbook Gallery (also managed by Walsworth), whereas people across the country get to see their yearbook.

In the end, the students just want to do their thing and not care about comments. “If you’re in art, [the comments] seem more legit. Nobody cares about us anyways,” Lisa said.

Although the appreciation seems to lack according to the designers, in the end this is their moment to shine.

“This is our major performance. We’re not on stage, but we’re in print,” Ms. Spata states. “I don’t think the student body knows how much effort we put into the project. We pour our hearts and souls into every piece of work we do.”

So next time you go through your things, don’t just remember the people with the yearbook, but the people who made it too.

-by Kira A. McGrue ’16