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    Russell Viers is a Transition Expert in the publishing world. Since 1997 he has helped newspapers and magazines adapt to changes in the industry. Read more...

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  • Archive for the ‘Yearbooks’ Category

    Uploading Yearbook Pages to Walsworth

    Thursday, March 12th, 2009

    Before exporting PDFs that will ultimately be submitted to Walsworth for printing, you should first make sure your computer is set up properly. Refer to previous blog article: Please note that this article is VERY boring and many people have complained about falling asleep halfway through and not getting it all done. My apologies in advance.

    So now you have exported a bunch of PDFs and are wondering what to do with them. You’ll upload them to Walsworth Publishing using something known as the world wide web (often referred to as www).

    Before you begin, you’ll need to get some information from me directly

    Job Number: example 9-39XXX-0

    username: example rname

    password: example topsecret

    So before we get too far into the upload process, let’s make sure we’re clear on the file naming process…very important. Uploading a 300 page book as 100 PDFs named PDF1, PDF2, PDF3, etc. would not be very cool, lemme tell ya. You’ll want to follow a more organized naming convention that really helps Walsworth process your files correctly, speeding up the process and promising you a better book.

    Please name the PDFs as follows:

    If these are the first submission of a page, we want you to name them d(job number)_(page or pages) so it would look something like this: d9-39123_4-55.pdf for multiple page PDFs or d9-39013_2-2.pdf for a single page PDF. If you use the Book Feature of InDesign, and the pages in the PDF are not consecutive, you can even do d9-_38123_4-10_14-19_23-37.pdf. This may sound like extra work, but when dealing with as many pages as Walsworth does every day, this makes a difference.

    If you are going to send in a revision to a page you’ve already uploaded, you would name it just like above, but put rv_ in front so we know it will replace the previously submitted page(s). It would look like rv_d8-39013_2-2.pdf.

    When you are ready to submit pages you will use any internet browser and go to

    You will be asked to log in, in which case you will enter your username and password. If you enter the wrong information, it will reformat your hard drive and you will lose everything, causing you to spend hours reloading all your software and hope you backed up your files. Not really. If you don’t have the information just contact me and I’ll get it to you.

    Once logged in, you will see a job already created for you with your job number and some other catchy little phrase I add in there like Yearbook 2009. So it might look like this: 9-39123-0 Yearbook 2009. See…it’s catchy.

    Click on this job, which is in blue and is the link to where you need to be to upload files.

    In this next window, you’ll see a button cleverly named Upload Files. I’ll not insult your intelligence by telling you to push it.

    When you click the Upload button to submit files, you will be asked to name your submission in a box titled Upload Name. If your book is all color or all black and white, naming the submission with a number first, like 1, with the date and page numbers in the upload would be great. If your book is mixed, you should name them something like submit color 1 12/12/07 or submit b&w 1 12/12/07 and include the page number range. This allows us to see how you want your files RIPed and the date and what number submission it is.

    You will then either drag the PDFs into the window or click the icon of the page with the green plus next to it and browse your computer for them. After you have all the PDFs in that window, you’ll click Upload and let your computer do its thing.

    Please DO NOT submit files to the wpcdirect site that you want me to evaluate. I will have you upload them elsewhere…I don’t want to risk any test pages getting into production.

    Now that Walsworth has the PDFs, they will begin processing them and notify you when they are ready to proof online.

    I’m sure there will be questions as you get into it. Feel free to email or call me anytime.

    Exporting PDFs for Walsworth

    Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

    Now that you’ve built some pages you want to submit to Walsworth to include in your yearbook, what’s next? Well, you have to get the pages from InDesign into a PDF that can easily be uploaded to the printing plant for output.

    The PDF you create should look exactly like the page you created in InDesign and it contains all the information needed for proper output: Graphics, fonts, colors, etc.

    I’ll cover the settings you want to use and how to export a PDF in just a bit, but first I’ll tell you how cool what you’re about to do is and how technologically advanced you are going to be.

    First, when you export a PDF from InDesign with these settings, you are going to convert all of your images from RGB to CMYK so they can be printed on a printing press. In days of yore, designers would have to convert EVERY photo from RGB to CMYK in Photoshop…a long and laborious task. Many printers who don’t know any better still require customers to do this. I, on the other hand, like you too much for that.

    What’s more, it’s not only converting RGB to CMYK automatically, but InDesign is converting to CMYK for you using the EXACT same separation tables that Photoshop would use to do the same thing. So ultimately, you are getting the same results you would if you opened them in Photoshop and converted to CMYK manually.

