Behind the Scenes

Designing a yearbook for Johns Hopkins University's facilities and operations staff, year 2019-2020


4 months

Project Type

Publication / Graphic Design


Graphic Designer


Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe InDesign

behind the scenes thumbnail

Bite Sized Summary


Homewood Facilities Operations received a Diversity Innovation Grant in 2019 from the University’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion to create a staff yearbook for 2019-2020. The initiative to chronicle and honor the hard work of our facilities operations staff was led by Ray Cho, Director of Construction and Planning in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. Our team worked to facilitate the deposit of a digital copy of the Homewood Facilities Staff Yearbook to the Archives.


Johns Hopkins University students and staff

My Role/Responsibilities

1. Design cover and layouts
2. Design overall yearbook theme
3. Report directly to project manager and directors on weekly developments
4. Collaborate with copywriter for content
5. Interview facilities operations staff


1. Publication timeline and uncertainty of COVID-19 (usually printed publication, became online)
2. Finding a balance between complexity and simplicity of content and layouts
3. Being pushed back in finalizing designs due to interviews with staff being delayed.

Designing Covers and Layouts

behind the scenes front cover

I had the great opportunity to work as a graphic designer for the Idea Lab at Johns Hopkins University, my alma mater. We received a Diversity Innovation Grant in 2019 and made a yearbook for our facilities operations staff for the 2019-2020 academic year. While a typical yearbook includes students and professors, this yearbook was specially designed to appreciate the hard work and effort our staff has put into maintaining JHU's facilities. As the graphic designer, I was in charge of designing every visual aspect of the yearbook- from the front cover, the title of the yearbook, page dividers, and main content.

We decided to name the yearbook "Behind the Scenes" because it best describes how our facilities operations staff works- often unseen, but vital to the Hopkins community.

The front cover design uses JHU's school color. I wanted the design to be something simple, yet classic and effective. In the end, I came up with this design, which features good usage of negative space (if you haven't noticed, it's an opening door with light going through the opening).

The general theme of the yearbook that our team decided on was "classic" and "black and white." We wanted to make the yearbook look more like a photo/art gallery instead of a traditional yearbook style. I think this was possible because we featured every staff member on one page, as well as interviewed their experience working at Hopkins.

As a result, when designing the page content, I decided to use a more classic serif typeface. All of the photos featured in the yearbook were taken by Ray Cho, the Director of Construction and Planning in the Krieger School of Arts and Sciences. These photos are special because they are ones taken around campus and facilities that our staff works at.

layout example

Example of a page divider, featuring photographs taken by Ray

As mentioned above, we dedicated one page to each staff member- something that typically can't be done with traditional yearbooks. The page includes some interview questions we asked, and how long the staff has been at Hopkins.

layout example

Example of a staff page.

And lastly, the back cover - featuring the JHU logo with the classic blue school color.

behind the scenes back cover
boy with papers

Overall, I had a great time working with my team, discussing design ideas, and being part of a process that is meaningful and gives back to the community. Compared to when I was the editor-in-chief for my high school yearbook, designing this yearbook gave me a lot of freedom in terms of what I could do with the visual aspects. We were originally going to print these yearbooks out, but because of the covid pandemic, we decided to publish it digitally. Hope you enjoy ☺

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