Power Scrapbooking: Have You Noticed the Page Size

In the most recent series of heritage scrapbook posts, some of you noticed that the pages were vertical layouts rather typical square scrapbook page. Very observant. Thank you. I want to address my personal preference and the challenges that come with it.

Heritage Scrapbook Layout
Traditional Square Layout from Mother’s Scrapbook

When I first created family history layouts for my mother’s scrapbook, I created 12×12 layouts. This is the ‘industry’ standard as far as paper scrapbooking goes, and a preferred size in digital as well.

Cover for digital scrapbook
I prefer scrapbooking 8.5×11 portrait orientation.

Many digital templates are designed for the 12 x 12 layout. Paper and embellishments are designed for the large format as well. Basically, if you’re not scrapbooking 12 x 12, you’re an odd ball. Well, I am an odd ball.  I don’t scrapbook this size for my personal use, I prefer 8.5 x 11. For this project, I was willing to give the size a try for this small project.

Heritage Scrapbook Layout
Mother’s Heritage Scrapbook printed as a 12×12

When my mother’s album arrived in the mail, my heart sank. The book was beautiful, don’t get me wrong. Yet, the book was too big. It was too awkward for my children to handle easily. The book did not fit on any shelves that I had. It did not fit in any boxes that I could use to ship the book to my mother, the intended recipient.Why has the scrapbook industry persisted with this size?

I have read other folks complain in digital scrapbook forums about the 12 x 12 size for the same reasons. They mentioned creating a 12 x 12 layout but printing the book as an 8 x 8. In designing my father’s album, the font size appropriate for a 12 x 12 layout was far too small for an 8 x 8 print. I had to reconfigure things so much to fit the 8 x 8 size that I was beyond frustrated.

Child holding family history
Despite the frustration, an 8 x 8 scrapbook can be held easily.

As you can see, the book is a good size for my daughter to handle. Despite the easier to handle size, the book was actually too small to read all the details I put into the book such as birth records and journaling. The small scale just wasn’t worth the frustration to create.

Military Scrapbook Layout
One final 8 x 8 because the scrapbook was free.
It wasn’t worth the stress.

My only tip is if you’re going to design an 8 x 8 scrapbook, create your pages in a 8 x 8 layout. Do not create a 12 x 12 that you will print as an 8 x 8. The scale is really wrong. By designing in an 8 x 8 layout, you will see just how large to keep documents, photos, and text so they are readable. (Consider the fact that folks with poor eye sight do not want to work hard to enjoy your creations.)

Vintage Scrapbook Layout
The 8.5 x 11 portrait layout is my preference

I like the portrait orientation of an 8.5 x 11 scrapbook. There is more design room than an 8 x 8 and the end result will still be manageable for most people, including my children, to handle. There is a reason most books are printed in a rectangular, vertical orientation. Why fight it?

The biggest draw backs is few scrapbook printers print to this size. Some printers print 8 x 11, 8 x 12, or 8 x 10 or other not quite 8.5 x 11 sizes. I wish more printers would offer the full 8.5 x 11 portrait orientation book.

When I’m trying to find a printer that does what I want, I visit PhotoBook Girl and use her handy wizard that compares printing companies. She also keeps up with the latest deals and coupons for these photobook companies. My current favorite is Mixbook (I don’t receive any benefit if you click through).

Honestly, I prefer the ‘traditional textbook’ size for my scrapbook layouts. But I know that I will have trouble finding a printer. So, if you don’t mind hunting for a printer who will print this size, then I recommend the 8.5 x 11 layout. You may have to re-size some of the pre-designed templates. With a little bit of patience, this shouldn’t be a problem. Otherwise, you can go with the path of least resistance and print the common square size. I hear the 10 x 10 might be worth a look at as well.

5 thoughts on “Power Scrapbooking: Have You Noticed the Page Size

  1. I've just come across this post and want to add that I have ALWAYS created my digital scrapbook albums 8.5 x 11 and I do my own printing. I often do 12 x 12 simply for online display but never for my own use. Also, when I create quickpages for sale or as freebies, they are always offered 12 x 12 and 8.5 x 11 (both landscape and portrait orientation).

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