BOOK STORIES: THE DESIGN

Welcome to Anatomy of a Personal History Book. From our conversations to record your stories to the end result of you holding a beautiful custom book in your hands, how does it all happen? Let’s find out!

Being a Personal Historian allows me to use my academic research experience and analytic training (during the interview process and the story structure) alongside my passion for good design, and I love both!

The process for Book Design is unique for each client. However, my goal is always the same – to develop a design that reflects you, your experiences, your personality, yet is simple and clean enough to let your words take center stage.

Fonts are the most important element in book design, as your words are truly the star of the show. I use no more than three fonts throughout each book – one for the main text, one for titles and headers, and one to distinguish any highlighted pull-quotes. Readability is key, so the balance is to find fonts that are elegant and inspired and are also accessible to all readers. I recently printed a book with a larger font size to accommodate the aging storyteller’s failing eyesight – because the most beautiful book in the world is worth nothing if it can not be read and enjoyed!

At this stage in the process, I will ask clients to finish submitting any photographs and other memorabilia they wish to include. These include childhood photos, snapshots from travel adventures, wedding photos, as well as hand-written love letters, wedding invitations, military service orders, diplomas, awards and certificates of recognition. If a client asks, I am happy to scan any original photos and documents and ensure their safe return.

Often I will find design inspiration from a piece of memorabilia that you want to include in the book, like pulling colors from a couple’s wedding invitation for their Love Story book. Other times the inspiration comes from your story – for a Life Story of a successful investment banker, I drew inspiration from the fabric of his well-tailored charcoal gray pinstripe suits and the black and white photos of his office on Wall Street.

I sometimes add a custom design element to each book, always subtle, always unique. In one book, I created a small insignia of the couples’ initials to use at the end of each chapter. In another book, I used a watercolor pattern as a background for certain photographs as a nod to the storyteller’s art career.

The overall 11stories design aesthetic is clean and modern, never wanting a design element to overshadow your words, your stories. Once I have a plan for the style of the book, it’s on to the Layout, where everything comes together!