    Keep in mind that it is not changing the original photo, only the version that is embedded into the PDF. Because of this, you can use the same photo in multiple projects, including electronic (RGB) or various print media (CMYK) and it’s all controlled during output…original photo unharmed. And with these settings, your photos are being lightly compressed using JPEG2000 technology on maximum quality so you are getting better reproduction, with smaller file size, than any previous settings Walsworth has offered.

    How is this possible? Because Walsworth has a RIP (imaging device that prepares your PDF for press) that processes your PDFs better than ever. It can now flatten your transparency inline, where in the past customers were doing this during the export process. So now that you don’t have to flatten locally, that means you can use newer export technology which offers you

    • Better Photo Reproduction
    • Smaller PDF Files
    • Faster File Uploads
    • Higher Quality Transparency Reproduction (now we can rasterize, if necessary, at a higher resolution than if you did it during export in the past)

    In addition to converting color, InDesign is also cropping all of your photos for you. Any photos that are larger than the frames will be cropped to size so the PDF is smaller. Again, the original photo is untouched, just the version in the PDF is cropped.

    And InDesign downsamples your images for you, as well. So let’s say you placed a 12 megapixel photo from your digital camera directly on the page and sized it to about 4″ x 5″ and the resolution is about 500 pixels per inch…no worries. During the export to PDF, InDesign will make all of your images that are higher than 300ppi…uh…300ppi. If the image resolution is less than 300ppi, they will be untouched. This means that InDesign won’t interpolate the resolution UP to 300. All Photoshop images with layers will also be flattened in the PDF.

    During the export, InDesign is also going to add marks to the pages that show whether you have bleeds on the page, or not (art going off the page on any side). If you intend for photos or backgrounds to bleed off the page, you will see the art extend beyond the marks on the four corners of your page. If you don’t see that, you probably didn’t build that into your document and you need to go back to InDesign and have the art go off the page by at least 1/8″ (0p9 or 3.2mm).

    Now that you know what you’re going to end up with, let’s set up your computer so it’s a cinch to do.

    The first question is: Are you using Creative Suite 2, or newer, or just InDesign or Creative Suite 1? There are two different processes, depending, so read below which one suits your setup.

    Creative Suite 2 (or newer)

    I’ve included a couple of small files here you need to download and uncompress first, then I’ll tell you where to stick them (in a nice way). Click on the link below and it should automatically download for you.

    Okay, so now where do we put them. I’m giving you a simple step-by-step so just follow along:

    1. Open Adobe Bridge (which comes free with Creative Suite and installs automatically)
    2. Go to Edit> Creative Suite Color Settings
    3. Click Show Saved Settings Files
    4. Drag the attached file named Walsworth Color Settings.csf into that folder
    5. Close the folder
    6. Cancel the Suite Color Settings window
    7. Once again select Edit>Creative Suite Color Settings
    8. Now you should see the Walsworth setting listed there.
    9. Select it and click Apply
    10. Now go to InDesign
    11. Select File> Adobe PDF Presets> Define
    12. Click Load
    13. Select the file named Walsworth PDF Export 09 RV.joboptions
    14. Click Open
    15. Click Done

    Now you are ready to go
    Next time you want to export PDFs, just select this preset from the File>Adobe PDF Preset list or choose File>Export and select it from the drop down list at the top.

    InDesign CS (not as part of the Creative Suite) or Creative Suite 1

    Since Creative Suite doesn’t have Adobe Bridge, we have to load these settings differently. Click the link below to download the settings you will need to install. Be sure to uncompress it before you start.

    1. Open Photoshop
    2. Go to Photoshop>Color Settings (Mac) or Edit>Color Settings (Windows) and open the Color Settings window.
    3. Click Load
    4. Select the file you just downloaded named Walsworth Color Settings.csf
    5. Click Load
    6. Click OK
    7. Open InDesign
    8. Go to Edit> Color Settings
    9. Click at the top to Enable Color Management
    10. Click Load
    11. Select the file named Walsworth Color Settings.csf
    12. Click Open
    13. Click OK
    14. Go to File> PDF Export Presets>Define
    15. Click Load
    16. Select the file named Walsworth PDF Exports 09 CS RV.pdfs
    17. Click Open
    18. Click OK

    Now you are ready to go
    Next time you want to export PDFs, just select this preset from the File>PDF Export Preset list or choose File>Export and select it from the drop down list at the top.

    Drop a line to me if you have any problems with any of this.

    Surviving Yearbook, through the eyes of Leo Thompson

    Monday, October 20th, 2008

    Editor’s Note: Leo Thompson is no longer the Yearbook Adviser for Vienna International School, but still works there as a teacher. During his stint as the YA, he produced some great books and has helped administratively with every yearbook since.

