YB Hacks: Visual reminders aid staffers, ensure consistent design

120721_TT_YB Hacks visual aids

Sometimes we need to make it a little easier for our yearbook staffers. Visual aids can be the perfect reminders to guide them.

COMPUTER SHORTCUTSBalfour mouse pad_InDesign shortcuts300
Help the staff by having a list of computer shortcuts. This could include general shortcuts (Cut, Paste and Select All) and software specific ones for InDesign, Photoshop, StudioWorks+® or Encore®. Print them out and place next to the keyboard, tape to the side of the monitor, or consider putting on a mouse pad.

Vista Ridge iPrep_software cheat sheets860At Vista Ridge High School, each computer has a skinny list of keyboard, InDesign and Photoshop shortcuts (left). At iPrep Academy, the adviser created a two-page cheat sheet for StudioWorks+® (right). Both cheat sheets are available on the Balfour Exchange. On StudioBalfour, customers can order a mouse pad (above) with more than 30 InDesign shortcuts (Item #025899).

Make your style choices crystal clear by having a visual in the classroom. Use our trusty style poster and fill in the information or create your own and place at computer stations. Include all font decisions (typeface, weight, size and leading) for every type of copy—headlines, secondary headlines, body copy, captions and sidebar/module copy. Add your color choices as well, and any other theme-related decisions. Consider also including a spread checklist so staffers are reminded of every design, story and photo expectation.

19_Aledo style sheet checklist computer860
Having a spread checklist can avoid style problems, ensuring staffers use the correct colors, fonts and sizes. Also, including other expectations like design and photo requirements ensures less mistakes later.

Woodlands_Balfour style sheet 860The Woodlands yearbook staff keeps two cheat sheets on their computers: one for writing and another for design (left). Our Book Specs/Style Guide poster allows you to fill in all your font, color and graphic choices for the yearbook theme. Item #025803

The most elaborate option is to have an entire style manual or staff handbook at your students’ disposal. Include anything that would help the staff with the yearbook: photography, writing, connecting to servers, etc. Check out a few example staff manuals on the Balfour Exchange.

22 Vista Ridge_YB cheat sheets staff manual860
In addition to software shortcuts, Vista Ridge also includes a binder at each computer station for the newspaper and yearbook staff. It includes sections on interviewing/quotes, copy, captions, AP Style and photography.

We all get tired of answering the same questions over and over. Having visual aids in our classrooms can solve that problem. You can direct students to the printed style sheets or journalism binders. Ultimately, the extra visibility will remind staffers of design decisions and ensure there are less corrections. We all need a few yearbook hacks to make our lives easier.

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