Designing a Photo Book
Illustration by

Designing a Photo Book

with Nigel French

Video: Breaking the grid

I've spoken already about the usefulness of designing with a Layout grid. While using a grid makes it easier to create layouts that are ordered, and consistent. A rigid adherence to that grid can sometimes result in a design that looks too boxy. For that reason it's good to sometimes break the grid. Here are a few simple ways to do so. Overlapping images can create a fun, informal look, as if the photos were just tossed down on a desktop. The trick is to make their placement look random, but of course in reality it is anything but.

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Watch the Online Video Course Designing a Photo Book
46m 22s Appropriate for all May 29, 2013

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Photo books are a great way to display and preserve your memories, and services like iBooks and Blurb make it easy and affordable to create professional quality bound books. But your design choices are what make them special. Join designer Nigel French as he covers the basics of planning and building a photo book, reviews the qualities of good photo books, and examines the design principles at work in their creation—regardless of the software used. This course provides both inspiration and practical techniques for creating your photo book.

Topics include:
  • Making a flat plan and determining a schedule
  • Choosing and sequencing your images
  • Cropping images for maximum impacts
  • Adjusting tone and color
  • Printing duotones
  • Adding text
  • Designing the cover
  • Comparing types of books
Subjects:
Design Photography
Author:
Nigel French

Breaking the grid

I've spoken already about the usefulness of designing with a Layout grid. While using a grid makes it easier to create layouts that are ordered, and consistent. A rigid adherence to that grid can sometimes result in a design that looks too boxy. For that reason it's good to sometimes break the grid. Here are a few simple ways to do so. Overlapping images can create a fun, informal look, as if the photos were just tossed down on a desktop. The trick is to make their placement look random, but of course in reality it is anything but.

And it can take some time to make sure that certain parts of images are concealed, while the essential parts remain visible. If you have a group of images rotating just a single member of that group is an easy way to create visual interest and tension. Then there are the cutouts and pop outs that we see so often in magazine design. A cutout is where the whole image is isolated from it's background. A popout is where just a portion of the image subtly breaks out of the image frame.

All of these techniques can be tremendously effective, but they will give you photo book a more magazine-like feel. If yours is a serious book of art photography, you'll probably want to skip them. If on the other hand your photo book is documenting a fun event or travel adventure then you might consider using them to make your book more officially compelling.

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