I spent most of our rainy holiday weekend experimenting with Pages (the word processing application in Apple’s iWork 09 office suite) to see how it works for my hybrid family history. I was pleasantly surprised! Pages works in two modes – word processing and layout. In layout mode it works as a desktop publishing application, allowing you to layer graphic elements, words and images on the page. The cover page shown here has a background graphic and a design overlay in the top right corner. The photo of Kincaid Mountain has a collage element over it and I added the text on top of it just to the left of the photo. And then there’s the title. With Pages, not only was I able to place these items on the page, but I could twist and turn them, add shadows and reflections and even reduce the opacity so they blend into the element below them.
The real fun begins when you add text blocks to the mix. With pages, not only can you include simple “journaling” boxes like shown here, but you can connect multiple boxes of text across several pages. My plan is to build this family history as an enhanced scrapbook. Rather than a formal history, it will be a series of stories like my grandparents’ postal courtship and my uncle’s war service. The story format makes it easier to add to this living book as research allows.
Another advantage of the story format is that it allows me to build each story as separate files. Hybrid family histories with all these design elements are pretty hefty beasts. This is an issue I know I will have to manage, but I haven’t yet reached the point where I actually deal with it. Stay tuned, this could get interesting!
Speaking of design, other than family photos and ephemera, the design elements I’m using are almost exclusively from DesignerDigitals. Katie Pertiet’s designs are divine with just the right touch of a vintage/nostalgic feel for my purposes. I’m describing country people but not by using gingham checks and milk churns. Katie’s Botanist Notebook series of design elements and kits have just the right touch.
Don’t let my use of Pages keep you from trying your hand at a hybrid project. If you have Microsoft’s Publisher software, you have much the same capabilities. And, of course, there’s always scrapbooking apps like Memory Mixer.
Come along with me on an adventure in family history – both in the discovery of the lives of ancestors and in the development of a publication that not only documents their history properly, but with style. I want the result to be something my genea-challenged family will enjoy too.