Herff Jones

Replacing old school processes with digital tools

Herff Jones and Studio Science transform the book publishing process with a user-friendly software platform.

Herff Jones publishes printed yearbooks for thousands of high schools across the United States. They sought to create new business advantages by reimagining the yearbook production process.

Identifying the Opportunity


To find ways to improve the business, Studio Science evaluated the yearbook production process. We visited high schools in San Jose, California, and Indianapolis, Indiana. We analyzed how the yearbook staff worked by documenting people (their roles, motivations, actions, and interactions), processes (the overall lifecycle and milestones), products (the ecosystem of resources, services, and software) and problems (the causes and ramifications). We found that each school had a different system for managing the process, consisting of binders, sticky notes, bulletin boards, and file folders.

Ultimately, Studio Science recommended the creation of a web-enabled project management system. Migrating students from individual analog systems to a comprehensive digital project management platform would create value for everyone involved. The managers at the Herff Jones printing facility would be able to anticipate production challenges by gaining real-time visibility into the progress and quality of work by students. The faculty advisors and students would be able to meet printing deadlines more readily as well as alleviate their stresses by streamlining workflows through file sharing and collaborative processes.

Building Out the Future


We worked with students to identify the action items they needed to track and the tasks they needed to complete. We created a robust clickable prototype for the project management system through a combination of user stories from Herff Jones and our intensive qualitative research. This prototype mapped out the entire yearbook creation process while incorporating emotional support features like custom emojis and confetti to celebrate finishing a task. We performed all of the front-end development and created a custom bootstrap library so Herff Jones could engineer the software with fidelity.

“Designing the product in collaboration with the actual users was critical to our process. We needed to ensure proper usability of the prototypes and that the tool also streamlined their workflows.”

Evan Strater Product Design Lead

Continuing the Legacy


Herff Jones is, at its core, an education company. By transforming the yearbook process into a digital experience, they’re better preparing students for the editorial processes and tools they’ll encounter in college and beyond. Herff Jones has achieved visibility into their core processes that will protect and enhance existing revenue streams. This project management software will empower students—and Herff Jones—for years to come.

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