There are many different ways you can add text to your photo book layouts. Standard photo captions do the job, but you may find yourself wanting to try something different. I often find inspiration in magazines, billboards, online or even on food packaging. Here’s some ideas you may want to try for your next book.
1) Standard Caption
You may just think of adding a small caption at the bottom of a photo to identify the location or occasion. This is a very typical photo book layout offered by the photo book companies. Works just fine and I’ve used this many times. It puts the focus on the photos, so if that’s what you’re going for there’s nothing wrong with it.
2) Color Blocking
If you keep up-to-date on fashion, you’ve probably heard of color blocking. (If you really keep up to date on fashion, you’re probably saying, “Ah Photo Book Girl, that’s so last year!”). I know, I know, but sometimes it takes a while for fashion trends to hit those of us who are NOT up to date on fashion (i.e. me) and it requires being hit over the head with it for it to sink in. Ha ha… anyway, you can also color block in your photo book layouts. This version is a bit more subdued, but you get the picture. I’ve also used a “fancier” font here. It’s called P22 Cezanne for those who are interested. You can find it free online if you Google it.
3) Adding a Background for Readability
Adding this background to your text serves a couple purposes. First of all, if it weren’t there, the text would be hard to read. Secondly, it adds another design element to the page. You may notice I also reduced the opacity of the colored background to allow the photo to come through.
4) Large Titles
Go big or go home! This is a really large font size, but it’s been tempered by reducing the opacity. I like the boldness of the letters.
5) Go Vertical and Drop Caps
Who says everything has to be read from left to right? How about going vertical? Some programs also allow you to rotate your text at any angle you wish. Also, check out the use of two different fonts for your narrative. I combined a very simple font (Century Gothic) with a bold block-type font (Blackoak Standard) to make a drop cap effect for my text. Note that you’ll probably have to put the drop cap in a separate text box than the rest of your text so they can be separately controlled and adjusted. Looks like a cool travel magazine spread, right?
6) Do the Wave
If you’re feeling really sassy, try some curves. I don’t recall seeing this type of tool available in standard photo book company software, but if you have Adobe Photoshop CS or Photoshop Elements you can take your text and use the warp tool to create a ton of different curved, arched, or waved effects. It may not be for everyone, but it can add a little variety to your layouts.
7) Text Wrapped Around an Object
This next example is an idea illustrates wrapping text around an object. You’re probably familiar with this in magazines and on blogs. Here’s an example from my blog. This works especially well when you have a lot of text and what to break it up with some correlating photos.
Below is another way to wrap text around an object. What I had in mind here is a children’s book. Children especially love visuals and wrapping this text around the seastar is a lot more interesting than a caption at the bottom of the page don’t you think?
Most of these text layouts (especially the larger or bold ones) are probably going to be too much to do on every page of your book. Too much as in too busy. I think they would make great options for a “title page”. I am a big advocate of creating unique layouts that act as intro pages for the section of photos that follow. I know you’ve seen me do title pages a lot in my books. For my wedding books I’ve created title pages called, “preparation”, “ceremony” and “reception” and for travel books I may break it up by day “day 1”, “day 2” etc. or by city, “Paris”, “Milan”, “Venice”, whatever makes most sense. If the objective of your photo book is to tell a story, then these title pages act as chapter headings for your book and help guide the reader as to what comes next.
I know Photo Book Girl readers are a creative bunch out there – any other types of text layouts you like to use in your books? Or any one of the above you like most?
Maria C. says
In my present book, a camping trip with the kids, I am trying to be more adventurous so this post is very helpful on how to use fonts in creative ways. I plan to use bold colorful cursive in some pages and I love the “wave” for at least one (swimming in the pond). For other projects or “serious” books, I think that in general less is more and a simple description either horizontal or vertical will give more punch.
Glad you found my post helpful – yes I agree with you that you should change up your style depending on the type of book you’re creating and who your audience is. I’m a less is more person myself (I think :))
I love #3 – how do you do that in Booksmart for Blurb? Possible?
That’s not going to be possible in Blurb using their tools, you’d have to have an outside program. There are other companies where that would be possible in the program itself: Mixbook, MyPhotoCreations, BrideBox, Picaboo and Photobook America. If you still want to use Blurb, you would have to do that background strip in another program – there would possibly be a way to do a workaround with Blurb, but you’d still have to be able to create something in an external program.
Thanks for your reply. I’m nearly finished a book in Blurb, so I’ll have to experiment with other companies to see which I like best. I do like Booksmart in Blurb, just find it’s a bit limited for things like adding titles. But overall it’s been great for my first book – thanks for all your help!
Great ideas PBG!!! What is the font on your third picture….”CAYMAN ISLANDS”? thanks for all your help!
I’m not sure which one you’re referring to, but the two main fonts used here are P22 Cezanne (script font) and Century Gothic (sans serif font). You should be able to find both of them for free online if you google it!
I do a lot of photobooks with MyPublisher – found them through your blog and find their product exceptional with great customer service! However, I do find creativity a little limiting with their software and have to improvise at times. On some of your examples I am assuming you did NOT use mypublisher. I would love to adjust my backgrounds to allow transparency for a photo to show through and I would love to do vertical texts and adjust text for opacity but I just don’t see those options in mypublisher. Can you comment on this? Thanks so much!
Yes, those things were probably not done in MyPublisher. There are a lot of free online programs that will allow you to do that – check out http://www.picmonkey.com – you can do transparency there. Hope that helps!
What is the font used for “Seven fun text ideas to make your photo book layouts pop” in the top row second picture
I think it’s “army chalk”. You can grab it for free on http://www.fontspace.com.