Creating a Timeline

You know you need to lay out a yearbook. And you probably know when you’d like to have it. What you may not know is how to get from “here” to “there”. That’s where a timeline comes in handy.

Let’s get detailed. First and foremost, gather every little bit of information you can. It’s likely that the school decision makers have already agreed to a certain set of specifications like number of pages, type of cover, maybe even about how many books you hope to sell. Along with those specs, a submission due date has probably already been selected based on when you want the book produced and delivered for distribution. Along with those details, it’s important to know how many classes and how many students will need to be covered in your book. Using last year’s book as a reference may be a good starting point. Creating a page ladder is also helpful in envisioning how pages will fall in spreads. Download our interactive page ladder to get started here: Download

Go backwards. Starting at your submission date, work backward to help assign amounts of time to each task you need to complete. Take into consideration each and every task that needs your attention. Each parent and teacher that you’ll need to contact to gather photos from, sorting those photos, page design, proofing and correction time are all things to take into consideration. As you schedule your mini-deadlines (for your own tasks) it may become apparent that you want your book done the same week you’re on Spring Break. Knowing that you need to put a few extra days in leading up to that point is great to know ahead of time so you don’t end up behind or working on a yearbook while you try to vacation.

Breathing room. Giving yourself a little wiggle room is imperative. Even the best laid plans need some room for error. Life happens and when it does, having a buffer will keep your yearbook from being derailed. It’s not necessary to share your amount of ‘buffer time’ with those working on the yearbook with you – it’s a safety net for the little unexpected things that can happen when working on a project so big.

Once you’ve laid out a tentative timeline with realistic goals, creating a yearbook will feel much more organized and manageable!