Monthly archives for September, 2017

Simplify your year with Balfour’s Adviser Guide

Advising a yearbook takes skills…a lot of them. While creativity and photography skills matter, being business savvy and managing your time are arguably just as important. It’s a tough job, and that is why we think our advisers are total rockstars. Having the right tools to get through the year is important, so Balfour created the Yearbook Adviser Guide. This beautiful, 96-page workbook gives advisers space to keep track of all the important staff, school and publishing contacts, plus deadlines, budgeting details and upcoming tasks. Elementary customers: This book shipped with your 2018 Production Materials. Didn’t receive it? Contact your representative to order a copy.

Section 1: Planning & Selling

Get started with the roadmap showing the general timeline from building a staff to organizing yearbook delivery day. Once you’re up to speed on all things yearbook with the visual glossary, take a look at our tips for getting started. The Page Planner found in this section is a central location to keep track of what will go on every page of the yearbook. This is an important step to planning and producing the yearbook, and we encourage every adviser to make this step a priority.

Creating a budget is an important step of any business, including the yearbook. Read through our tips on proper pricing, how to marketing the yearbook and where to keep track of it all in our online resource site, StudioBalfour. A friendly budget worksheet is included and can be filled out with your representative.

Marketing the yearbook may seem scary, but we have provided a step-by-step guide and all the tools needed to market like a pro. We’ve even listed 25 fun ways to promote the yearbook!

Section 2: Designing Your Book

When it comes to design, you don’t have to be a pro to have beautiful yearbook. We’ll walk you through all the steps to designing a great cover, choosing the perfect fonts and colors and making it all look cohesive.

Master your portrait pages with step-by-step outline for making decisions that best fit your school. We encourage every school to make it their goal of spelling every name correct, and we have provided tools to make that task easier. The Portrait Proofing Checklist can be copied and given to teachers to help proof their class pages.

The Balfour fonts and colors are available in the guide along with a variety of font themes that show great examples of font and color pairings.

Section 3: Inspiring Designs

When designs catch our eye, we like to show them off. Thirty pages of design ideas direct from schools we work with can be found in this section. We highlight cover designs, portrait layouts, student life, sports, clubs and more.

The layouts on these pages are representative of the creative designs we see at schools from coast to coast. Use them for ideas and inspiration.

Section 4: Calendar

The Adviser Guide ends with a handy monthy-by-month calendar with space for notes. Be sure to check out the monthly goals to stay on track.


Selling the Yearbook: 10 proven tips to increase buy rates

The yearbook staff at Inglemoor High School in Kenmore, Wash., paints signs to hang around campus, letting students and parents know yearbooks are on sale.

Advisers and their dedicated staff members think everyone should have a yearbook. You want to share your stellar photos, crystalline words and compelling designs with the world. Every fall, you hang posters in the hallways, stack order forms on the reception desk, then sit back and wait for the orders to pour in. All too often, the response is more a trickle than a flood.

So how do you increase sales? Successful staffs pull out all the stops to reach potential buyers throughout the year. Here’s a sampling of the advice we’ll share in the fall issue of Elements magazine in November.

Interlake High School:

Tip 1: We try to get information out in as many ways as possible:

  • We send home a flyer with the back-to-school mailing.
  • We post our sales information on the school website.
  • We have flyers in the front office and counseling office so that parents stopping in for other business will pick one up.
  • We ask our principal to include our information in her weekly emails to parents.
  • We send emails out to students with sales information.
  • We include sales information in the PTSA newsletters and on their Facebook group page.

Tip 2: We also try to represent as many people and activities in the book as we can.

  • We do spreads on sports that students compete in that are not our school sports, such as crew, rugby, skiing, etc.
  • We try to listen to our students and include features they want and enjoy.

Tip 3: What we do is not earth-shattering, but we try to keep yearbook sales on people’s minds all year long so they are constantly reminded to get it done.

Interlake High School, located in Bellevue Washington, has 1,500 students, and the staff sells 1,000 books. Megan Bennett is the adviser of the book.


Glacier Peak High School

Tip 4: We offer a combo pack with student body cards/yearbook/parking pass for $110. The three things purchased separately would cost $160.  The package offers students a $50 discount.

Tip 5: Several times a year, as a promotion, we post 11”x 14” photos in the hallway and then give them to the students who are pictured.

