One of the coolest and most useful responses to Covid-19 we have seen by a yearbook company is Walsworth Yearbook’s Selfie Portraits program. This innovative concept allows students to use an app that guides them through the process of taking a quality “selfie” photo that meets various criteria of a yearbook portrait photo.
This allows customers of Walsworth Yearbooks to send out a link or text message or email to their student body for students to submit a portrait photo without having to do an in-person photo sitting. The app helps students alight their faces and creates consistent backgrounds, and then sends the photo directly the yearbook company’s online design software so that yearbook advisers can flow these photos along with those taken by the school’s contracted photography company seamlessly.
Digital Yearbook Signing
During the pandemic in the spring of 2020, schools saw that the demand for yearbook was even stronger than in years past as students and parents wanted a sense of normalcy and tradition that only the print yearbook could provide. Distribution of the yearbooks without school in session proved another challenge however, and with ship to home and drive thru and other contactless yearbook deliveries, the question was how could students sign each other’s yearbooks.
The answer came in the form of Digital Yearbook Signing, where students could post on each other’s “virtual boards” with either video clips, images or text. The tech company that dominated the yearbook signing landscape was KudoBoard, where students could order any number of “boards” for their friends to sign on. KudoBoard quickly partnered with Walsworth Yearbooks and a few other yearbook companies. For details, click here.
Pre-Made Yearbook Pages by Yearbook Companies
Some yearbook companies created their own professional quality yearbook content spreads (pages) that schools were able to use to fill pages. This was a big help to schools that had sports and clubs and other school events cancelled in the spring–events that make up many traditional yearbook pages. The yearbook publisher content was focused on the Coronavirus and current events and pop culture trends. Walsworth Yearbooks led the way with 30 pages that their customers could use for free in their books, and several other companies also created some yearbook content.
Community Upload for Photos
Another Challenge schools faced in 2020 was getting photos for both portraits pages and candids for traditional spreads, or simply sharing photos among staff members. Most of the main yearbook companies provide photo upload/sharing technology. Some vendors also offer photo sharing technology via a mobile phone such as Yearbook Snap.
Of course, actually making the pages is the biggest time-consumer. Luckily the industry had already made a shift to Online Design, with nearly 80% of all schools using Online Design as opposed to the older way of designing with desktop software such as InDesign. Although InDesign has become more remote-friendly thanks to cloud storage and Google Drive, there is still nothing more effective for collaboratively designing yearbook pages with other staff members in different homes than Online Design. No need to mail proofs or worry about missing links and file organization.
The top ranked Online Yearbook design programs in America as of the 2020-2021 season included, in order: Walsworth’s Online Design, followed by Yearbook Aevenue, and finally e-design.