Buildings, bridges, cars, furniture, model airplanes and tree houses — these are just a few examples of projects that start with a blueprint. This design plan helps the people working on the project stay organized and follow steps correctly in order to finish successfully.
The same is true with your school’s yearbook. With the right plan, you’ll streamline the process, promote synergy between team members and meet all important deadlines.
Enter the magic of the ladder diagram!
Sure, ladder diagrams may not seem very exciting, but when you think about all the awesome things this organizational tool accomplishes, it’s sure to become the yearbook crew’s go-to from start to finish. Think about it as a blueprint that will help you build an incredible yearbook that people will cherish for years to come.
What is a ladder diagram?
A ladder diagram lists the yearbook’s content page by page. It’s a simple plan but serves as a critical organizational step that sets the structure of the book. You’ll be able to plan each of your yearbook spreads (two facing pages in a book) with the subject and location of each page!
Check out this free ladder diagram example from Lifetouch Yearbooks. Use this to get started and quickly organize your structure. Ladder diagrams are easy to manipulate and change as you figure out exactly where you want each page to be.
What to include on a ladder diagram
The first step is to determine the number of pages you want in your yearbook. Reference last year’s to see if you want a similar number or would rather make adjustments. If you are making significant changes, be sure to contact your Lifetouch rep to discuss how this may affect pricing.
After you determine the length, you need to allocate pages to each section. Start with the title pages, theme spread, divider pages, closing section and index pages. Then you can build out the middle, which is the meat of the yearbook.
The students are the foundation of the school and therefore the people section will take up a significant portion of the yearbook. Consider how many students are in each grade and how many panel pictures should be on each page. In addition, consider faculty pages and whether you want to include candid photos on pages in addition to official school pictures.
Extracurricular activities are the next step when creating a strong ladder diagram. Include sports, clubs and school-sponsored organizations. Varsity and senior levels may demand a full page while others could split pages.
Remaining pages can be customized with coverage based on academic achievements, student life and pop culture features. You could even sell ad pages to help supplement costs. It’s up to the adviser and yearbook staff’s vision!
Insider tip: Throughout the process of building out the ladder diagram, count the number of pages for each section and compare. You want to ensure that coverage is fair so that everyone in the school is equally represented.
Ladder diagrams: A plan for success
You would never start building a house by simply picking up plywood and nailing it haphazardly together. The same is true of a yearbook. By starting with a ladder diagram, you can create a solid plan that will guide you every step along the way!