Still Themes

Finding ideas for a yearbook theme can be rough but for 2021, it might be easier given this pandemic. Finally, something that’s easier than it has been in the past. It’s safe to say that the pandemic will be a part of your school year whether you’re distance learning, back in class (6 feet apart), or studying in some sort of hybrid model. Why not embrace these strange times we are living in, and let them inspire your yearbook theme.

Theme edits should be made when you want to make a more permanent mark. Only edit the theme’s files when you are 100-percent sure it will never get an update. For example, if you are using Genesis, Elegant Themes, Divi, Avada, etc., there is a chance that the files you edit are going to be erased when an update is available. More than four decades after the movie's release, Dolly Parton thinks '9 To 5' and its theme of female empowerment in the workplace is just as potent as ever.

To help get your creative juices flowing, we’ve gathered a list of possible theme ideas, pulled out a couple examples of some themes in action, and created a few surveys to help get your school collaborating on what this year’s theme should be.

Stronger Together as a Yearbook Theme

We love the yearbook theme Stronger Together for two reasons. First, it represents inclusivity and making all people feel valued. It speaks to creating an environment where everyone has the same great opportunities to make an impact. Another reason we love this theme is that incorporates the idea that in order for us to get through this year/pandemic we are all going to need to work together to become stronger than we were before. It’s a positive message that could help set the tone for the school year ahead.

Virtually Together as a Yearbook Theme

For the schools that are distance learning this year, it would be fun to commemorate this and what it looked like in the theme of your yearbook. You can use video conferencing frames for some of your photos and add images of headphones and earbuds. This will not only capture the year, but it will capture what technology looked like during the 20-21 school year.

virUS as a Yearbook Theme


Washing our hands, wearing masks, using copious amounts of hand sanitizer, all these things will no doubt be used throughout the school year. Hopefully, hand washing becomes a habit that sticks. Why not build a theme around this. It’s more direct than some of the others but will be a large part of what’s remembered for the 20-21 school year.

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Strange Times as a Yearbook Theme

If you wanted to be a bit sillier, you could consider a theme like Strange Times. Between the pandemic, hurricanes, fires, and unique school experiences these are certainly strange times, but why we really love this 2021 yearbook theme is because it incorporates pop culture and plays on the popular TV show, Stranger Things. You could even create your school’s own “upside down.”

20 Yearbook Theme Ideas for 2021

Still looking for more ideas, below are 20 themes for this year that are unique to our current environment, and ready for you to steal and make your own!

  1. Distance Unites Us
  2. A Year Like No Other
  3. Flattening the Curve
  4. Unmasked
  5. StayHome. StaySmart.
  6. What’s Next
  7. Still Connected
  8. Virtually Together
  9. Acknowledge. Adjust. Applaud.
  10. Together Apart
  11. Alone Together, Closer Than Ever
  12. History in the Making
  13. New Normal
  14. Expect the Unexpected
  15. Pajama Days
  16. Reframing Our Story
  17. The School Has Left the Building
  18. 6 Feet of Separation
  19. [School Name] Bubble
  20. [Mascot] Quartan-team

Survey Your Students to Pick The 2021 Yearbook Theme

Hopefully by now you’ve come up with your own list of ideas to choose from for your 2021 yearbook theme. If you’re having a difficult time deciding, consider creating a survey and getting your community involved. Besides helping you narrow down your themes, this can help get everyone excited about this year’s yearbook. If you really want to get people amped up and get yourself even more help, you could combine your survey with an early purchase promotion, or request for photo submissions. Nothing helps yearbook sales more than getting as many people as possible involved in the yearbook process.

Not sure how to build a survey for your school, feel free to steal one of ours. Simply click the link below, and you will be directed to create your own copy to edit and change as you see fit.

Whatever yearbook theme you decide, we wish you a beautiful 2021 yearbook full of memories. This really will be a year like no other, be sure to capture it. Given not everything will be as easy as selecting a unique theme for this year’s book, check out this list of tips and tricks to help you capture 20-21 in your yearbook.

Steel Themselves

Still life is defined as a collection of inanimate objects arranged together in a specific way.

The magic of still life paintings is that they can show us a new way of looking at the ordinary objects around us. Once they are placed into a specific arrangement and then captured in paint, ink, pastel, or any other medium - the objects take on a whole new meaning. They are imbued with a life beyond the ordinary. Their existence becomes recorded in time.

Andy Warhol's Campbell soup cans. No doubt you have seen this famous Pop Art image at some point during your lifetime. Take an ordinary soup can - it's just an everyday object that you wouldn't think twice about as you drop it into your shopping cart. But Warhol's treatment of the subject matter made the soup can colossal, larger than life, an image to be reckoned with!

The objects chosen for a still life painting often have a special meaning, either on a personal, cultural, societal, religious or philosophical level. The themes surrounding the artwork often provoke introspection and reflection in the viewer. The way that the objects are depicted can evoke a wide variety of emotions, depending on their arrangement, as well as the lighting, color choice, and handling of the paint. These are all things to take into account when viewing a still life artwork. They are especially important to consider when you are creating one.

Still I Rise Maya Angelou Themes

I know that's a lot of information to throw at you at once! Don't worry, we'll examine each of these points further.

