In this post I wanted to talk about the way I have chosen to help me design the layout of the book. Back when I was working on the yearbook for my children's elementary school, we used a ladder diagram to define what would be on each page. Here's how it works. Draw a vertical line down the center of a piece of lined paper. (Or set up a 2 column document in a word processor.) The left column represents the left-hand side pages and the right column represents the right-hand side pages. Typically you would start numbering the ladder diagram with page 1 on the top line of the right-hand column, then page 2 and 3 on the next line, continuing on with even numbers on the left and odd numbers on the right. However, before you number the lines, double check how it's done with the publisher you chose. Lulu, for example, counts what would normally be page 1 as the title page and it is not counted as a "photo" page. In this case, page numbering starts with the first double page spread. Thus in this case, odd numbers are on the left and even are on the right. On the other hand, Shutterfly and Snapfish do not give you a special title page. The very first page is actually your first photo page and the double page spreads begin with pages 2 and 3. The bottom line is that you need to number your ladder diagram in accordance with the method used by the publisher you have selected.
Once you have a ladder diagram with the appropriate page number scheme, it is time to decide the content of each page. Just jot a quick description next to the page number. Of course, as you're doing this, you should be thinking in terms of the story you want to convey with your layouts and the photos and/or journaling that you have available. If you think that some topics will need two pages, try to organize the book so that those two pages fall together on a double page spread. At the end of this process you will have a road map that you can follow as you create the actual layouts. Of course, flexibility is important and the ladder diagram is not written in stone. You may need to make some adjustments and changes as you go along. But I find that using a ladder diagram as a tool, helps to keep me focused and provides me with a clear idea of what layouts still need to be done.
There are a couple of design considerations that I want to record here, so I guess there will be a Part IV to this blog topic!
That's it for now.