    By Leo Thompson

    As far as I know, no yearbook adviser is trained to be a yearbook adviser. However, if they were I wonder what a depressing training academy it might be. Firstly, it would start with course units like ‘deadlines’ (i.e. when you cross this ‘line’ and you are ‘dead’, or at least close to it). Secondly, teamwork (i.e. if the ‘team’ doesn’t ‘work’ then you’re neck is on the line)! And the list of undesirable units would go on and disappear into the sunset, long after which you’ll still be busily putting your midnight touches to those final pages… Delivery dates, sales figures, overheads, production targets, templates, layouts, picture quality, continuity, scheduling, allocations, photoweek. All potential headaches!

    But does it really have to be this way? Does it really have to be that each yearbook adviser has to undergo the cyclical crucifixion of yearbook production by doing battle with the demands of motivating students, meeting deadlines and making pages? Well, maybe not completely. For a start I never made a single page. Yes, two enormous, glossy 350 page yearbooks and not a single page. ‘What a slacker’ you may be thinking.

    To be completely honest I was hoodwinked into doing the yearbook, which may be an all too familiar story. When I accepted my job in prestigious international school in February 2006 I had honestly never seen a yearbook. Up until this point I had only taught in British schools and the closest thing I’d witnessed to a yearbook was the graduating booklet, or rather pamphlet. However, it was strongly insinuated in interview that the English teaching job I was applying for was shackled at the hip to the role of Yearbook Adviser. They said that the position came with a payment and ‘some time off teaching’ to get the book made. Eager to get the job and live in central Europe, I naively accepted. The ‘time off’ for my behemoth was a generous 1.5 hours a week.

    I suppose they asked me to do it because oddly school’s often ask English teachers and they seem to regard yearbooks as text heavy enterprises involving hours of writing tedium. Well, I suppose that bit is true. My other USP may have been my knowledge of Media, having previously taught A Level Media Studies for a few years, which came with the implication that I could design using state of the art software. Of course anyone who has taught such course knows this is misconceived hogwash. You just teach an awful lot of theory and usually have little or limited technical knowledge beyond the holy design grail of iMovie and Photoshop.

    When I arrived at the school there was no dedicated space for the yearbook adviser, or even my team. To boot, the old cell like space we were to occupy was deemed a fire risk by scrupulous Health and Safety officers and overruled. And to add to my woes, the previous coordinator had left under a storm cloud, having fallen out with the management. The problem now being that he was immensely popular and respected by the students and I was regarded as his unwelcome replacement, which thrust me is a position of immediate enmity. Within weeks I had already fallen out with a few students over ‘how it should work’ and to say that the future of my yearbook was under threat would be an understatement.

    I decided to do some thinking on my feet and draw upon my previous knowledge in IT Sales and Marketing, where I had spent a few years working with companies designing and selling network solutions and backup strategies. If there was one thing I could do it was design systems, so I started from scratch.

    Within weeks I had set up a new link with the IT director and booked an IT lab every Wednesday evening. I then chose my two layout editors. I treated them like adults and had private meetings with them, always trying to listen carefully and respect their views. We discussed what we wanted to achieve and how they had worked previously. We went through a few books and decided what constituted poor design. For example: lack of continuity, overcrowded pages, two many garish colors. It wasn’t that these things didn’t have their place if used with discretion, it was the fact that they were all in the same book and subsequently stood out like a Hawaiian shirt at a baptism.

    Next, I set about drawing upon the skills already within the team. I believed that the best form of training strategy would be students training students. I had able students give design presentations and demonstrations on the digital whiteboard, while students followed instructions on their computers. These workshops contained everything from saving, back up and layout, etc. The experienced started to pair up with the inexperienced, which had the added bonus of making the team tighter.

    By this state of the game, I had set up a new folder on the school network, which was backed up twice a week. I’d had a nightmare or ten about losing the digital book so it was quite high on my agenda. Each student had their own folder, and all essential files and docs were mastered and kept in an important documents folder. I could scrutinize everything being made and monitor progress, which of course was ‘always behind schedule’.

    Ultimately, I saw myself as a ‘motivator’, ‘facilitator’ and a ‘guide’, rather than a page maker. It wasn’t that I couldn’t make a reasonable page- I possessed adequate skills and knowledge to fix them in most cases- it’s just that I believed I would be more effective focusing my energies elsewhere. I’d say that 90% of my time would have been organizing, equipping, and, of course, buying cookies and drinks. It’s amazing how much students appreciate little things like this after a demanding day at school. It’s bizarre that a €4 hamburger will keep a student motivated and working for two hours. It’s also slightly ironic, as in five years time some of these students would likely command €50-€100 an hour as professionals.

