PRT094 – The Future of Scrapbooking

What is the future of scrapbooking? That’s what we’re talking about this week!

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  • Anonymous

    So glad to hear you guys chatting a little bit about bleed. People who know me are probably saying, “Oh, no! There goes Wendy about bleed again.” But, it’s one of those printing issues that I see coming up all the time.

    Here’s how I
    like to explain bleed and trimming. Imagine taking a stack of card
    stock with one photo printed in the center of each. Try cutting out the photos
    through the entire stack at once with your scissors. You know how the
    paper can shift a little in your hands while you cut. When you cut, you
    probably try to aim your scissors inside the edge of the photo to be
    sure you aren’t seeing any of the cardstock edge. The little bit of the image left behind on the card stock is the “bleed.” If you remove the top image in the stack, the likelihood that the other images you trimmed out are perfect is going to be pretty slim. It’s more likely that some of your other images will have a tiny bit of card stock showing on one or more edges. Make sense?

    Well, multliply that idea… Imagine hundreds of sheets stacked up and cut at once. That’s how the commercial printers cut the sheets. So, to make sure that no card stock is showing, printers require that you add extra background to the layout, and they call it bleed. So, for example, if you are printing a 12×12 page, and your printer requires 1/8″ (.125″) bleed, you make your canvas size 12.25 (that’s 12 plus .125 for each side). Then, keep your elements and photos and important items outside of the bleed area. What you end up seeing is a little extra background paper. The 12.25 page will be printed out on a large sheet of paper, ie 12×18. Then, it will be trimmed down to 12×12. The extra 1/8″ from each side ends up being trimmed off. But, if the cut is off a little, you’ll likely never know because the extra background paper image is there.

    Now, there’s one more thing to keep in mind when you’re talking about printing scrapbook pages in photobooks and that’s gutter. The gutter is the portion of the page that get’s hidden in the binding of the book. Take out a hardcover book that’s been glued and stitched together. If you deconstruct that book, you’ll see that there is a portion of the page that is in the binding, it’s printed, but it cannot be seen once the book is assembled. When you are creating a digital page and printing it in a photobook, you need to keep in mind that binding edge of the page (about 1/4″ of the binding edge) will be hidden in the fold.

    Every printer is a little bit different, but in general, 1/8″ is the bleed standard and 1/4″ is the gutter standard. This concept is so difficult for many people to understand that I created an entire line of templates and actions for preparing pages for photobooks. It helps to visually understand those safe areas to keep your photos and journaling in.

    Here are a couple articles I’ve written the expand on this more.

    I know, I know…info overkill, but I hope it helps someone.

  • That is a really good explanation. I get the bleed concept. What I don’t get is whether or not each developer is consistent and if you end up sometimes having a little white showing on your pages (once in a while Costco leaves a little white showing on an edge of my 4×6’s) or if you ever end up losing some of your image, even though you added that extra .125.

  • Anonymous

    Photo processing works differently then press printing. With photo processing, they actually feed 4×6 paper through the printer, and then reduce the image to fit inside the page. It’s similar to a home printer where the printer usually requires a little bit of paper left unprinted so the rollers can grab it and pull it through. Some printers have a full-bleed setting where they actually enlarge the image slightly and print the ink right off the photo paper. This leaves a bit of ink on the rollers though. This is why Costco is leaving a bit of white probably. From what I’ve read about photo processors, it’s really dependent on the press operator. They can manually tweak how things are printed. Photo printing really is more of an art since it involves more tech interaction than press operation.

    Presses, on the other hand, require you either leave a white border for the rollers, or that you print on a larger size paper and cut it down. Whether or not you lose some of your image depends on what you put into that bleed area. You must put the background paper all the way into the bleed area. A portion of that is trimmed off. If, for example, you have a piece of digital lace falling off the page, you would want to extend it all the way into the bleed area, and yes, that portion would be trimmed off. If you have a button the page and only a little of it extends into the bleed area, then only that little bit would be trimmed. If you try to put something right up on the 12″ edge, for example, a very thin glitter border, without bleeding it into the bleed area, then it is possible that it will get trimmed off if the paper shifts during cutting, or that you it might land slightly inside the cut edge on one side. The point of the bleed area is to account for that shifting and cutting without the end viewer being able to tell anything went wrong.

    Now, say you do NOT add bleed to your page. You upload a straight up 12×12, designed with everything just where you want it. In this case, the printer is going to enlarge that page to 12.25 x 12.25, and then trim off 1/8″ on each side. In this case, you are going to lose part of the image that you wanted to keep. This is what I see most digi scrappers complain about when doing photobooks. They design 12×12 and don’t understand why they get pages back that are trimmed off.

    The other thing I see people do often is open their JPG 12×12 layout, make their canvas 12.25×12.25, with a white border around the page, and then thinking they added bleed. This does not add bleed to the page. In this case, you can still end up with a white border. You have to actually increase the canvas size and extend ONLY the background paper to the edge of the canvas. Think of it as making the background paper larger, but leaving everything else in the design right where it is as.

    Does that help?