Tip 6: My Favorite– One week before the book arrives, we hire the FCCLA Club (Our Cooking Club) to make 1500 cookies. We package them in a clear baggie with a ribbon/sticker reflecting our theme on the front. We tie a Sharpie marker on the bag and thank students for purchasing a yearbook. Because they want the cookie and Sharpie, students who were on the fence about purchasing a book, buy the extras we order.

Tip 7: We always do a “Reveal” of the cover for the whole student body at an assembly. This is something our students have really come to look forward to. We hang a banner of the cover in the cafeteria for three weeks before distribution.

Glacier Peak High School, located in Snohomish, Washington, has 1,776 students and the staff sells 1,500 books. Annie Green is the adviser of the book.


Inglemoor High School

Tip 8: We are included in the “back-to-school” letter that my principal mails to all students in the summer. It includes the price and states that yearbooks may be purchased at the back-to-school fair just before school starts. Having this come from the administration and be a part of all the other back-to-school information makes more of an impact on parents than if we sent our own letter.

Tip 9: My staff does a very good job of talking face-to-face with people about buying a yearbook. We have created a culture here that buying a yearbook is just one of those things you do. The majority of students don’t ever consider NOT buying one.

Tip 10: We have a huge “all-school” release party at the end of the year. (This is during the school day.) It is called Viking Day (our mascot) and it’s kind of a year-end party; however, because that is the release day for the yearbook, the whole event just becomes a big yearbook signing party. Students feel really left out by not having a yearbook. This is well-known, so most students are certain to have bought a yearbook ahead of time.

Inglemoor High School, located in Kenmore Washington, has 1,500 students and the staff sells 1,000 books. Zane Mills is the adviser of the book.


Read more from these and other advisers in the upcoming issue of Elements, including tips on selling ads and promoting the yearbook program in your school.




Get ready to #celebrateyearbook with National Yearbook Week

It seems there’s a national week for everything these days: National Headache Awareness week (June 4-10), National Split Pea Soup Week (Nov 12-18). There’s even a week to recognize handwashing, which we fully support (in case you were wondering). But the week we look forward to the most here at Balfour is National Yearbook Week, and it is taking place next week, October 2-6!

In 1987 President Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first full week of October as “National Yearbook Week” to recognize the important role yearbook serves in our lives. An excerpt from Proclamation 5703 states: “School yearbooks not only chronicle educational achievement and school tradition but are a part of them. For nearly two centuries American students have produced yearbooks to commemorate the accomplishments of the school year and to compose a lasting record, written and pictorial, of campus, classmates, teachers, and school staff.”

Join us for a fun week of contests celebrating National Yearbook Week. Simply follow us on Twitter (@BalfourYB) or Facebook (BalfourYearbooks) and tweet or post your photo each day with the hashtag #celebrateyearbook. One lucky staff will take home a $100 gift card each day.

Monday, Oct. 2- “Show us your Selfie”

A yearbook wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the dedicated individuals who serve on the yearbook staff. So get creative, and take a “staff selfie” to show off your staff’s personality.

Tuesday, Oct. 3 – “Show us your Space”

We know you spend just as much time in the yearbook room as you do your own room, so we want to see your space! Send a photo of your yearbook classroom or workspace.

Wednesday, Oct. 4 – “Show us your Spines”

Yearbook spines, that is! Line up your yearbooks and send us a photo of all your old volumes. The school with the oldest volume 1 yearbook spine wins!

Thursday, Oct. 5- “Show us your Snacks”

What fuels your yearbook staff? Show us the fun foods that get you through those tough deadlines and all-nighter work sessions.

Friday, Oct. 6- “Show us your Support”

We know creating a yearbook takes a village, so show us your support system! Send a photo of your adviser, principal or another individual in your school who goes above and beyond to help with the yearbook.

Winners will be chosen by Balfour’s Marketing Team and recipients will receive a $100 Visa Gift Card. Here’s a recap of the daily contests you can hang in your classroom.

Be sure to check your email and our social media page Friday for a BIG yearbook week announcement you won’t want to miss!

The 5 people you need in your yearbook network

We’ve said it before: It takes a village to make a yearbook. From coordinating school pictures to designing and editing pages, a yearbook’s production requires a team of talented and dedicated individuals. Recruiting interested students, parents and faculty members is crucial, but don’t overlook these additional players you need in your yearbook network–now.

