Category Archives: DIDP 2017-18

Our First Yearbook Page!

Today we’ll start at (almost) the beginning by designing our first official page for this year’s yearbook!

Page 1, the table of contents, is a tough one to do right, so we’ll skip it (for right now) and go to page 2, the messages from our administrators!

Here are a couple of samples from the past:



A lot of pages (like this one) have to wait until we actually get the content from other people. I don’t have this year’s writeups from the administrators. I don’t even know for sure whether there will be one or two blocks of text this year. Usually, on this page I use the photos that are taken alongside grad photos. I don’t have those yet. So we make up template pages that look right, but contain THE WRONG CONTENT and then REPLACE it later. Life is so much simpler if everything is done and all I need to do is place new files when I get the updated content. That’s where you come in.

Start with an InDesign page template. This page goes ON THE LEFT hand side and is only ONE page. The other side is a divider, which we’ll look at later.

You’ll need to PLACE two photos and two TEXT documents. You can use old writeups and new photos if you like. You can find files to use HERE.

Each page (except for the first and the last, usually) has a PAGE NUMBER somewhere. It should also have some kind of HEADING/TITLE, and of course a snazzy background image/design.

We will all come up with a design for this page, but obviously the real book can only have one, so we’ll look at all of your designs and decide which one we’ll actually use. Once we come up with a few pages together, you’ll be responsible for creating your own section for the actual book, so you can be assured that your designs will be used in the book, so make ’em good!

InDesign Yearbook Assignment – Part 1

As mentioned previously, you need to now be designing page layouts for this year’s yearbook. Using the cover that we chose as a guide, design what the pages inside of the book will look like. Try to incorporate similar colours/ideas, although they do not have to precisely match.

You can start (if you wish) by designing a page master (the basic look/layout) in Photoshop, but DO NOT add picture frames in Photoshop (you can’t, really). You can, though, add placeholders and put the frames on top using InDesign. Or you can just do the whole thing using InDesign. Start with the page template that has been provided by Friesens (the makers of our yearbook.) There are a couple of versions, depending on whether you want a single page or a spread, and depending on whether you want to use Photoshop or InDesign for the basic design/layout.

You will need a few different kinds of pages/layouts:

  • Table of Contents
  • Admin messages (each gets roughly 1/2 page to write about the year)
  • Divider pages (starts a new section)
  • Basic photo pages
  • Portrait pages
  • Grad photos (baby pics? Writeup?)

If you want, you can get more specific with different kinds of pages

  • clubs
  • activities
  • teams
  • special events
  • etc.

IMPORTANT: If you’re adding TEXT:
– if the text will CHANGE (e.g.: different headings, titles, names, etc) – DO THIS USING INDESIGN- if the text will stay the same (e.g.: St. James Collegiate, 2014-15, Jimmies, etc.) – this can be done in Photoshop

USE COPYRIGHT FREE OR LICENSED FONTS! The best choice is to use the poster on the wall under the clock! If you don’t have access to one of the fonts on the poster, ASK ME and I will make sure it’s unlocked for you! Some fonts are copyright protected and we can get in trouble or have our pages refused by the printer. CHOOSE WISELY! Make your text CLEARLY LEGIBLE. Some wacky fonts are really hard to read.

This is only PART 1 of the BIGGEST and MOST IMPORTANT assignment/task of the year! Get moving! Take this seriously!

Yearbook resources

InDesign Brochure

Hopefully by now you’ve designed an impressive postcard, packaged it up, and dropped it off.

Next you’ll use the powers of InDesign to create a brochure with pictures and information of your choosing. You can make your brochure about almost anything.

Some suggestions:

  • It might be great to have some of these advertising the yearbook as well.
  • I could also use some brochures advertising my technology courses, which I could hand out at our annual open house.
  • You could make a brochure for a different class/program here at St. James.
  • You could advertise a club or activity here. I’d love to have a Jimmie Jam Radio brochure!
  • A topic of interest to you! (dogs, cars, photography, etc!)

The photos should be yours (NOT from the Internet.) You will also need to PLACE a TEXT FILE with some information about the topic. This information can be “borrowed” from the Internet, if need be.

Download these files to follow along with the sample

Follow along with the tutorials here



First InDesign Project: Postcard

You started off this semester by creating a nice poster in Photoshop. Now it’s time to turn to InDesign and see what it can do. InDesign is the industry choice for creating professional documents of all shapes and sizes. The Desktop Publishing portion of this course is where you will learn how to put together different types of documents.

See what you can create with InDesign

Explore InDesign basics

First up, learn how to create an appealing postcard! Again, I encourage you to do the sample contained in the tutorials, but I DO NOT want you to hand in a “Design Talks” postcard, I want you to DESIGN YOUR OWN! Yours should use the same tools, size, and layout as the sample, but SHOULD NOT RESEMBLE IT AT ALL! Yours should look entirely different. I’d suggest using one of your photos to advertise for St. James Collegiate, or something like that. You can create a postcard advertising this course, the yearbook, or another program/team/group at our school, or anything (appropriate) of your choice.