  • Yes –your explanation helps, because that is what I was expecting would happen. If you’re really particular about having a certain amount/balance of background page, it could get printed larger or smaller than you want because you have no control over the end result. I think I would find that frustrating, even if I did account for the bleed.

  • Anonymous

    The good news is that if you do account for the bleed with press printing (vs. photos) you really won’t notice 99% of the time. At most it’s a sliver off.

  • Oh, that is good news!

  • Really interesting episode.  I need to listen again to take it all in fully (was interrupted multiple times by kiddos). But I needed to hop on to comment before the re-listen.

    I totally agree with Nancy that it seems like “soccer moms” are letting go of scrapbooking in favor of sharing family stories and brag moments via Facebook, because, as Izzy said, scrapbooking isnt the easiest or quickest way to share this news anymore. (Forgive my paraphrasing; hope it’s semi-accurate.) 

    I also have many formerly scrapbook-obsessed friends who have abandoned scrapbooking in favor of other crafts that seem more in vogue.  For example, several friends are making hair things (bows, headbands, etc) or aprons or chic burp cloths. When I talk about scrapbooking they say they don’t have time for scrapbooking anymore, but really they are just choosing to use their crafty/hobby time in other ways.

    As a soccer mom myself* who also uses Facebook and a blog, I totally agree that those of us who are “left” scrapbooking are the ones who are just as into it for the paper- (or digi-) craftiness of it all as we are for the actual memory keeping. We are using scrapbooking not only for an artistic release, but also to preserve specific memories and stories and emotions. 

    Personally, I find the shameless bragging moments are best blasted out via Facebook or the blog, and then I can save my precious scrapbooking time for the stories that hold greater impact in my memory and heart.

    Thanks for another thought-provoking episode.


    *I’m really a ballet and Girl Scouts mom, not a soccer mom, but same idea.

  • Julie

    Ladies, I just found you!  I love your discussions, information and stories.  I enjoy your company while I’m scrapping and making cards.  It’s like we’re at a ‘scrap’, you’re talking, I’m talking……LOL!   Glad to have found you!

  • We’re glad you found us, too! Welcome to the Paperclipping Roundtable, and thank you for getting in touch!! :)

  • Brenda Wilson

    I’m in the midst of listening to your Future of Scrapbooking episode (by the way, it’s not convenient when the audio stops since I go to add a comment – I’ll try to remember to open another window to add my comment next time), and was reflecting on transition to more artsy (versus the earlier scrapbooking days archival/acid-free focus) techniques in scrapbooking. I agree that those who are sticking with paper scrapbooking are more ‘crafters’ than soley scrapbookers, but I believe the advent of digital photography and the ease with which we can get copies of our photographs (either to print again (at relatively low cost of prints/enlargements compared to the manually-intensive costlier film/negative-based photos processing) and the plethora of other non-‘scrapbook’ ways to easily view (the same photos we also choose to scrapbook) in other digital mediums such as digital photo frames, online galleries such as flickr, social networking sites such as facebook has freed scrapbookers up from the need for archival-quality products and allowed them more freedom to play with other crafty/artistic media.

  • Anonymous

    As far as the future of scrapbooking, I was surprised that no one mentioned Project Life. Just this week Becky announced that Ali Edwards will be on her design team, as well as some traditional scrapbookers.  When Project Life came out, Ali was one of the early adopters of her product. Frankly I think she lead the way in personalizing it (using her supplies) as well as making it really simple (putting stuff of life like receipts and wrappers in the pockets). I think this is the future of scrapbooking because it captures the now-ness of life, you use your stash, and you can always feel caught up. 

  • I totally agree with digital playing a massive role in the change of paradigm in terms of relaxing on the archival quality and focusing more on the arts and crafts!

    The audio stopping when you try to comment — there’s nothing we can do to prevent that in the blog post. That’s why we encourage everybody to subscribe on iTunes and listen from there! The audio on the post is just for those who won’t subscribe on iTunes for whatever reason. You’ll have a MUCH better experience from iTunes!

  • I think smash books (esp. homemade smash books) are right in there with that!

  • Anonymous

    Yes – I was looking at them today at Michaels.  I think smashbooks, Project Life and art journaling are kinda a backlash/reaction to all the structure and rules of traditional scrapbooking. Plus they are cheaper; like Julie said, you get more bang for your buck with your supplies. Plus you can scrap a lot more pages.  Per Stacy J. it all counts :-).

  • Wendy O.

    I haven’t finsihed listening yet, but want to comment on the fish peice of mail.  I haven’t seen the panoramic fold outs before, but they sound great for larger layouts.  But what I really want to say is good for AngelB, to scrapbook the hard things as well as the good I think is probably rare.  When my dad died, I wrote him a letter as a form of catharsis, its been almost three years now, and I have finally been able to scrap book it and some memories that are important for me to share with my daughters, especially the one that never got to meet my dad.  Thank you for sharing this comment.

