We’ve all seen yearbooks before. We kinda know what to expect, right? I had just done the 1984 book and won a Best of Category award from the Printing Industries of America, and yet subscriptions were decreasing on a yearly basis and students felt disconnected from their book.
Myself and my staff decided to change the game…entirely. My concept was to make a dictionary instead. We enlisted every organization on campus, creative writing classes and our own staff to come up with appropriate words and definitions, thereby engaging the student body. Add to that a bit of never before seen promotion for the book and both sales and positive response soared, many saying that they had never seen “anything like it.”
Several themes were employed for this 430 page volume. Firstly we played off the double “Y” of the name with multiple uses and variations of inverted triangles. We committed to being better photo editors as well, reducing the number of images in preference to better pictures used bigger. The final touch, which was tough to convince our publisher to go along with, was to die cut the letter “tabs” on the side of the book. This was unheard of, a bit expensive, and had to be shopped out to another publisher, but we fought hard for it, as we were convinced that it was needed to drive home the theme.
The full digital version of this book is now viewable online through the UNC library digital archives.
I got to work with the fabulously talented photographer Shannon Brinkman on her seven year photo project on Preservation Hall. Her photographs of this legendary jazz club in New Orleans were so fresh and full of energy and included a large number of unique images shot in a diamond oriented format. Our job was to edit the work and design a dummy version of her dream book to pitch to publishers. One aspect that seemed logical to explore was using this diamond shape and the jazzy theme in the design. I am happy to say that the book was eventually published by LSU Press, although they did abandon most of my type treatments.
This book/show catalog was originally produced as a companion piece to the benefit exhibition for photographers effected by Hurricane Katrina. The exhibit was held at Solomon Arts in NYC and the book was designed as a piece for those who wanted to contribute to the cause but not at the price tag of an original photograph.
I used a lot of quotes from books and song lyrics to accompany the photos and enjoyed playing with a jazzy type treatment.
Sadly the company that printed the book went out of business, but an expanded edition in paperback can be purchased at