Case Study

Herff Jones

Picturing the Customer Journey to Guide an Innovative Product Offering

As one of the nation’s leading providers of high school and college achievement products, Herff Jones turns memorable student moments into customized [memorabilia], including class rings, caps and gowns, and yearbooks.

  • Innovation Consulting
  • Qualitative Research
  • UX & UI Design

The company sought to understand how high school yearbook teams utilize technology in today’s shifting cultural landscape. With the ultimate goal of identifying opportunities to improve the yearbook creation process, Herff Jones partnered with Studio Science.

This research centered on the perspectives of those who are closest to the yearbook creation process: advisers who teach and guide yearbook students, student staff members tasked with capturing the story of their school year, and the Herff Jones representatives who often act as design and sales consultants for their schools.

The Challenge

Herff Jones wanted to alleviate the challenges advisers, staffers and sales reps face in the process of yearbook creation — from initial concept to book distribution at year’s end. They asked a key question: How might we reimagine the yearbook creation process to improve the quality of the publication and the overall efficiency of yearbook staffs?


Deep insight would allow Herff Jones to create tools that were not at risk of being outmoded, unhelpful, or already existent. By asking smart questions of the right people, the company would be able to identify prime opportunities tailored to meet the most pressing needs these high school teams faced.

Herff Jones selected Studio Science to conduct people-centered research in a vital and informative environment: high school print publication and journalism classes.

Studio Science is a great partner — their ability to understand our complex business and identify the core functionality our customers need was impressive.

Parker Lyons, Sr. Digital Product Manager at Herff Jones
Herff Jones product exploration



We found needs worth addressing for all parties involved. Yearbook advisers needed assistance with what amounts to running a small business: advertising, marketing and yearbook sales. Staff members needed structure and direction to meet their responsibility. And Herff Jones sales reps needed to somehow be in all of their clients’ schools at the same time.

We worked to alleviate these pressures by producing a prototype project management tool that would provide the extra support needed to meet publication and sales goals. Much like our research phase, creation of this tool hinged the participation of those most deeply involved with the work of building a yearbook.

The Results

This project management tool is helpful for everyone involved in the yearbook creation process. Advisers and staff have a comprehensive overview of key production dates, staff tasks and sales information. Advisers are more able to “steer the ship” and help staff manage responsibilities and team collaboration. Herff Jones sales reps can focus their energy and attention on individual goals and higher-level client concerns.

A single tool shapes the yearbook-creation journey into actionable goals, distinguishing Herff Jones from its competitors.

Herff Jones has been actively sharing this prototype with its reps and customers. They have been enthusiastic across the board, expressing a desire to have the tool in hand as soon as possible. This confirmation of real-world need and a validated product concept has compelled Herff Jones to create a limited release for the 2018-2019 school year with a full released planned for the summer of 2019.

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