The details behind the details: your work, supporters & the tools

We always think about classes, clubs, events and sports to cover. But what about the details behind that coverage? Do you acknowledge the hard work your staffers put in? Or the people who support your efforts? Or the production tools used to create the book?

A lot of details, people and technology go into making a yearbook. Acknowledging those details should be a small part of your yearbook content. This can be broken down into four parts: the colophon, editor’s note, staff list/pictures and thank yous.


The colophon is a complete description of the publication or production notes relevant to the volume. Located at the end of the book, it includes:

  • Historical information: volume number, book name, school, city, publishing company, sales representative and account executive
  • Theme: an explanation of the theme origin and where it was developed
  • Cover: Specifications of materials, designers and cover artists
  • Production: Number of pages, paper type, number of books, fonts used, number of computers, software used
  • Sales: Book prices, advertising prices (can combine this with production)
  • Photography: Number and type of cameras, editing notes, senior portrait and underclassmen photographers
  • Awards & Honors: State and national awards, including critique recognition
  • Disclaimer: Not all schools include this, but it’s an opportunity to note mistakes are not intentional and reprints are not possible.

The colophon should run near the back of the book: after the senior ads, before or after the index, or on the back endsheet. Often, it is placed on a spread with the editor’s note and staff pictures. For schools with limited space, the colophon is sometimes run on the last spread or final page of the book.


ABOVE: Memorial High School placed its colophon on the back endsheet. It included details on price, books sold, computers, cameras, software and national recognition. The staff also included a disclaimer and thank yous.

Editor’s Note

This is an opportunity for the editor to reminisce about the year and thank staffers, students and professionals for helping with the book. Editors can also discuss the theme, challenges along the way and things learned throughout the year. If there are multiple editors, they can write individual letters or a collaborative one. Adding a picture helps readers connect the editor’s thoughts with the person sharing the reflections.

17 Hill Country_colophon

ABOVE: On a spread before the index, Hill Country Christian School featured its colophon, three editors’ notes, an adviser’s note and thoughts for every staff member. Each spread the staff member worked on is also included with their quote.

Staff List/Pictures

A staff list is needed as part of the historical record. A staff picture could also be included or individual staff pictures if space allows. (If you run separate pictures, this is a creative place to list the pages the staffer worked on.) Staff recognition ranges from a simple staff list on the back endsheet to two pages dedicated to the staff. In some cases, staffs forgo a yearbook spread in the organizations section and dedicate their coverage to this page or spread. Other staffs stick to just a list so they can fit the colophon and editor’s note on the same spread.

17_Bellaire_staff list

ABOVE: Bellaire High School has an extensive staff list so it chose to run it on the back endsheet and incorporate the theme look. In addition to editors, staffers and photographers, the list also includes their advisers and Balfour support: the cover artist, representatives and account executive.

Thank yous

The book doesn’t make itself. Hundreds of people contribute to the staff’s efforts: teachers who let you invade their classrooms for pictures and interviews, students who agree to those pictures and interviews, coaches who provide scores and statistics, custodians who open doors late at night and clean up messy workspaces and takeout containers.

There’s also the production and technical help: studio photographers who take and prepare portraits, yearbook representatives who facilitate deadlines, account executives who track progress and troubleshoot printing issues, and customer service which helps with everything from ordering supplies to technical support.

Showing gratitude acknowledges other people’s support and reminds staffs it takes more than hard work to complete a yearbook. And saying thank you goes a long way to continuing support in future years. While thank yous and acknowledgments can be separate content, they are often blended into the colophon or the editor’s note. The important thing is to express gratitude.

ABOVE:  Irons Junior High (left) used their back page to connect to their theme, feature the faculty, and include a colophon, staff policy and thank yous. Airline High School (right) included candid and posed staff photos with the staff list and colophon.

While the primary focus of the year is on coverage, writing, photography and design, a sliver of that focus should be on how the book came together. It’s important to recognize the staff that made it happen, the people who supported you and the production tools used to create the book. Having a dedicated space for the colophon, editor’s note, staff list and thank yous acknowledges the details, people and technology that go into making a yearbook.

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