    I am proud to say that not only did I survive the yearbook experience, despite the inevitable first year hysteria and ensuing rush to get the ‘bl**dy book’ finished, we sold a record number in the first year and even made an €8000 profit thanks also to a plummeting dollar. This funded the training conference the following year, free books for school staff and the greatest yearbook dinner we’ve ever had. On reflection, I count my lucky stars that I found such great students, and that I had the great support from my publishers. As I wrote in the first line, ‘no yearbook adviser is trained to be a yearbook adviser’, but we can figure it out with a little help and support.

    Good luck with your book!

    L Thompson
    Grade 11 Coordinator
    Vienna international School

    My Top Twelve Tips for Restful Sleep…
    (in no particular order)

    1. Choose your strongest team. Actively seek them out by asking teachers in the know e.g.- ‘intelligent, hard working, disciplined’. I had no less than 18 capable members with only a few flakes.
    2. Generate some buzz: assemblies, director dinner with students, T shirts, annual dinner, posters around the school, articles in school publications, newsletters, adverts on info screens. It raises the profile and hence the quality of the applicants to the team.
    3. Annual training event- bonds team, educational and often good pointers for new students and advisers. A good launch pad.
    4. Motivate them with praise, food and CAS points (if IB). Vital!
    5. Communication. Have their contact info- email and mobile numbers and update regularly with plenty of reminders.
    6. Find a suitable space- e.g. an ICT Lab. after school 1-2 times a week plus available machines during the day and evening if you can find them.
    7. Team Structure- have a couple of layout editors- these are your ‘captains’- who help you build templates and undertake training for team members. I also had a two text editors, responsible for proofing the entire book. I named the rest of my team ‘maestros’ as they need to manage all elements from taking photos of their events, to page layout and design to writing text.
    8. Don’t overspend on technology. Rarely is there demand for a high end camera, or the latest software, especially if your hardware config. doesn’t support it. For instance CS3 requires a minimum of 2GB of memory . CS1 is adequate (if you are using Adobe products) to build an extremely good book- it does not need to be the latest and greatest versions, such as CS3/4, even though they have some cool gizmos and tricks like the synching tool. You would be better advised spending the money on more colour in the book and on snacks for students. ‘As no army fights on an empty stomach, no starving student makes pages on one’.
    9. Have clear design parameters (limitations)- I playfully rewrote the ‘rules of Animal Farm’ i.e. ‘No Animal shall have photos or text in the gutter’. Within these parameters students had complete creative freedom.
    10. Do books have to be so stiff and formal? We tried to jazz it up a bit thinking of things like fun divider pages, Look alike competitions, Where’s Wally? We raided magazines for ideas. Yearbooks are primarily for kids and content should reflect that.
    11. Get students to model work to other students. I modeled great pages made by students to other students and explicitly linked them to aims and themes as relevant. It provides them with ideas, sets the tone, and raises the bar.
    12. Build object libraries and fill them full of high res. images of graphics you would like students to use in the book (which can also be added via the Bridge). Students scanned in hundreds of images of objects and made numerous designs in Illustrator and we used them selectively throughout the book to give it another dimension. We even had a school wide doodle competition and used the artwork all over the place.

    Thinking About a Green Yearbook?

    Friday, October 3rd, 2008

    Last year, when I visited Stephanie at St. John’s in Waterloo to discuss her yearbook, she said she wanted to use a “going green” theme for the book. First off we started discussing recycled paper and what that involves. She pulled off a brilliant book with an awesome nature theme and we used the agreed on recycled paper.

    This year I had a request from Mikhayla in London to do a “going green” theme book and we started talking recycled paper. She wanted more. She wanted to know about paper, but also other things Walsworth can offer that help her show she is truly “going green” with her yearbook.

    One suggestion I had right off the bat was to go with lighter paper than the 100# gloss they had used in the past to save on shipping cost and fuel wasted in transport. We talked about eco-friendly cover options and more.

    But she still wanted more, so I called Joe Cupp at the Walsworth plant and asked him “What does Walsworth offer a school that wants to push this green initiative…something beyond just recycled paper.”

    Well, Joe just dumped information on my about all the great things Walsworth is doing for our ecosystem on so many levels, not just recycling and vegetable inks. We have an entire “Green Initiative” for the company that focuses on five key areas:

    • Reduce quantities or frequency.
    • Recycle materials and purchase recycled products where feasible.
    • Replace old, energy stealing technology with new.
    • Sustainability of resources provides for our future.
    • Teach employees and Customers what they can do to achieve these environmental goals.

