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Publication Planning Lesson 1 - To Theme Or Not To Theme?

Every publication begins in the planning stages with the question of wheteher 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 force 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:

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:

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