September 17, 2018


The phrase “don’t judge a book by its cover” has never been used in reference to a yearbook; unfortunately, they are always judged by their covers. A great cover design with an impactful and well-chosen complimentary cover treatment can go a long way in increasing yearbook sales in that year and going forward.

The touch and feel value of a yearbook is a direct result of the covers’ successful design and treatment choice.

Here are some tips to help you design your next cover:

1. Speak to your audience

  •  if your school and its student community is known for athletics or the arts, maybe style your book and cover to that. If the community is in a certain phase (i.e., steampunk has been significant, travel blog, etc.), then those might speak to them. You could survey your school community for theme ideas or give them a few in a list to rank in interest level.

2. Avoid clichés

  • for example, if you are going to do a comic theme, rather than just placing comic heroes on the cover, design your school hero (maybe you have a mascot already you can add a cap/mask too, etc.). This translates well to the pages as well. Instead of Marvel or DC images all over your book, use the comic book style shoutboxes and cut-out shaped layout of their artless in your face obvious, more subtle and unique.

3. Stick to your theme

  • if you are going for a specific look, it should flow throughout the book, and that includes the cover. Sometimes cover contests at the school don’t bear much fruit, and your yearbook team lacks the design skill or interest to feel comfortable doing it themselves. This should not stop you from having a fantastic cover – if you have a great idea and its working throughout your pages, our team of designers can always give you some tips and ideas/even sketch something out for you to help keep your message.

4. Legibility

  • make sure your school name and year are prominent and displayed on the cover and the spine – if your design/theme does not lend itself to that the spine should be used for sure if you want to keep the front and back cleaner.

5. Avoid clipart, low res images, and hand-drawn sketches

  • if you need to use them do so sparingly and if possible, take them into Photoshop or Illustrator as inspiration and design your own/use the scanned sketch to trace it out in the program instead.


Kyle Sassmann
Friesens Yearbook Consultant