Subject matter

The subject matter of still life paintings is determined by the objects that are portrayed in the paintings. Discover some of the natural still life objects that appear in famous still life paintings throughout history! Explore the symbolism and meaning of these objects, with still life examples.

Meaning & Themes in Still Life Art

When looking at a still life painting, or when creating one, the most important thing to ask yourself is, 'What does it mean?' Is it a random collection of items, or did the artist have a particular intention when choosing them? It's easy to look at a painting and think, 'Hmm, pretty objects', and quickly move on to the next painting. But the artwork usually goes much deeper than just depicting pretty objects. Even if a piece is purportedly meaningless, there is always an underlying thought process behind the work. (And if you want to look at art intelligently, it's important to examine the artwork with an investigative eye and an inquisitive mind!)

Still life themes

The themes for a still life painting can be personal, cultural, societal, mythological, religious or philosophical and existential. Or, they can be based on material qualities, such as color or texture. They can even be whimsically based on objects that start with the same letter of the alphabet, or things you might find in a typical junk drawer in someone's kitchen. And of course, all of these themes can overlap to weave a richly layered tapestry of theme and meaning within a single artwork!

A quick jaunt through time:

Historically, still life paintings were deeply imbued with religious and mythological meaning. This was a reflection of the times; the Church was the center of everyday life. Class hierarchy was deeply embedded - everyone knew their place and stayed within it. By the 16th century, society was changing. As science gained more of a stronghold, religious themes fell by the wayside. The natural world was now interesting to observe and record in its own right, not for religious or mythological purposes. As history rattled towards the mid-19th century, depicting the natural world was starting to go out of fashion. Now the art world was more interested in exploring our inner world of moods and emotions. As we sped through the 20th century, still lifes dissolved into geometry as objects were abstracted more and more on the canvas. By the end of the millenium, the object depicted in paintings were exhalted as commodity and recognized for their commercialism, as in the Pop Art and Photorealism movements.

Analyzing a Still Life for Meaning

If you're not exhausted after quickly careening through the history of the still life as an art form, let's close this section by examining how one of my paintings, Yellow-Orange, encompasses a few different themes.

What is this painting about? Well, let's take a closer look. There are four objects in the painting: a toy duck, a candy in a clear plastic wrapper, a Tootsie Pop, and a shiny marble. What do they have in common? Well, the most obvious shared trait, also echoed in the title of the piece, are the predominating colors of yellow and orange. These are a variety of different objects that all share a similar color scheme, so they work well together visually.

Is that all they have in common? Let's examine their function - what are they used for in everyday life? Two pieces of candy and two toys.. Hmm, these objects signify childlike fun! The candies give great pleasure, and the toys bring great joy.. when they are used, that is. In this painting, they are a collection of objects sitting still against a stark white background. They symbolize the potential for future fun, as well as conjure up memories of past fun. In the present, they are just simply there. Simply being.

And what about that stark white background.. what does it mean? Well, ask yourself: what does the white background cause my eyes and mind to do? Basically, the white background forces you to focus your direct attention on the objects. They are almost, but not quite, floating in space - they still have subtle shadows, which define their place in space. In my view, the white background helps these items become more iconic. That is, they represent stereotypical emblems of childhood. They are timeless and unattached to a specific location. They could be anywhere. They could even be drifting in the white cloud of your imagination.

Still Themes

Still The Meaning In Greek

This is one way of interpreting the painting. There is more that I could say about it, but for now, this will suffice. Remember that this is just one interpretation though. You could say that it is the interpretation; that since I am the artist, my word is the final word, case closed. Not true, however. Art is meant to be shared. It is a form of communication, and as such, the story doesn't end when the brush leaves the canvas. It is only just beginning.

When a viewer looks at a work of art, they are bringing with them all of their life experiences, all of their unique memories, all of their knowledge and understanding of the universe thus far. Their mind interacts with the artwork as their eyes travel over the piece. What I experience when I look at a certain artwork will not be exactly the same as what someone else experiences when looking at the same piece. Therefore, what I create will not always be interpreted by others in the same way as I intended. There is always a mysterious gap between intention and interpretation, and such is the beauty of communication.

Read More

Learn why artist Giorgio Morandi is Italy's most famous 20th century still life painter! See Giorgio Morandi still life paintings, whose timeless quality captivates art enthusiasts.

Learn how to paint flowers with amazing classical realist artist, Delmus Phelps! Read an in-depth interview and view his breathtaking flower paintings of roses, daffodils, magnolias and more.

Ready to draw your own still life? Check out this photorealistic art lesson and learn how to draw a marble in colored pencil!

Learn how to appreciate art!

Still Life Themes For Higher Art

If you'd like to learn how to read an artwork and appreciate the meaning behind it, check out this course from the Great Courses Plus: How to Look at and Understand Great Art. This comprehensive, 36-lecture video course will teach you ways of seeing that can help you grasp the meaning and richness of great works of art! If you sign up for the free trial, you'll get access to the course immediately, and I'll receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) that will help support this site.

The books below are available on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Classic Still Life Painting

The Still Life Sketching Bible

Mtmr. The TouchBar Customization App for your MacBook Pro.

Still Life