    Within these key areas Walsworth has, company-wide, taken on helping the environment. Here is a pretty comprehensive list:

    1. Recycle of all scrap paper, aluminum, alloys and corrugated. Walsworth Publishing Company has routinely sorted and recycled scrap material. Unprinted “white” paper is segregated from printed scrap and baled for easier shipping. Aluminum plates are also recycled along with other scrap alloys such as copper, brass, steel and magnesium. Corrugated is recycled – and may actually show back up in the binder’s board we use for hard bound books.

    2. Is Recycled paper better? Many of our papers are currently made with 10% or even 30% recycled content. A good rule of thumb is – if the use of the paper is to be one step of quality lower than the original use, the recycled paper will work well. Printed books to magazines; magazines to newsprint; newsprint to corrugated boxes; corrugated to binder’s board. Once paper fiber has been produced, the recycle process shortens this fiber again – making the resultant paper weaker and thus does not handle well on press. Also, the amount of energy as well as chemicals required to recycle paper into a great printing sheet is greater than if virgin pulp was used.

    3. Reduction of VOC’s from inks and cleaners. Our Purchasing Department has made major strides finding and introducing us to materials with a dramatically smaller volatile organic compound footprint. All new materials go through a rigorous approval process to insure our carbon footprint is reduced. These new materials are better for our employees, our local community and for the whole environment.

    4. Use of sustainable materials in our printing ink. Our printing ink must perform to reproduce rich, saturated colors on a variety of paper stocks. The inks we use for web contain soy oils as part of the vehicle system while our sheet fed inks utilize linseed oil made from flax.

    5. Recycle of used blanket wash into water and reusable wash. Utilizing new technology, we distill our used blanket wash, breaking it down to water and reusable blanket wash. The small amount of residue and waste ink is then incinerated off site through our waste removal service.

    6. Reduction in scrap through better estimates of need and improved paper yield. Throwing out leftover material has been reduced by planning tighter spoilage allowances, mixing less pounds of spot color ink, planning for the minimum sheet size for each job, and by utilizing new technology to reduce waste. For example, our new Heidelberg perfectors use only forty sheets for make ready of both sides – while our older, Komori presses required 120 sheets for each side – thus we save 80% on maker ready paper.

    7. Using digital devices to replace litho printing. Although currently slower and less capable of outstanding color reproduction, digital technology is improving. Where feasible we move projects to digital presses where waste is one or two sheets at the max.

    8. Moving from analog proofing to on-line. Analog proofs require toner, paper, labels, wrapping & packaging, ground transport several times, and of course, air transport to meet deadlines. On-line proofing offers 24/7 conveniences with no need to expend energy or materials to move this information. Likewise digital capture has eliminated the need for silver based films and photo processing.

    9. Virtual meetings replacing face to face meetings requiring travel. Although face to face meetings are important to us (as well as the occasional business lunch), making some meeting virtual does save the energy needed to travel.

    10. Use of sustainable forest products. Walsworth has earned both FSC & SFI Chain of Custody certifications. We are able to fully participate in those programs where paper is made from sustainable forests. The certification is your guarantee of this. Not only are certified forests sustainable, but all the wildlife in that forest is protected.

    11. Exploration of wind power for electrical needs. As wind generated electricity becomes feasible, more of this power is added to electrical grids for residential and industrial use. Walsworth regularly meets with our state and local energy organizations to promote research and implementation of wind generated electricity. Our company purchases wind credits through our electrical provider which supports our green initiative.

    12. Conversion of motors and appliances to EnergyStar models. Just as new technology has brought us improvements in direct manufacturing, our auxiliary equipment can be upgraded as well.

    13. Replacement of inefficient lights with better models. Incandescent bulbs often produce more IR (heat) energy than they do light. Newer style bulbs along with simply shutting off unused lights help us here. (Leaving an office for more than 15 minutes is the threshold for saving power). The new bulbs and fixtures allow us to reduce power consumption. We are reducing the number of fixtures in all areas.

    14. Purchasing Green Seal products. These cleaning and paper products have been certified as being made under environmentally friendly conditions and contain human and environmentally safer materials. These materials include paper for end sheets in our books, to paper towels and wipes, to cleaners.

    15. Shutting equipment off when not in use. Shutting off computers and production equipment when not in use not only reduces energy consumption, but it increases the life of the equipment.

    16. Photovoltaic Renewable Energy. Our company is currently researching the benefits of photovoltaic renewable energy (solar panels). We will continue to look at this alternative along with fuel cell technology for possible use in our corporation.

    17. Energy Management System. We plan to install an energy management system in each facility within the next two years. This system will allow us to monitor and control our peak usage at all times which will reduce our demand. This will reduce our carbon foot print significantly.

