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The Ins & Outs of PLICBooks

Yearbook Design Software Made with Advisers in Mind

A computer sits on a desk. On the left side there are headphones, a coffee, and a phone. On the right side there is a mouse, camera, and camera lens.

Creating a yearbook is no small feat. Designing each page spread as well as compiling pictures and keeping track of many components, makes the yearbook a true labor of love. We see you yearbook advisers and yearbook staff, and we appreciate the effort you have gone through to commemorate this school year.

Part of the extensive work you do can either be made simpler or worse depending on the software you use. At United Yearbook, we provide a software program called PLICBooks with yearbook advisers in mind. It is very robust and user friendly. Part of the ease comes from the software being completely online. You are able to simply go to the website and login with your credentials. There are two main components we wanted to include within the program so that you can keep as many things in one location as possible. We have the project management side of things and the nitty gritty design features.

We see the user portion of the software program. Row by row it shows the different users along with the options to edit them.

I’ll start by dissecting the project management features we’ve included. On our main page, the dashboard is located on the left hand side. Beneath the “subject management” tab is the “users” tab. This is where each user will be able to use their own email to login to the program. The adviser gets to choose which email to send it to, along with their name, and most importantly their role. The adviser can designate how much privilege each user gets in working with the yearbook and the tools they have access to. So, you may give the Editor-in-Chief a different role than a photographer whose main role may be taking pictures. This will give them certain access that other users do not have. There’s even the option for a “proofer” role, in case any school admin wants to go through the book and proofread, spell check, or make sure nothing inappropriate accidentally made its way in the book. The yearbook adviser can also go through each user and assign specific pages of the yearbook to them. It’s as simple as clicking to the right of the user under “actions” to edit access and check off any pages you want to assign to that student.

At United Yearbook, we try to make sure the advisers’ and staffs’ voices are heard.

Our “candid photos” tab is incredible because all of the photos can be added into this part of the software instead of using something like Google Drive or Facebook. We've included a variety of folders advisers can add their images into such as staff portraits, red ribbon week, homecoming, etc. Advisers are also able to create a new folder to better categorize photos for any specific needs or events that weren't included. This feature was actually not an option last season. We got a request from an adviser who expressed how helpful this feature would be. At United Yearbook, we try to make sure the advisers’ and staffs’ voices are heard. So, we worked with the software engineers and made the feature available this season. This portal is also very robust because there is no limit to the amount of images that can be uploaded into the program. Our software has many backup drives that allow advisers to upload as many images as needed without slowing down the work on any project. So, you’ll notice that even if multiple users are working on it at once, it will still run very fast. The yearbook adviser is also able to archive the images for the entire book or a specific page if they wanted to. Another feature we love is the ability to create a folder and share the URL. Let’s say you had a group of parent volunteers. You could create a folder with the title, “parent volunteers” and send them a “guest URL.” Once the parents receive the URL, they are taken to a page that allows them to submit photos from their computer, Google Drive, or Instagram. The yearbook adviser is then notified that there are submissions that they can either approve or deny.

Under the events tab, advisers can include information about a certain event that needs coverage. For example, if there was an important football game, the adviser could assign specific student/s to be in charge of that event. They could choose the date as well as include a description of what is needed for that event.. The adviser is also able to keep track of the online store and the yearbooks that have been sold. They can generate a report of the orders made using the “export as CSV” feature at the top of the screen and can use it to keep track of how much money has been made in sales.

We see the inside of a yearbook page spread with multiple students portraits along with their names. We also see the option to change the layout on the left hand side of the program and on the right side we see the option to add images and clip art.
Everything about this composure mode is about clicking and dropping.

Now that we've touched base on a few of the extensive project management features, let’s get into the design aspect. When an adviser wants to work on the design they can go to the top of the program page and click “open the book.” Once this portion is open, users will see a preview of their book and can work on it page by page. On the left hand side, advisers are able to choose from many different templates to build each page. It is also completely customizable. There are a variety of portrait specific templates available as well. Everything about this composure mode is about clicking and dropping. On the right side, advisers are able to click and drop any of the photos that have already been uploaded into the software. We also have clipart/ free images that can be used throughout the yearbook.

We see a customized index page spread. This has multiple hexagons  with images and page numbers located beneath those hexagons. This shows how customizable each template can be.

Plicbooks also comes with tons of editing features. When a user clicks on an image, a bar appears above it. It’s called the tool bar. This is where users are going to find the editing tools. When the user hovers over each of the little icons on the toolbar, it will describe which editing feature it is. We did this to help ease any of the initial confusion that comes with a new software program. Users can blur the image, change the opacity, change the saturation from a simple color to a very vibrant one, change the contrast, change the brightness, change the hue to shift the colors in the image. There’s a feature that allows users to copy the edits you included within one image to the entire page if needed. There’s an image info tag feature that is similar to hashtags. If the team wants to have index pages in the back of the book, it will gather all of the page numbers that have a certain tag. For example, football, volleyball, homecoming, senior portrait and can help sort out all the pages associated with that tag. These are just a few of the editing features included within the software.

As you can see, this is a very robust software program that we've provided intentionally with yearbook advisers in mind. We hope that each user will get tons of features and help all from one place.

Click here to schedule a free demo and learn more about this innovative software!


Contributor: Sarah Y. Tse, Founder of United Yearbook

Sarah received her M.A. in Marketing from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, and her B.A. in Computer Graphics Design from Biola University. She co-founded TSE Worldwide Press in 2004, and established United Yearbook Printing in 2008. Sarah takes pleasure in mentoring and teaching others the art of self publishing, especially with those who are first-time authors, teenagers, or community leaders such as police officers, school administrators, and school teachers. Sarah is passionate about empowering people to see and activate the God-given potential which resides in each of us. Sarah’s motto is “You can do it!”

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