I believe your wedding album design should reflect your sense of style just as much as every other choice you make for your wedding day. To help you identify which wedding album design is most appealing to you, I’ve taken one set of images and created a variety of album designs to show how each album design affects the viewing and interaction of the images on the page. While there are literally infinite design possibilities for wedding albums, I’ve found that most designs can fall into one of the following categories: Fine Art, Traditional, Editorial, Collage, or Embellished. I’ve included a quick preview here, but you can click on the links to view the complete album design sample.
This album design displays one image per page, like a gallery in a book, allowing each image to stand on its own and command the full attention of the viewer one image at a time. Images are usually centered on the page with a white or black background or matting, with or without contrasting border/bevel (the sample below is black background with contrasting white border/bevel.) If the book is printed with images on the front and back of each page (allowing two images to lay side by side when open) there are opportunities for pairings of images that uncover hidden or implied relationships. If you’re a minimalist, or want your album to look like a portfolio of art, this is the album design for you:
This design is based on traditional matted album templates. Images are dropped into pre-cut or pre-designed openings, allowing for a collection of images to work together by appearing on the same page, rather than each image standing alone. A nice traditional design will typically average about two images per page, with some pages having one large image and other pages having a few smaller images. Other than the simple album, this album style has been around the longest, going well back into the film and pre-computer days. Images can have contrasting borders or can sit on a plain background of black or white. (This example sits on a plain black background with no borders/bevels.) If you’re looking for a matted album (or matted album look) that will stand the test of time despite fads and trends, the traditional album may be one you want to consider.
This is a cross-over design that takes the clean simplicity of the traditional album but utilizes the benefits of full bleed printing and layout design software. It’s named editorial because it most closely resembles the kind of layouts you’ll find in a lot of magazines and editorial photo spreads. This design makes use of collections of images sharing a full bleed spread of page and uses size to highlight more important images or to diminish less important images. Typically you can put more images into an album with this design than you can with the first two designs, while still maintaining the overall clean look. If you want your album to look like a magazine layout, this may be the album for you.
The collage album design started to emerge in the late film days when darkrooms started overlaying images on the same print using advanced darkroom techniques. Since the invention of photoshop and other photo layering software, collage design has emerged on the wedding market as the most popular style of album design for approximately the last 10 years. This type of design offers the most flexibility and possibilities for how photos are laid out on a page, how collections are styled, and adds elements like overlapping images, translucent white or black filters on images, colored backgrounds, tilted cropping, and various bordering options. If you like a contemporary look with the ability to use images as your backgrounds, this album design will offer the most flexibility for you:
An embellished album creates graphic designs and embellishments around the images in an album, making the graphic elements of the album of equal importance to the images. Starting with a base similar to the collage style album, the embellished album adds flourishes of swirly stamps, textured overlays, fading vignettes, graphic backgrounds, and/or text with quotes, names, or phrases. Somewhat inspired by scrapbooking, this design style is creative and trendy for people who want to stylize their album with whatever is fashionable right now. It’s often used to enhance albums that focus on portraits and details, and used less when the focus of the images are moments or scenes since it can become visual competition for the images on the page. If you love whimsical and trendy, this album will appeal to your aesthetic (note, the example below is not mine and does not use the same images as the others- eventually I’ll change that, but I chose this example for efficiency):
While I’m able to offer all of the design options above, I personally love the Fine Art & Editorial album designs for their simplicity, timelessness, clean lines, and emphasis on the art, real moments, and people. I’ve learned to enjoy the collage style designs as well for my clients in order to offer added flexibility and more client customization in design. I think the embellished designs are really creative, but I also realize that in a decade those embellishments will start to look more like grandma’s floral tweed couch and avocado colored sink, which were once the height of fashion. I have no problem honoring my clients requests for something different than what I prefer because ultimately it’s the album that THEY are going to live with forever and pass on to their children and I believe it should reflect an aesthetic that they identify with.