The Principal

This one may seem obvious to most, but making sure your principal is involved in the yearbook process is key. Meet early in the year to discuss last year’s book and any expectations for this year. Be sure to verify the estimated shipping date and make sure it works with the end-of-year schedule. Discuss deadlines and ask for support in getting everything turned in on time. The principal may be able to encourage other faculty members or parents to send photos during crunch time. Be transparent with the budget as well, discussing the importance of selling yearbooks throughout the year. Consider asking the principal to help promote the yearbook by sending an email to parents from their school address. Principal emails have been shown to increase yearbook sales, especially just before price increase time or the book sales deadline.

The Front Office Staff

Everyone from the receptionist to the school counselors is vital to the success of the yearbook program. Introduce yourself to each and discuss your goals for the year, like spelling everyone’s name correctly and increasing sales. The front office team serves as the school gatekeeper, so arming them with as much information as possible is important. Provide a sheet listing the price of the yearbook (and student ads, if applicable), how to purchase and the sales deadlines. If you have copies of last year’s yearbook left over, give a few to the front office staff to show parents who visit the school. The reception area of the school is a great spot to leave order forms or display an eye-catching table tent as parents enter the school.

The Webmaster

Make friends with this person to get book or ad sales information added to the school’s homepage. Balfour provides free web banners you can provide to the webmaster, along with the direct link to purchase a yearbook on or a link to a custom PDF order form parents can return to the front office. If your prices increase throughout the year, it’s important to provide new order forms or sales information to this person so they can update the site accordingly.

The Custodian

If you are a classroom teacher, you know how important the custodians are to your success. Not only do they restore your classroom to normalcy after deadline all-nighters, they also let you into locked rooms when you forget your keys. Don’t forget the impact of a handwritten card—or a slice of cake during a celebration.

The PTA/PTO President

Whether you’re creating the yearbook as a parent volunteer or as a classroom teacher with a staff, be sure to reach out to the president of your parent-teacher organization. They have a direct line into the buyers you are trying to reach—parents! Provide them with as much information as possible about sales, book prices, deadlines, photo & design opportunities, and watch your yearbook network grow.

How to choose fonts that showcase your theme

Slim and sleek? Bold and brash? Quirky with a kick? Choosing fonts has everything to do with the look and feel of your theme.

First, it’s important to understand the different font types and when to use them.

Serif: This font type originates from ancient Roman carvings. Serifs are small marks or “feet” at the end of each letterform. These fonts work best for large blocks of copy, such as feature stories.

San-Serif: With no serif at the end of the letterforms (san literally means without in French), these typefaces usually have no visible thin or thick transitions. These fonts work best for headlines, subheads and captions.

Slab Serif: Similar to the serif but with a heavier weight, usually rectangular in shape. Slab serifs have little to no thin or thick transitions. These fonts work best for headlines.

Script: Script typefaces emulate cursive writing and hand-lettered type resembling the look of a calligraphy pen or brush. These fonts work best for accents and headlines.

Decorative: Also called novelty or display type, these typefaces are fun and distinctive. The styles have an artistic flair with personality. These fonts work best for headlines or large call-out text. Warning: Use this type of font sparingly.

While it is not necessary to choose one font from each category above, certain styles pair best with one another. For instance, a light and airy script pairs well with a thin san-serif. Avoid choosing two of the same styles of fonts, such as two serifs or two san-serifs. You may even find a single font family with enough weights and contrast to do the job of all the fonts in your yearbook. For more on fonts, check out this great guide to typography.

Set the tone by selecting a typeface that showcases your theme’s personality. A classic theme might lend itself to serif and modern serif type. A slab serif type would be a great way to visualize a bold theme.

Familiarize yourself with type options by going through the Balfour Font Guide. The guide features more than 300 typefaces, separated into four type categories: serif, sans & slab serifs, handwriting and decorative type. The guide features all 26 letters of each typeface as well as examples of the font in sentences and sample headlines. The back of the guide has an education section to provide additional knowledge on type classifications, weights and spacing. As a Balfour customer, you received a copy of the Font Guide in your 2018 Planning Materials. Not a Balfour customer? Check out a preview of the Font Guide here.

And if you haven’t heard, there are 16 new typefaces added to the Balfour font family. Here’s a listing of the fonts and some suggested pairings with some of your favorite oldies.