Tuesday, 7 January 2020


Hands in the air if you’ve ever started an everyday moment type of scrapbook album like Photo-a-Day or Project Life (started by Becky Higgins) and then fizzled out mid year. I’ll admit that my hand is up too! It’s not like I haven’t completed annual albums for several years but somewhere along the way a few years back I just lost my mojo. So I’d like to take this opportunity to present some ideas to think about so that you can be better prepared to tackle this project for 2020 and be successful.

How are you going to print it?

Individual pages, hybrid/physical pages or photobooks? Because each option will require some planning up front. Individual pages can be printed at home depending on the size and the printer(s) you have available or sent off to print at a company like Persnickety Prints. Hybrid pocket pages will require the purchase of specific pocket pages to get ready for assembly. Photobook printing companies each have their own guidelines for bleed so that items don’t get cut off the sides of the pages when printed, so be sure to look up that information before you finish layouts and then have to go back and fix them.


There are tons of options out in the market now in the way of sizing. You can create digital pages at 12x12 and then print them at 8x8 or 10x10. The 9x12 size is very popular these days, smaller and a little less daunting than 12x12 but still with enough “real estate” to get a lot of photos on the pages. Of course, 6x8 is also a very popular size. If you don’t feel like you always have photos each day this could be a cozy size for telling in-depth stories or personal journaling instead. Of course, then you get to use cute pocket cards too! ;)

Same layout or switch it up?

Some people like to use the same digital template each week or month because it’s easy, no decisions to make or getting overwhelmed, just pop photos in and get started. Others find an album set or two they like and mix and match so that the look is cohesive. Several digital designers have monthly template set series that coordinate and could work very well for a monthly album. Other scrappers don’t want to be tied down to any certain template set and mix and match to their heart’s content with different styles. There is no right answer, only YOUR answer. I know my eclectic style well enough to know that I get bored pretty easily and when I look back at older albums where there were all kinds of different template sets mixed together I love how they look!


Having the same font is one way you can keep a mix and match album looking more cohesive.You could also stick with one main font for journaling and pick a fun font for titles or accents. All you have to do is go to Pinterest and search for “font pairings”, you’ll get tons of ideas. Here’s a tip: once you decide on the font size(s) and vertical spacing you want to use, jot it down so you won’t have to open up past pages to check.

They say that serif fonts used for blocks of text are actually more readable than sans serif because the font is more legible. I’m also a big proponent of getting your own handwriting into your albums. If you don’t have your own custom font, it is certainly a nice addition to your arsenal.

What kind of titles?

Generally, these types of projects include titles in the form of weekly or monthly identifiers. There are plenty of Week Number card sets out in the digital marketplace and that would certainly add a level of consistency to your project. If uniformity doesn’t speak to you or if you just like to wing it each time, why not consider alpha sets mixed with elements. Pink Reptile Designs has SO MANY different alpha sets, including ones with multiple color variations. You might end up using a multitude of different kits to complete your weekly or monthly spreads and use the matching alphas to create your own title cards. If the kit doesn’t come with an alpha, have a selection of neutral alphas picked out that can be used with multiple color palettes.

Here’s an example of creating my own week cards using the December BYOC kit and alpha sets.
Stick to a color palette?

Back in the day, many paper scrappers picked one physical PL kit and carried it through for the entire year.I’ll admit to doing it… once. Man, I got sick of those cards and colors! If you’re like me, maybe you could pick out some key colors that you love and then choose digital kits each week/month based on your favorite selections.

If the thought of varying colors sets off your twitchy OCD, you could use a plain white or kraft background to rest the eye a bit.

What’s your style?

If your style runs to clean and graphic, your project pages might include journal cards to tell the details of the week/month, filler cards to add a little visual interest, photos and stickers/labels for a very paper-looking alternative.

If your style is clustery, find a way to build clusters on perhaps a filler card or two on each page. Elements don’t have to fit in the pockets. Consider this permission to put stuff on top of the digital pocket dividers. That’s why we’re DIGITAL scrappers, am I right?

If your style is artsy, don’t think you can’t join in these projects. What do you need pockets for anyway? You can achieve the same level of documentation with legible journaling, blended photos to tell the story and enough artsy embellishments to make your heart happy.

Bottom line, your project doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. It just needs to make you happy. And I can guarantee that looking back on it a few years later you’ll be so glad you took the time to make it.

How many pages?

Don’t think you have enough photos and stories to do a two page spread each week like you see others doing? Not a soul is ever going to look through your book and compare the pages to the perceived perfection you imagine in digital galleries. Maybe you have too many photos because of a holiday, birthday or graduation. Create an insert page, even one in a smaller size. You’ll appreciate the increased level of detail captured for those events when you reflect back.

Themed kits, yay or nay?

I say YES. There are usually always enough generic items in a kit to create a page without having to use overly themed items. If the colors and vibe of the kit make you smile, use it.

Speaking of themes, what thematic items come to mind with you think of PL? Before we get started, we should look through our stash for those items and identify them/tag them or the kits they come from. Then you can keep the thematic elements in mind when looking at store/designer newsletters each week.

For example, the thematic elements I use over and over again are cameras, anything that says “today” “now” “currently” “captured” etc, arrows to point to stories, labels and really any relevant word art. I went through just fifteen of Pink Reptile Designs’ kits and came up with all of these items that could work perfectly in my album.

I hope this gave you a few things to consider before jumping into your 2020 projects. Taking a few minutes to plan up front might just be the difference in keeping that mojo flowing all year.


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