Shameless plug: If you, my dear sweet fellow English majors, want to write things for the yearbook, email email@example.com
Thoughts: I think that yearbooks (when done well) and comics (when done well) have a lot of similarities. They both use a unique and evolving medium that combines image and text to convey the story being told and they both acknowledge the importance of the planche as more than a space where the images and text simply are but as a part of the overall image and text relationship.
When I was in High School, I was Editor in Chief of our yearbook for two years and the books we produced were honestly just terrible. The page layouts were okay and the stories were relatively grammatically correct, but neither I, nor my advisor, nor anyone else on my staff really had any understanding of how to successfully carry a theme throughout a book, which, as I have had greater experience with journalism and design in college yearbook, I have found to be the thing that makes or breaks a yearbook. My first day of yearbook class my freshman year of high school was a brainstorming session where our advisor handed us a printout covered in a list of cliches and asked us to decide on the theme. We decided on a "choose your own adventure theme," thinking that we would be much more original and creative than all of the other schools doing "These are our memories" or "Welcome to the Jungle." We were wrong.
here are more cliche themes if you want to peruse and cry a few tears:
I have seen examples of other schools going just as wrong with their theme when they draw inspiration from comics. Here are some examples:
(cue shock and horror)
I am really interested though, in how a yearbook might be able to draw inspiration from comics without shamelessly banking on pop art and comic-sans (which makes all things terrible.)
The idea of panel, or photo size, really emphasizing an important moment or event or image is used both in yearbook and in comics, however I think that by playing with panels, and maybe even the effects of leaving some panels broken or pictures uniquely cropped, more can be conveyed about an image than just the simple facts.
As the copy editor especially, I focus a lot of headlines, subheads and captions. All of which become a part of the page, and when done well, effectively connect each page of the book cohesively. The idea though, that each page in its self should tell a story and contribute to the overall story of the year is something that might be fun to play with from a design standpoint with these elements. Headlines that interact with, and nod to the images, rather than merely introducing them...
subheads that tell a story in a few succinct words...
captions that tell not only give context for images, but add to the image, become a part of the image...
Thinking on these things, I am trying to figure out how I can take what I've learned about visual text and apply it to the way that we incorporate yearbook design. I want to be able to use all of the elements of visual storytelling in my favorite form of visual storytelling and pay homage to the wonderful world of comics without throwing the comics theme in the readers face.