The family annuals

A job I finally did while we waited for Edith to arrive – a time when I had a couple of spare days on my hands – the two blurb books I’ve had sitting in the to-be-done pile – one for over a year now – our family annuals.

We chose landscape softcover with premium paper – and for those of you in the UK keen to avoid any postal taxes they’re shipped from the Netherlands, so you’re safe! Each is 120 pages and we thought pretty good at £17.95 each. What we think of that when we’re back in NZ remains to be seen.

These shall most certainly be an annual event – so much fun to put together – and really tremendous books.


from the 2007 book :








from the 2008 book :









A friend sent me an email asking whether I had any design tips for making a blurb book to which I replied, well of course I do 🙂

I like to keep things consistent and simple. I made most spreads one full image on the right and one large image with white space on the left. Some I did use more photos, but I made sure to use only simple layouts – no fancy collage stuff or lots of different sized images – things like three by three small boxes and also pages with two images the same size were good. Nice even stuff. No mess.

There’s no text apart from an introduction / overview of the year at the beginning with a full page image opposite. I have used helvetica as the typeface (or swiss 721) – regular and bold – arial would suffice if one didn’t have either or those, and i’ve used lower case throughout. I think the body copy was 9.5 and the headings 11 points in size.

My design style is to keep everything as simple as possible and let the photographs do the talking. No need for colour, crazy fonts or any fancy design at all. So really, not much designing to do at all.

Note – the photos make the book look square but we got standard landscape shape.



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27 responses to “The family annuals”

  1. melissa avatar

    brilliant. they are absolutely beautiful.

    i have major guilt over the fact that we don’t have any photo albums for our kids- so i might have to start working on a couple. yours are very inspiring!

  2. rachel avatar

    Really terrific! I have been meaning to make some of these for a few years now.

  3. ulli avatar

    o.k. – no more excuses for me. seeing you fantastic books, i have to get mine in order. thanks for the inspiration – (kick in the butt)

  4. Anja avatar

    They are absolutely gorgeous. I’ve been wanting to do one myself for M.’s first year and well, I have to get on with it, but it won’t be this good-looking, I’m sure.

  5. caroline avatar

    Oh, that is absolutely amazing! Just gorgeous.

  6. hanna avatar

    gasp! I LOVE these so much. I’ve had the site saved since you mentioned it earlier. I would so love to do some of these but I’m not sure the finances would permit. Maybe one day.

  7. steph avatar

    I wish I could *favourite some of your posts, this is lovely, I feel inspired.

  8. CMN avatar

    Actually, very good price on the printing! I’ve done comparable books in the US and 120 pages can be up to US$100 (about £50-65 then, depending upon the exchange). And, may I suggest… have a second set printed now? Someday, years from now, Astrid’s going to want to take those with her as an adult, and you’re not going to want to part with them! If you print a second set as you go, then you’ll have a set she can take… and some day your set can go to HER daughter. Pretty, nifty!

  9. erin avatar

    your books are beautiful! i’ve been wanting to do this. scanning photos is first priority, though.

  10. Ali avatar

    Gorgeous. I started and then stopped, but perhaps I need to try again. Very inspiring.

  11. Nicole avatar

    I just wrote a post about making a Blurb book of our wedding photos– I’m totally inspired to do a yearly book, and your post seals the deal! Really lovely, and I like the softcover more than I thought I would.


  12. leslie avatar

    charlotte. they are lovely. lovely. lovely.
    i need to make one, too. or three.

  13. Heart Felt avatar

    What a beautiful momento,love it! xx

  14. Jeska avatar

    These are tremendous! Something so wonderful that Astrid and Edith will treasure forever, what lucky babies you have.

  15. Rebecca avatar

    This is such a lovely idea and I am so much more inclined to do this than print off images to put into a traditional album. You are a wonderful inspiration.

  16. betsy avatar

    These are just gorgeous, Charlotte. And so inspiring. I’m glad to see that I’m not the only mom with a pile of photos and a lot of guilt. Looking at these make the project seem a bit more manageable. I always find such beautiful, inspiring work here. xo

  17. Lindy avatar

    those are just too lovely. I can see from the comments that I am not alone in my procrastination in getting my family blurb books done!

  18. the catskill kiwi avatar

    I’ve been a big fan of just doing the apple ibook’s, but this looks way better and am now inspired to research more options in bookmaking, its so much fun.

  19. Astrid avatar

    They look really beautiful. I very much agree with you on keeping the design simple and let the photos play the main part. That’s how I’ve made my Blurb books too.

  20. di avatar

    They look fantastic- thanks for reminding me that I need to get on and finish the book I’m doing of C’s first year…

  21. Stacey avatar

    These are just so gorgeous.

    You take amazing photographs!

  22. paula avatar

    your daughters are so so so lucky to have such an amazing photographer for a mother! these look incredible. i hope i do half as well on our baby’s future albums (she’s due in june)…

  23. Calypso avatar

    These look fab. I hadn’t heard of blurb books, so will add them to my list of photobooks to check out. (Still haven’t done my wedding albums. It’s only been 18 months.)

  24. Nicole avatar

    really a wonderful treasure!

  25. lindsey clare avatar

    lovely albums. i love the idea of a family annual, such a special way to preserve memories of the little things.

  26. Liska avatar

    BEAUTIFUL and very classic with your non messy design. Eeek I think you will find mine messy in comparison – I finished my first ever Blurb book today and just blogged about it.

    1. Charlotte avatar

      Thanks Liska 🙂

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