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HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!
One of the aspects I like most about making photo books is playing around with the design – it’s my creative outlet. That’s why in my reviews, you’ll note that I give more favorable reviews to software that allows me complete control of my layouts versus stock templates. But I acknowledge that sustaining that creativity can be hard to do – especially over the course of a 100-page book. I don’t want folks to be discouraged from making a book because the thought of creating 100 pages from scratch is daunting. I give you permission to use stock templates and to reuse your layouts! (I’ve done that plenty of times.) See my post about recycling photo book layouts and other helpful design tips.
The focus of this post is about inspiration. One of my favorite places to look for inspiration is magazines and catalogs. One great example popped into my actual mailbox (versus my email inbox) a short time ago and luckily I found the store actually had its whole catalog online, thus making it easier to share with you. I hope they don’t mind me posting photos of it on my site and big thumbs up to the company’s graphic designer! The catalog by the way is by Anthropologie. I have no affiliation with this store, I just happen to like how their layouts have been put together.
This first layout is all about balance. I like how the multiple photos on the right are juxtaposed with the single photo on the left. There’s also a lot of negative space on the left – it allows the layout to breathe a little. If you did both sides of the spread filled with photos – it would look a little cluttered. Not to say that a layout like that would not work (I often do a collage layout at the start of my photo books, to give folks a preview of what’s to come inside the book, but to do all your layouts with photos filling every available space would be too visually confusing.)
Here’s another similar layout. Also notice how on the right side of the spread that there are some blocks of color where there are no photos. You can do the same with your layout. One of the blocks is being used for a page number. You can use it for a title, a date or a small caption. I’m not a big fan of page numbers in photo books, but if you’re going to do them – do them creatively. Notice how these are not in the usual place at the bottom corners. Also notice how they are a shade darker than the background color. They are also bigger than normal, but that’s tempered by the subtle shading. It works right?
Also, the vertical line of text which is being used to list the items and prices, can be used for a narrative that goes along with the photos. Another thing you may notice about this layout is the harmony of color. This one is all about shades of blue and you can see that several of the products were shot with a blue background. That blue is repeated in the design of the spread showing up in varying intensity. The prior example is the same but in shades of peach. (b/t/w I hear pastels are going to be hot this spring!)
The next two examples I chose for their simplicity. The clean horizontally oriented layout gives a sense of movement doesn’t it? Designers know how to make you want to go out and buy the stuff! Don’t you always aspire to look this good in your photos? (Nowadays, after getting baby dressed, I’m lucky if I remember to comb my hair ha ha…)
The Photo Shoot Layout
I did an earlier post about photo shoot layouts and so this one caught my eye of course. It’s very spontaneous looking and fun and you can see how two of the photos are larger than the others. These are obviously the intended focal points of the layout.
The Big Picture
From these examples, you can see how the catalog’s design is one cohesive unit. The designer selected a defined color palette for the backgrounds and created stock layouts that he/she reused for continuity and flow.
What does it mean for you when you’re designing your layouts?
1) Stick to a few background colors – while you can choose a different background color for every page if that’s the look you’re going for, picking a palette can be a unifying and harmonizing element of your book;
2) Stick to a couple fonts. Normally I choose 1 font for titles and another font for captions/narrative;
3) Create your own “stock layouts” that you can go back to. Use the “duplicate” or “copy” button to reuse your templates. You can easily tweak them to suit the particular spread you’re working on. Even when I’m not intending to reuse the layout, I often use copy/paste so I don’t have to remake the boxes and I don’t have to reselect the font and size. By doing a copy/paste, I already know I’ve kept my font size and font consistent throughout.
Below is a layout from the pregnancy journal I’ve been working on. It’s still a work in progress so that’s why you still see the page guides. (b/t/w I am intending for part of the lettering on the bottom to be partially cut off – I’m debating on how close to get cause I still want it to be readable.) These photos were from last March taken on our “babymoon” when I was about halfway through my journey to motherhood. The collage of photos on the right of the spread is a jpeg I laid out in Photoshop, but I could have done it directly in the program too. At the time I had posted this virtual postcard to my friends and family at home via Facebook, and it made sense to include it as a memento in my photo book. You can see how I sampled the yellow from my shirt to use as the background color and how I used the center block of color to place my caption and date.
Looking for more layout ideas? My blog is full of more ideas, but the following posts focus on layouts and photo book design tips:
Have a great Valentine’s Day with your loved ones!