Family Album 2013

Family Album 2013: Colored Tabs on the Fore Edge

This post is part of a series where I explain in detail how I approached and built my 2013 family album that was printed  by Blurb. In a hurry? View the completed photobook, now.

Did you know that the edge of a book opposite the spine, where you open the book, is the fore edge? Neither did I. That is why I had to google the phrase, “what is the part of the book opposite the spine called?” Thank You Ms. Internet for always having the answer to my questions.

Anyway, I have Pinterest board that is dedicated to Photobook Ideas. Right as I was in the planning stages of my album I came across a pin with a creative layout for a Table of Contents. The original pin is gone, but it was something similar to this:

I thought it would be neat to have bands of color running along the edge of the book that signifies different events and time periods. My hope was that it would be a visual cue even when the album was lying on its side, and that it would make flipping through the album to find a particular image a bit easier.

Here is what the Fore Edge looks like on the finished album:

As you can see, only the blue band of SUMMER and the green band of SPRING are noticeable. In hindsight, there is a good reason for this: full bleed images. The other colors I chose for the tabs are simply too light to compete with the colors in the images.

For my 2014 album I plan to repeat this concept, but I will definitely have to think about my color choices and opt for something just a little bit bolder. I also wish I had thought to build a simple Table of Contents page that introduces the colors at the beginning of the album. I plan to do this in 2014.

Here is a step-by-step as to how I designed the colored tabs and how I used them throughout the album:

  1. I drew a rectangle using the shape tool and duplicated it 5 times so that I tabs for the four seasons, as well as one for MILESTONES (this is my word for those things we do each year, i.e. traditions) and CELEBRATIONS (birthdays, holidays, anniversaries).
  2. I re-colored each of the rectangles according to my specified color palette for the book.
  3. I selected all of the shapes and used the Align tool to adjust spacing, careful to make sure all of the tabs would fit within the Text Safe margin as defined by Blurb
  4. I used the Type tool to overlay a title on each of the rectangles.
  5. I selected the type and the corresponding rectangle and created a smart object for each tab and gave each layer a logical title.
  6. I grouped all of the tabs and gave it a logical name.
  7. I copied this group into each of the template PSD files.
  8. When creating a new spread I simply turned on/off the appropriate tabs in the file and deleted any layers I didn't need. For instance, in the spread below, the tabs for SUMMER, MILESTONES, and CELEBRATIONS were all turned on:
8x10 Blurb photo book | annual family album table of contents |

More About This Project

  • Want to know why I decided to make a 2013 family album? Check this out.
  • Would you like to know more about how I organized this project and the tools I used? See here.
  • Want to know how and why I incorporated my daughter's artwork into this project? That's next!