8 ideas to improve Project Life template

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Hey there!

As promised, I’m starting to share the secrets of сreating Project Life layouts and spreads. Today we’re going to talk about how to improve / change / transform a classic Digital Project Life template.

Why do you need to change the template at all? Project life is positioned as a very simple system. You print photos, put them in the pockets, write a journaling and sleep peacefully. But simplicity doesn’t mean an appealing result. The real life makes its own adjustments. There are a lot of photos in a week or very few ones. They are different in terms of scale, importance, color. If you want a harmonious result, sooner or later you will think about changing the template for yourself.

Today, I’m going to talk about eight ideas that really make my life documenting much easier. Those transformations are ideally suited to the digital format, but some of them will work in the physical. I hope they can be useful to you.

Here is a classic Digital Project Life template by Becky Higgins:

And now you will see how to turn the template out in various, saturated and harmonious layouts and spreads.

8 ideas to improve Project Life template

1. The key idea. The whole | a half | a quarter | one eighths.

When I first started the digital project 365, I tried several templates, eventually settled on the Becky Higgins one. I fell in love with it! Its biggest advantage is scalability. The small orange pocket is a half of a turquoise big one. It gives an opportunity for a further division. We divide a half into quarters, and quarter into one eighths. All ingenious is simple!

2. Horizontal + vertical.

My spread is most often composed from A + B templates. Where A is the classic (horizontal) template and B is the same, rotated by 90 degrees. If my current week is “A + B”, the next one will be “B + A”, so that the same combination will not get boring.

When I start my process, I’m not sure about how many horizontal or vertical photos I have. It doesn’t bother me. My process goes along with that combination and everything falls into place. Furthermore, that combination allows me to modify the template beyond recognition.

3. Quarters. ¼

I usually fill quarters with less important photos or household details. A quarter is also useful for poor quality photos. And also for creating a “mini-theme”. We’ll talk about it later in the next posts.

Here is a couple of nice examples.

Notice how the horizontal quarters are placed on the layout with the vertical template (type B):

Here is a more traditional quarters placement:
Three quarters fit perfectly into the whole:

4. One eighths pockets.

You might think that the one eighths pockets will look too small in printed photobooks. But in fact they look great! When I first started the Digital Project Life, the layouts were filled with classic photo sizes. Now I look at them in real life, and it seems like album spreads are a bit empty. Smallest pockets allow you to maximize the content. After a while, it’s more interesting to look through those albums.

My favorite layout is one from a visit to the paleontological museum. There is an interesting block of photos out there:

The smallest pockets are also great for faces ))
Here is an interesting division of a whole pocket:
Sometimes there are a lot of photos and you don’t want to throw anything away:

5. A smaller pocket inside the larger one.

The simplest idea that comes to mind is to insert a smaller size pocket into a bigger one. What do we get? The photo has a “frame”, you can play with color, you can add captions, journaling. This trick is very popular among the project lifers, most of my spreads contain that technique:

6. Shift the pockets unusually.

Sometimes I get bored of the usual large pockets arrangement. And they… move to the center of the layout:

7. Pockets over pockets.

So we got to my favorite and very convenient technique, which really “breaks” the classic template. In the process of filling the spread, it happens that horizontal or, conversely, vertical photos don’t have a space on the layout assigned to them. In this case, I usually move a block of photos to another layout. In addition to convenience, this technique also adds depth to the layout.

Changing the scale of the photos, we get a more harmonious picture:

Sometimes the photo block looks like one-piece photo, especially if the photos are taken by the same device (phone, for example):

8. The photos cross the pockets borders.

You can add even more depth to the layout by crossing pockets borders. Especially I love this technique to design a block of screenshots:

Photo blocks in combination with overlapping bottom pockets:
So those are the top 8 Project Life template improvements that make our spreads look great over and over again. Divide and rule. If you like the idea of dividing the standard pockets into smaller ones, you can get my free Project Life frame set.

If you have any ideas to add, I would love to hear them in the comments!

Have a great day!

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