Yearbook ideas

Collage Don’ts: Avoiding common mistakes

15 February 2016

Freedom is a great thing don’t you agree?! When designing your photo montages, you have complete control as to which images go where and how everything is presented. Sometimes though the range of possibilities can lead us astray so today I’m talking collage do’s and don’ts to help you create the happiest pages 🙂


Let’s start with everything that’s right and wonderful about this example. Firstly, the page feels full- there’s no glaring gaps of empty space and there is a nice balance of images across the spread. Each photo is nicely framed and centred and the images are all fairly well lit so nothing will print too dark. When you have lots of group photos, it is best to use fewer frames and make the images larger on the page. This will allow you to see everybody in the photos clearly; when you’re 80 and squinting at your book through thick spectacles you’ll thank me for this!

There are lots of fabulous backgrounds available through the system so you should always find a nice one to use in your designs that will complement the theme and content you wish to include. If you’re developing a theme throughout the whole book, why not try variations of backgrounds along similar theme sets. i.e. different types of papers for journal styles. If you love a particular background but feel it’s too busy or heavy for the page, you can always reduce the opacity so you have a lighter version of the design 🙂


When making any yearbook pages, you’ll notice there are some faint grey boxes around the edges of the page to guide you 🙂 These boxes indicate the safety margins on the page and whilst it’s fine to bleed backgrounds over this, you’ll want to keep important content within these lines to ensure nothing gets cut out in the spine of the book or is too close to the edges of the page. In the example below, we can see the title text goes across the gutter and the middle of the text is hard to read as it goes into the spine. This is the kind of thing to avoid where possible!

openBookbMoving on to our second example, you can see there is a big difference here. The images are scattered on the page randomly and it all feels a little haphazard! As you drop images into frames think about the frame size you’ve used. You wouldn’t put a portrait image into a landscape photo frame in real life so why do it online. By selecting suitable sized frames, you can ensure no one in your image gets decapitated (always a good thing)! Similarly avoid letting your photos go off the edges of the pages as these may be trimmed when the book is put together.

There is no magic remedy for dark and pixelated images so if you choose to include them, be aware that these can look pretty bad in print. Anyways check your print resolution PDF file to ensure you are happy with how they will look when printed and if possible, try to find alternative images for better results. Any extremely low resolution images will be flagged to you so you can discuss them with your team and make decisions accordingly.

So to repeat, a good collage =  well lit, good quality photos with group photos in prominent larger frames and photos centred! If you’re ever unsure about your page designs and need a second opinion, just leave us a chat message and we’ll have a look over them for you 😀 Have fun…

the AYB team