    18. Water Use Reduction. Over the last 5 years, we have reduced our water usage by 60% through water recycling and reduction. This has minimized our waste water output by the same amount.

    19. Plant a Tree. Within the last three years, we have planted trees around our facilities in an effort to support our green initiative. We have increased our tree and shrub count by 200% on Walsworth properties.

    At the Fall Yearbook Conference last week in Lindau I caught up with Stephanie and apologized for not going far enough for her the previous year and researching this information…I had no idea Walsworth was making such a push.

    She said it was no problem in that their green theme is ongoing throughout the school and would still be of value in this year’s yearbook. Other yearbook advisers who were listening into my remorseful pleading for forgiveness also asked for this information, so I’m glad to provide it here.

    One final note on something I’ve been doing in Europe for the past two years is paperless contracts (if you want them). I have been creating contracts as PDFs that will accept digital signatures. All you have to do is set up your digital signature on your version of Acrobat and then click in the space provided, enter your password that you set up and return it to me via email. I then email it to the plant…no paper.

    I must say I’ve been proud of the quality of workmanship Walsworth has provided all of my customers here in Europe…but now I have pride in knowing they go further than most printers in helping our current ecological crisis.

    Defining Design and Theme

    Friday, September 19th, 2008

    I was in Moscow speaking at a conference for Adobe and I was pulled away at break and told I had an interview with a local IT magazine. Good thing I had a translator…I trust he answered my questions correctly.

    Anyway, the reporter started out by asking me where and how I find inspiration for my designs. I told him “I will often go to the CD shop and look around at different covers to see if one jumps out at me. I don’t look at specific artists, just the design. Then, if I like the design, I might buy the CD, not knowing anything about the music just to try something new.

    “Sometimes I’ll buy music that fits the design I’m after,” I continued. “For example, I was doing a project with a real retro look so I was listening to a lot of Esquivel and Yma Sumac, space-age pop stuff.”

    He then asked me if this was a technique I learned in school or if I had invented it. I told him it was just something that inspired me, I didn’t learn it anywhere, I just do it. “Oh, and sometimes I get a haircut,” I added.

    One way for a yearbook staff to find inspiration for a design is to choose a theme that fits the school.

    First I’ll clarify the difference between Design and Theme: The Design is the look that you carry through an entire project to give it direction, feel, consistency… whereas a Theme is the overriding concept that should drive the design.

    For example, you can have a GREAT design for a yearbook, or other product, and not have a theme. I see it all the time. Choice of fonts, colors, cover, folios, borders all add to a design, whether they fit a theme or not.

    Now if you have a theme, like “What’s that smell”, for example, you would tailor your design to fit the theme as closely as possible so the design carries out the theme and is understood by all and helps give the yearbook more direction and excitement.

    So maybe “What’s that smell” isn’t a great example. I’ll go to my new Walsworth Yearbook Kit and look at the Portfolio Catalog which is behind the first tab labeled “Covers & Endsheets.” On page 6 and 7 is a nice long list of theme suggestions. I’ll pick one at random…“Off the Record.”

    Okay, so now we brainstorm. Keep in mind we aren’t even close to a design…just brainstorming any idea that fits “Off the Record.”

    What comes to mind? Reporters, ledgers, notebooks, old vinyl record albums… Let’s say you have narrowed it down to this record album theme. Okay, now maybe you start talking about the design.

    Perhaps you want to use album cover style art modified for your school. Maybe you want vinyl record looking icons behind your page numbers in the folio. After a quick internet search I found a few sites featuring the best album covers of all time:

    My vote is for The Beatles White Album, but it wasn’t listed so I’ll go for Breakfast in America by Supertramp.

    I would also suggest a stroll over to the local bookstore and look at the music section to see if there are any ideas that jump out at you.

    I LOVE the Taschen book series. Regardless of your theme, they have a full line of books covering ads from different eras, album covers, architectural designs, interior designs, product designs, website designs, old cars and more. Ask the bookstore clerk where to find them and just flip through the pages and take notes.

    I’ve bought a few of the Taschen books. Right next to me here is “The Golden Age of Advertising-the 50s.” The also have them for other decades and they are all great stuff. Great source of inspiration.

    Now that you have your theme and some design ideas, you can start playing with them as you create your template in InDesign. Body font, headline font, colors, borders and more.

    To sum up, the Design helps deliver the Theme throughout the book. You can have a well-designed book with no theme, but I wouldn’t suggest a well-themed book with no design. What’s the point? You’re better off with no theme at all if you aren’t willing and able to carry it off with great design.