You will need these files in order to follow along with the tutorial

Click the image below to go to the tutorial, or click this link

Yearbook Cover Revisions

We’ve received some great yearbook covers so far, so THANK YOU to those of you who got a design in on time. There’s still time to submit your design for marks and for consideration, but time is running out!

No matter how great your idea is (and some of them are really great), there’s always some other idea that could make it even better. Often, it takes an impartial, objective observer to point out something that could be improved.

Your job today is to look at the yearbook cover submissions so far and IMPROVE THEM! You are responsible for downloading and improving AT LEAST 2 other covers. You can change anything you want about it, but make sure that you’re making an improvement.

Some tips:

  • BE NICE. Just because you don’t necessarily agree that a cover is beautiful, don’t be mean about it, just make some changes that will improve things.
  • You don’t have to agree with the changes that someone else is making to your cover, you just have to respect their input!
  • Check and make sure that the files are created using the right template, include elements that we can use without getting sued, and are laid out and SPELLED correctly! If the designer used blue & yellow, is it the CORRECT SHADE of blue & yellow? There’s a way to check, you know! Are all elements HIGH QUALITY and CLEAR?
  • If a cover looks great as it is and you can’t think of a way to improve it, you’re not trying hard enough. Every idea can be improved. But if you can’t think of something, choose another one. If you think a cover can’t be salvaged (you really don’t like it), that’s fine, just choose something else.
  • Your changes must be NOTICEABLE and make a clear improvement. If you change something so subtle that only you notice, it isn’t much of an improvement.

You need to DOWNLOAD the files you want to work with, then open them in Photoshop, then save and drop off the revised files.

Access the files here

Yearbook Theme?

Publication Planning – To Theme Or Not To Theme?

Every publication begins in the planning stages with the question of whether the design will follow a theme or not. A theme is an idea or guiding principle that ties all elements of the publication together. It is not necessary to have a theme, but some of the most creative publications have come from theme development efforts.

For our purposes, we need to decide if we will adopt a theme to our yearbook. If we do, we need to decide which theme we will use and how we will carry it throughout our book.

Theme Builds Team

The major advantage to using a theme is that it forces many people working on different parts of the book to make some design choices before they begin working. As a result, the book comes out looking more consistent from start to finish.

Here are some samples of themed yearbooks:

Themed Yearbook Sample 1

Themed Yearbook Sample 2

Themed Yearbook Sample 3

As you can see, there is a lot of creativity that goes into pursuing a themed yearbook. Just to give an overview, the most common way to carry themes throughout the yearbook are:

  • Cover
  • Dividers
  • Font choice
  • Lines, Shapes or Common Graphic Elements
  • Theme Based Titles

No Theme… No Problems… Right?

Some people argue that going without a theme is in fact harder, because there are many people working on one book with no idea that ties their pages together.

Not having a theme, doesn’t let you off the hook. There is still the question of consistency, which is a must from page to page. This means having the same font styles, sizes and colours, picture box style and common layout elements from page to page. A few things you would still have to decide on are:

  • Cover
  • Heading, Subheading, Body Copy & Caption Fonts (size, style, type)
  • Picture Box Styles (shape, stroke)
  • Spacing between elements
  • Divider Pages
  • Common Design Elements (lines, shapes, colour, etc)

In the end, to theme or not to theme will depend on the creativity level of the group

If you’ve chosen a theme you must decide how you will carry the theme through the book. Your ideas should include plans for the following:

  • Cover
  • Dividers
  • Font choice
  • Lines, Shapes or Common Graphic Elements
  • Theme Based Titles

One last thing to mention, If we choose your theme for our yearbook it is important that it does not contain copyrighted images or we will not be able to publish them. To ensure that your pictures are licensed for creative commons, search using a site like Photopin or FlickrCC search or Pixabay.

Yearbook Templates

Our yearbook is printed by a Manitoba company called Friesens. They provide us with some important specifications that we must use, as well as some items that we can choose to use when making our yearbook.

All items used in the design of our yearbook must be either approved/provided by Friesens or they must be Creative Commons items! Use Creative Commons sources such as those on my Links page under Copyright Free Content when gathering materials for your cover & pages!

A collection of materials provided by Friesens can be accessed at this link

Cover templates:

Photoshop: YBCoverTemplate


If you need school logos or photos of the school ASK MR. ROBSON. DO NOT grab them off the Internet!

School logos


Photo Art

By now you should be a total pro at shooting great photos. Last time we worked on editing photos, converting them, and saving/dropping off properly. Remember that you were expected to drop off AT LEAST three photos. If you haven’t completed that assignment, please visit this link and do so ASAP.

From there we will work on adding to photos and creating original documents in Photoshop. We are working toward designing the covers for our yearbook, as well as creating a variety of promotional items and other documents.

First up, try this tutorial. It will help you to take a photo and add text and artwork to it. You can follow along with the example in the video by downloading THESE FILES. You will not drop off that sample, though, you will apply these techniques to one of your photos.

This is a great opportunity to create a really beautiful Christmas/New Year/Birthday card/whatever. Think about how happy someone in your family would be if you created something especially for them? Brownie points galore!