From Design to Print: The QCPU Batch Pilak Yearbook

A closer look on a design journey that took almost 3 years to finally materialize

Andrei Trinidad
7 min readNov 28, 2022

A brief history

We, the Batch Pilak officers started this yearbook journey way back in 2019 with one goal in mind — release the yearbook on record time, faster than any graduating batch before us. But we all know what happened in 2019. COVID-19 happened.

Batch Pilak is the official name for the Batch 2019 Graduates of Quezon City University (formerly Quezon City Polytechnic University or QCPU). QCPU is a local university in Quezon City, Philippines. Finelight is a contractor that is responsible for printing and publishing the yearbook. We are not affiliated with Finelight and this article is not intended to promote them.

Working around the Batch Logo

The batch logo is well, surprise! surprise! designed by me.

Two variantions of the batch logo.

There is no deep meaning on the logo. It is just me running out of ideas. It is just the usual QCPU logo and its colors.

To my surprise the batch agreed that they liked my logo.

We have decided to take over the design and layout of the yearbook. We don’t like the idea of the publisher to design our yearbook with almost zero to none creative input on the design. We don’t want to just influence the yearbook design, we wanted to took-over the whole design process. Plus, it will be a slow burn of turnarounds between us (the officers) and Finelight (the publisher) if we let them do the designs.

I needed to incorporate the logo on the yearbook design.

Typography

I used Bebas Neue font for the headings. It’s thin, readable, sharp and contrasts the logos.

Oh, and also Roboto font for all the other copy texts.

Design Software

I used Adobe software to design our yearbook. This includes Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign.

Screenshot of yearbook designs being made in Adobe inDesign, a software for publishing.

The cover design

Proto-cover design

Early ideas of the yearbook cover lean towards a skeuomorphic approach. This includes a black background, a spotlight hitting the QCPU logo.

My recreation of the original vision for the yearbook cover.

Personally, I don’t like the idea. It feels dated and very common for this design. I want something that simple yet eye-catching.

Banyuhay influence

I took inspiration from Batch Banyuhay in designing our yearbook. Banyuhay’s design is ahead of its time. It features a flat and modern look which is fairly new in 2014.

Batch Banyuhay cover features a simple origami art of a bird which symbolizes Banyuhay short for “Bagong Anyo ng Buhay” and geometric shapes

Banyuhay yearbook really got my attention. Very simple yet breaks the traditional yearbook cover designs. Props to them in doing a great job on designing their yearbook.

Early draft

Since I almost copy-and-pasted Batch Banyuhay’s look I came up with something with geometric and polygonal shapes.

The only thing that came to my mind with the word Pilak is just silver and nothing more. I can’t think of any other symbolism I can use for it so I resorted to use the QCPU logo elements on the yearbook cover design.

Here’s my first draft way back 2019:

As you can see this is not my proudest work

It just doesn’t feel right. Something is off with this design. Plus it doesn’t do anything with the silver founding anniversary of QCPU.

A dirty little secret and the pandemic

We tried to submit the early drafts to the publisher as early as June 2019. We are having revisions and conversations back-and-forth with them until the pandemic happened.

The final design direction is not realized until 2021. Yes, you read that right. We took the mantle again and work with the yearbook after a looooooong COVID-19 break. To be fair, the publisher only coordinated with us again when they started to open up their office when COVID restrictions are finally loosened up.

Good thing is that my creative juices got replenished and finally start to flow again to present this new fresh concept with a very different approach from the earlier drafts.

For full disclosure I did all the designs free of charge with a sense of volunteerism.

The final cover design

Here are the things I considered for the final cover design:

  1. We are the silver anniversary batch. It will make sense if we include anything silver-related to our yearbook.
  2. I want to give a focus on the students and highlight Batch Pilak

Considering the points above here’s what I came up with:

The design features a silver stamping for the front cover as well as a UV-spotted (shiny thing) on the QC Memorial tower.

The main cover material is a matte finish with plain white background. A departure from the usual black background used by the older batches.

Pilak is the Filipino word for Silver. Batch Pilak is the name chosen for our batch as it coincides with QCPU’s 25th Founding Anniversary. I choose to emphasize it on the front cover itself. The design draft features the shiny foil-stamped text.

The minimal rendition of the historic QC Memorial Shrine is also in the cover. This element is also included on the official batch logo. This part should be UV-spotted to make the finish glossy and stand out from the background.

The back cover should have the official Batch Pilak logo but it was misprinted with the QCPU logo. I’m not sure what happened here but clearly the publisher did not follow my design.

As for the spine (the side of the book) it features the University logo and Quezon City Polytechnic University text on it.

If you are wondering why we don’t make the name of the university to QCU is because we graduated before the name-change is implemented. We are graduates of QCPU and not QCU (well, technically we are too)

Why is that there are no traces of silver material on the actual yearbook?

Sadly, it’s not part of the contract with the publisher, Finelight. The materials needed for foil stamping is not included. It wasn’t realized until I came up with the idea of adding a shiny silver print on the cover.

This is a matter we the officers have no control with. We cannot alter the contract with Finelight as it is between the school admin and them. Plus, the contract is done way back in 2019. Since then, the school admin is restructured and some of the departments that handle this transaction is dissolved.

This is what a foil stamp looks like

The word “PILAK” should have been foil stamped, but we have to make a work-around and go with UV spot instead. The final print turned out good, but it would be better if it shines.

Inside pages and spreads

From design to print. Here are some of the pages I wanted to showcase:

We choose to highlight the 25th Founding Anniversary of the University.

Some technical details and facts

I wasn’t so sure of the terms exactly but here it some I know of:

  • The yearbook is sized at 12 inches x 9 inches. Designed to be landscaped.
  • It is hard bounded.
  • The cover features a matte finish with UV spotting on specific areas such as the PILAK text and the QC Memorial tower.
  • It is printed on a semi-gloss magazine-like paper.
  • Full color on every pages.
  • There’s a total of around 300+ pages for the whole yearbook.
  • The “Ang Mga Nagsipagtapos” section is part of the layout I did but I am NOT the one who put in every picture of the graduates. As far as I know, it is action-scripted by the publisher and is generated from a list that we gave them.

Final say

It took us almost three long years to publish the yearbook yet here we are having it published at last.

I’m really proud to be part of something that will immortalize our batch.

Special thanks to all the Batch Pilak officers who worked hard to get this yearbook done. And also, to our adviser, Sir Daryl Panganiban who guided us in this long process.

Until next time Batch Pilak!

About me

Andrei is a proud graduate of Quezon City Polytechnic University Batch 2019 (Batch Pilak). He’s also the former president of QCPU Creative Student Society and a member of the Batch Pilak Organization. He is currently working as a full-time Frontend Developer somewhere in Ortigas.

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