    By the way, you can read the entire interview mentioned earlier here:

    New Yearbook Kits are on the Way

    Thursday, September 11th, 2008

    I’m happy to report that the Walsworth Yearbook Kit for the ’09 school year is the best I’ve seen, yet. Great results from a lot of hard work by the Kit Department and Kim Zahner…thanks.
    Walsworth Europe customers should expect to see them in the mail shortly.
    In future articles I’ll dive deeper into individual parts of the kit, but for now, let’s take a quick look at what’s inside:
    • New page and spread template designs (plus some returning favs)
    • New Portfolio Catalog, with predesigned cover ideas, folio art, endsheets & more
    • Photography and Photoshop tips
    • New Ladder and Deadline Planner
    • InDesign At a Glance Card
    • Photo Resolution At a Glance Card (very helpful)
    • A nifty Process Manual that walks you from Planning to Creating to Submitting
    • New Templates/Fonts catalog for easier reference
    • New Click Art Catalog & Disk with new art for 09
    • New Improved Color Catalog and color reproduction guide
    • Color Guide Poster
    • Fonts Poster
    • InDesign Keyboard Shortcuts Poster
    • 08-09 Calendar
    …and a nice big binder to hold all your papers in.
    I don’t know how well this comes off in the written description, but in hand, the kit is very nice…and too heavy to deliver in person.
    When I first joined Walsworth here in Europe I wanted to hand-deliver every kit. What a really bad idea that was. Not only was it impossible for me to visit schools soon enough to deliver early enough in the year, but they were boxes, bigger than a shoe box, that I had to carry on planes, trains and taxis.
    Being new here, I didn’t realize the strict weight restrictions of the discount airliners, either.
    So last year I said to my self: “Self…how about handing them out at the Fall Yearbook Conference, if possible.”
    Perfect idea…or so I thought. The first person I gave the kit to said “Oh, great…one more thing for me to carry all the way back home.”
    Okay…I got the message, finally, and this year they are being shipped out to the schools. I was smart enough to wait until after school started so they don’t end up in the custodian’s closet somewhere.
    When you get yours, drop a comment or note and let me know so I can begin filling in the blanks on how to use it.
    One of our goals at Walsworth is to help you with production so you can spend more time on the content and design.
    Feel free to consider me your Assistant Yearbook Adviser.

    Speakers Announced for Fall Yearbook Conference

    Monday, September 8th, 2008

    Bregenz, Austria — The speaker list for Walsworth Europe’s 2008 Fall Yearbook Conference has finally been set. In what is advertised as the World Cup of Yearbook Conferences, trainers from both the United States and Europe will be leading the sessions. This year’s conference is Sept. 26-28 in Lindau, Germany.
    “We’re lucky to get the best speakers in the world every year so that teachers and students can learn from the experts,” said Russell Viers, Walsworth’s director of European sales. “We’ve added more classes this year and there’s a small chance we’ll bring in one more expert trainer for the event. But for now, this is our starting line-up.”
    Sandee Cohen, world renowned speaker/trainer, and the only person to write books on every version of InDesign since its release, will fly in from New York to teach InDesign, Photoshop and Illustrator.
    Gabriel Powell, author and speaker, will head down from Amsterdam to share his InDesign knowledge that he’s written about in many books and articles.
    Brent Niemuth will join the conference for the third straight year. Niemuth is a top designer and branding expert who will leave his work in Kansas City to work with students for the three days. In addition to teaching some design classes, Niemuth will work with teachers and students from each school in one-on-one sessions to hammer out design ideas specific to their book.
    H. L. Hall, with a quarter-century of expertise in yearbook and school newspaper creation under his belt, will leave his duties as the Executive Director of the Tennessee High School Journalism Association to work with students for the conference.
    Jim Petrucci, who has worked for Walsworth as a yearbook rep since the 60s, will give sessions on yearbook production.
    “I’ll be speaking, too” said Viers, an Adobe Certified Instructor who works with newspaper and magazine publishers throughout the world. “It’s really nice to be able to share the same knowledge we give professionals in the working world to these yearbook advisers and students.
    “Not only are we helping them learn how to produce a better yearbook faster, but we’re giving them skills they can take with them into the next phase of their lives, whether college or a career,” Viers continued.
    For more information, or to register, visit the Fall Yearbook Conference.

    Citizen Journalism and your Yearbook

    Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

    One of the buzzwords in the newspaper business these days is “citizen journalism.” It manifests itself in many forms, but in short, it’s any participation in the publication be non-professionals in the community.

    In the case of a newspaper this can include anything from a letter to the editor to a photo taken at your kid’s yard dart tournament. It can include a blog comment on a newspaper’s website or a full-blown story.

