The Three P's of Curating a Yearbook

Issue No.02

There are two questions I am repeatedly asked regarding yearbooks. "How do you make your pages looks so beautiful, can you share what you do ?" and "what are my photo editing techniques?".

Today I'm am going to focus on the first question and share a simple process I have used for well over a decade, but honestly, I've refined this process throughout my life and have incorporated the first two principles into my daily activities of living.

One thing you ought to know first is, I am not that person that is going to say to you, there is a simple and quick way to document your life, here is the app or programme that will help you achieve time management and perfection. Nope...There are a few extremely functionable apps and programmes and some very clever people who can teach you how to use and manage those apps and programmes, however, for me, I am that gal who says it's a labour of love, which requires time, an intentional effort and the right processes to achieve a successful outcome. And what do i mean by a successful outcome? Well that depends on your vision.

If your vision of memory keeping is to create artful, embellished pages that express your personality and showcase your creativity, sadly I'm not the right fit for you. Sad emoji. If your vision is to incorporate a tone of photos with very little journaling, I'm still not the gal for you. I have many albums from my Grand and Great Grandparents that have plentiful and fabulous photos with few to no words, which render the experience of looking through them non profitable to me.

If I’m going to have something take up real estate in my heart and home, it needs to add value to my life, so modern memory keeping for me, requires the curation of visual and written narratives that transform a living memory into a treasure, for more than the present generation! I want my yearbook to have more purpose and engagement, from me and for my audience.

There are a variety of designs for yearbooks. I use the PhD. style. A term I use to describe my personal yearbook design style. For the purpose of expressing my viewpoint, I only refer to the "classics", as I call them. The functional flip through design and the PhD. [Personal History Document] Design. Both are fabulous hallmarks in documenting narratives, however the value of each design style to their audience can be very different.

Flip through yearbooks are fabulous, limitless in design and have their audience. For me they are the quintessential coffee table "look book" experience and we all love a great coffee table book right! They are captivating. Most have enough information to hook the audience with imagery and a few words without revealing too much about the characters or insights about the scenario that unfold on each page. These yearbooks definitely have numerous accolades in modern memory keeping.

Curating a PhD. Yearbook requires the narrator to provide a legacy, a personal history of living memories, an album that curates visual and written detail from the everyday ordinary and extraordinary. The narratives develop and reveal the depth of characters and provide insight and clarity on the scenarios within its pages. These almost virtual pages provide more engagement and insight for their audience.

Both design styles require a mindful and intentional approach to curating and narrating a yearbook, however I prefer the PhD design style. If this is your vision, then we share the same vision.

For the Modern Memory Keeper, curating and documenting your living memories into a yearbook is as simple as following the three "P's" process, delivering functionality to your creative footprint.

We've all heard the classic Stephen Covey mantra "Start with the end in mind", it’s key to curating a yearbook. Knowing your yearbook design style is a great starting point. Which of the classics are you? Flip through? PhD? or other?

I have a simple pattern I follow which I have refined over the years as my knowledge has increased, my skills and talents developed, and my tastes evolved. Some seasons of my life this process has been simple and others collaborative and complex to meet the desired outcome. Either way this process is simple guide I follow to create success for me.

Disclaimer: In my opinion there is no magic wand, [shame about that], to documenting your stories. However, what I can confidently say is, using good judgment in managing resources and investing in developing skills and processes are foundations for success. It's my hope you find some things here that will add value to your processes. Ok, let's dive into my creative process... The "Three P's", Plan, Polish and Print.


A yearbook is a collection of visual and written narratives that reflect the events and lives of people annually. Having an actionable plan of how you will capture and curate those narratives is a good starting point.

  • A plan helps define what you want people to feel after viewing your narratives.

  • Planning helps you curate the form and function of your yearbook, the essentials required to meet your vision.

  • Planning gives structure to organizing thoughts, communicating ideas and co-ordinates a lot of small details.

  • Planning helps establish clarity on design style and elements being used. For example, determining your photo editing, typography, layout options.

A successful plan helps you collect and curate your narratives and acts as a catalyst to action your creative footprint.


Is the process where you action your creative footprint. How you will communicate and coordinate the small details to your audience.

The polishing step is the catalyst that puts your creative footprint into action, it's the collaboration of style, technology and products.

Polishing is the curating process where visual and written narratives are edited, styled and proofed, sketching out how each page sequence will unfold and look in your yearbook.

The editing and proofing process of the small details can make all the different to the look and feel of a finished product. Does my design style require some editing? Do the products and colour palette support my creative vision? if not, refine your editing process; subtracting or adding key elements are part of determining your creative footprint, better understanding your style can enhance the flow, speed and or accuracy of your processes.


Once the planning and polishing processes are completed, you are ready to print.

Printing is often overlooked when we live in a digital age. We take a thousand phots and neglect to print those we want. I know I don't need to remind you about the speed at which technology develops. I no longer use tapes, or CD's for that matter, they are obsolete, just to illustrate my point. Printing your narratives means putting them into the hand of those that matter most.

Once printed you'll have a Living Memory. A PRINTED PHOTOGRAPH is an ASSEST,

the V A L U E I N C R E A S E S O V E R T I M E.

R E S O U R C E S Wilson| Wilson Boutique | Shop All

Persnickety Prints

Milk Books



South Australia, Australia

Email:  contact@wilsonwilson.org




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