Nothing produces nostalgia like a personalized book documenting your year in photos, captions, and inspirational quotes. Amidst tweets and status updates, year in review books ensure our memories live on in more than just search engines.
Here are 14 tips for creating the unique and personal year in review book you deserve.
1) Gather as many photos as you can. The more choices you have, the better. Ideally, you’ll have around 50 photos to choose from.
Photo resource ideas: your cell phone, your friends’ phones, photos taken at work, and photos found on Facebook. You might even want to ask close friends to send you any pictures they have saved.
2) Get organized. You can keep your photos in one central place in your York account. You can even create folders for different types of photos – and there’s a mobile app so you can drag and drop them from your phone to our database.
3) Experiment. Spend a few hours playing around with York’s design tools. Because there are so many layout and clip art options, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Play around with different ideas and don’t feel rushed. Your book should shed light on the last year of your life in a unique and creative way. This is a process you can’t rush.
4) Settle down. Pick a size, cover type, theme and layout once you’ve had some time to explore. A few options to consider:
(1) Organize your book by month, with seasonal images and clip art.
(2) Create a storybook narrative based on a specific obstacle or major life transition, such as starting a new job, getting married or having kids.
(3) Organize your photos by pairing them with relevant quotes or song lyrics.
(4) Pick an unexpected and quirky theme, like the best meals you ate in the last year.
(5) Organize your book by “genre.” Divide up your photos with headlines like Work, Play, Friends, Relaxing, and Family.
5) Don’t gloss over the sad stuff. Unless you’re invincible to life’s pains and rocky transitions, your year probably had a few low points. While it’s tempting to leave these out of your narrative, you’ll be doing yourself a disservice. In a few years, it will be comforting to look back on tough times and know you made it through and thrived.
6) Pick a “brand.” Consistency is key. A few ideas: vintage or retro, hip and indie, preppy, or modern and sparse. No matter what “brand” look you choose, remember to vary your layout. Leave white space strategically, and don’t be afraid to give your favorite photos a full page.
7) Make a list and check it twice. Jot down the most important events in the last year of your life. This list will serve as an outline and check list as you’re compiling your book. It can also help you decide on a theme.
8) Make a cast list. Make a list of people who need to be included in your book. You don’t want to click submit before realizing you left your best friend (who hates being photographed) out. One fun idea to incorporate your whole cast: write down the funniest things people said to you in the last year. Inside jokes are great material!
9) Embrace your scanner. Kind letters from friends, clips from stories your kids wrote in school, and receipts from especially memorable and rambunctious evenings add a personal homemade touch.
10) Dig deep. Before finishing your book, take a glance through the pages and see what deeper meaning you can find beneath the photos and captions. Make your book more than a preservation of memories – make it a reminder to revisit year after year.
11) Remember the little things. When you look back on this year in your life, you’ll want to remember ordinary occurrences along with major life moments. Walking your dog with your fiancée on a Sunday morning, stopping for coffee on the way to work, and enjoying a 5p.m. margarita might seem insignificant now, but remembering these commonplace activities will be monumental as you grow older.
12) Put on your designer hat. Free and easy to use graphic tools, such as Canva and PicMonkey, can give you even more options if you have something in mind that can’t be found in our templates or clip art. You can design beautiful graphics from scratch in these tools, or edit and enhance photos you already have. Plus, Canva has a pool of free template images to choose from.
13) Mix in social media. Incorporating your favorite social media posts or comments is a great way to bring your year in review book into the modern age. A few fun ideas: take screen shots of changes in Facebook relationship statuses, photos of you and a close friend reuniting, or “Happy Birthday” messages friends posted on your Facebook wall.
14) Put on your editor hat. Before hitting the checkout button, go over everything very carefully. Are all the names spelled correctly? Are there any typos? Is all of the important information within the blue safety line? Are any of the photos too dark, too light or slightly out of focus? You might consider having a friend look over everything with you. We don’t review each individual page for these types of errors.
Year in review books take time to do well, but the effort pays off when a beautiful and professional book documenting a slice of your life arrives in the mail. Our design tools make creating your own concept foolproof and fun. Give yourself the greatest gift this holiday: a book stuffed full of memories and inspiring moments you’ll flip through for many years to come.