    I have my concerns about this growing trend in newspapers, which I’ll address at another time. But when it comes to school yearbooks, I encourage the entire school community’s participation, or “citizen journalism”, in creating content that reflects the school in its entirety.

    I was at a wedding many years ago where, at the dinner reception, they had put disposable cameras at each of the tables. What a great idea. Knowing the professional photographer can’t be everywhere at once, and knowing that the photographer would also only take a certain type of photo, these cameras opened up endless possibilities of who, what, when, where and how could be captured for the bride and groom to really get the feel of the event.

    In this day and age, there is really no excuse not to be able to capture the who, what, when, where and how of everything that goes on at your school, on your trips, etc. Everyone seems to have digital cameras these days, from tiny point-and-shoots to SLRs with lenses as long as my arm. I had a Yearbook Adviser last year send me sample photos of a ski trip to get my opinion if they would work. Based on the resolution of the images, I told him he should keep the size down to about 4″ by 5″, which was fine…they were all taken by a teacher using his cell phone…and they worked.

    So if we can get photos of everything that goes on at the school, by hundreds of students and teachers, how are we going to manage that much stuff?

    We’ll talk about tools you can use to manage this mass of photos if future articles. For now, it’s a philosophical question: are you willing to open up your yearbook content creation to the entire school or do you want to keep control with the few on staff?

    There are benefits to both sides, but we’re living in an age where everyone wants to participate in the media…and your yearbook is part of that media. If your students are creating YouTube videos, commenting on blogs online or even have their own blogs, they’ve shown they are willing and anxious to participate in the media for free. So why not tap into that and use them to help gather content for your yearbook?

    The advantages of this citizen journalism approach to yearbook content creation are clear:

    • More photos and information than a single staff can possibly gather

    • Buzz and excitement by a larger group about being part of the yearbook

    • A book for the students that is truly created by the students

    • Increased yearbook sales

    Please keep in mind that I’m not talking about the masses designing pages, or editing stories, or deciding which pictures go in. This is still the job of the editorial/design staff of your publication. I think this should be done behind closed doors so the masses are surprised when the book arrives. I’m only talking about content…taking photos, writing stories, etc.

    So for now, as quickly as you possibly can, make a decision between a closed staff that controls the content or community created content. And I’m sure there’s a happy balance between the two and can accomplish all the goals I’ve listed above.

    Where do we begin?

    Saturday, March 3rd, 2007

    I’ve noticed a lot of new InDesign users are a really new. I don’t mean new converts from Quark XPress or PageMaker…or even Microsoft Publisher. I mean new to the “desktop publishing” world, altogether.
    Perhaps I’m seeing it more now because PageMaker used to absorb this type of new user. Maybe it’s because InDesign has finally taken its place as the respected tool of the industry.
    Regardless of the reason, there are people buying and installing InDesign who have no prior knowledge of layout, design, tools, fill, stroke, frame, PDF, etc. They are sitting down at computers and realizing very quickly that before them on the screen is a very powerful tool that has a learning curve…and it’s even bigger for a newbie.
    So here is my question to all of you experienced users: Where do we begin? If you had to give one bit of advice to a new user who knows nothing about print production, design, layout, InDesign, Photoshop, Illlustrator, you name it…what would it be?
    Of course there are the obvious things, like the basic tools, or fill/stroke, or what is a frame and how do you fill it with photos and text.
    But you probably wouldn’t jump right into Edit Keyboard Shortcuts, now, would you. Or XML, or Data Merge (unless they were doing something that specifically needed that).
    So, where does the new user start?
    When we talk about publications, I’m a firm believer in the power of templates. I would, therefore, recommend a new user understand what a template is, what it can do for them and what goes into one. These would include, Styles, Master Pages, Swatches, design elements, page numbers, frames, preferences and more.
    “Your cheating” you say, noting that this would show the new user nearly ten items, not the “one thing” I asked about. I said “one bit of advice” not show them one feature.
    So now I continue.
    If the user were heavy into design I would focus on that. Perhaps they have a history of design, but the computer is new to them. I would get this person right into the “toys” that will make them want to learn more about the program and keep them growing. I wouldn’t spend all day on Story Editor and Preferences.
    But what if someone is a wordsmith? I don’t think I would waste my time on Mixed Ink Groups, but rather focus on the nifty editing and typography tools of InDesign.
    Just some thoughts…and now I turn it over to you.
    Pretend your mom, or your aunt Josephine has just bought a new iMac and the Creative Suite to work on the church newsletter, as well as some other projects. What’s would you tell them to get them started in the right direction as quickly as possible?
    And don’t say “Just let me do it.