  • Lindsay

    I’m only halfway through listening but Nancy wanted us to disagree with her!
    I think that CHA is not a good measure of scrapbooking industry anymore. While paper supplies are purchased a little less, I think the digital supplies and inspiration sources are more than making up for downturn in paper supplies. We’ve all bought enough paper to last us for a while, and now we’re buying the inspiration to actually use it! Paperclipping is a great example – Noell & Izzy GO to CHA but aren’t as counted in their totals. But I consider the money I spend on Paperclipping (and Big Picture, and any other things I buy for inspiration) a large part of my Scrapbooking dollars. So maybe the PAPER industry is down, but overall I’d imaging Scrapbooking is up – perhaps way up.

  • What a great episode. I’ve been saying this for awhile: the industry is evolving. It is not going away. Yes, Nancy! The family bragbook is facebook! Those doing their primary memory keeping on facebook or a blog may one day want to pull those status updates into a
    printed, paper version of some sort.

    Thank you for mentioning google trends and pointing out how it is not the end-all be-all of market research. It tells you something, but not everything. Just like the data from CHA tells you something, but not everything. Industry people really have to do the market research themselves unless their market is a national, mainstream scrapbook market. Otherwise, you are missing out on the people who are most likely to support your niche. 

    And Julie, I’m so happy you go out among “the people.” I think we tend to get caught up in our online world and forget that the vast majority of scrapbookers do nothing online. They aren’t reading blogs. They aren’t commenting on blogs. They aren’t taking online classes. They are scrapbooking as if the internet doesn’t exist. Things to keep in mind when operating any scrapbooking business…

    Seriously, do you know how many times I started my response mid-episode only to have another roundtable member make the same point I was about to make? 

  • Plus, with Smashbooks and Project Life, we are getting back to using the actual scraps of life — such as Caroline Preston was saying women of the 20s put in their scrapbooks.  I’m much less likely to include the ephemera of life (receipts, programs, letters, cards from friends, spoons…:)) in what we currently consider a “traditional” scrapbook page. I’m far more likely to put those things in a Project Life type book.  Which makes PL and Smashbooks a total throwback to actual traditional scrapbooking… a place to collect not just our photos, but also our scraps and residue of our daily activities.

  • DianeC

    You are so right. I spend way more than I used to on classes and events than I used to, but have been reigning in my purchases of product. I am swimming in paper.

  • DianeC

    This episode got me thinking about the 5 women with whom I crop with a few times a year. They are “soccer moms” and love scrapbooking but don’t devote the time to it that I do. They definately update facebook every day with exploits about their kids. They don’t take scrapbooking classes or surf the internet for inspiration- unlike me who trolls for inspiration daily, and signs up for more classes than I could possibly take. They still subscribe to print scrapbook magazines. They have no idea who I am talking about when I mention Ali Edwards or Tim Holtz. Their layouts and techniques are pretty similar to when we all started back in 2000.  But that doesn’t change that fact that they are passionate about their hobby and love and cherish their scrapbooks.They tell everyone that I am the “artist” of the group- I make the tags and play with paint and always have a “new” technique that I want to try. But my friends aren’t dabblers. They are scrapbookers, love pretty paper and letter stickers and memory keeping.  And while the industry surely needs fanatics like me, they also need the more moderate attachment of my friends, who value the social aspect as much as the artistic one. I guess what I am trying to say is that I think we are all still here. All still scrapbooking. We just need different things from the “industry” than we used to. 

  • Marie

    Izzy…..I have a very strong feeling that Facebook will soon be a thing of the past.

    Scrapbooking future? Maybe time to change the name……photo journalism? Maybe it is the name that turns some people off. I have been enjoying this creativeness for quite a long time. I don’t see it going away for me any time soon. Doing projects that include a vast array of products is appealing. I spend a lot less $ now because of the accumulation of so many wonderful products over the years. No, I don’t clean out old stuff, sell it, or give it away. I have it because I love it. Old or not.

    Have you had the pleasure of holding a scrapbook that was created in the 1800’s? Awe inspiring!!!! After seeing that book I couldn’t imagine not doing what I do. The many shapes and forms of telling stories or playing with products are infinite and are in the hands of the creator. Maybe not all “scrapbooks” will be around that long but I hope those creating them are having fun. I know I am.

    Love the Internet to access resources related to Scrapbooking!!!! Hooked for years! And still sub to a couple of mags. I’m always amazed to hear of people that have little knowledge of the webs offerings. Weird!

    Long winded! Writing as I listen to a small section of the podcast. Love podcasts!

  • That’s okay that your comment is long — it’s thoughtful and interesting (and you used paragraphs, so it didn’t feel long at all!).

    Wondering what makes you suspect Facebook won’t last much longer…

    In January we’re going to talk about new terms popping up in place of scrapbooking lately, focusing on one specific one, but you just reminded me that photo journalism is a term I use a lot. Also story-sharing — I tend to think of blogs and facebook more as story-sharing than as memory-keeping, as we talked about in the episode. When they disappear so quickly from easy viewing, it’s hard for me to think of it as “keeping” for the long term. Seems more like sharing for the short term.

    I don’t think I’ve ever held a scrapbook that old — sounds amazing. My dad did purchase some old letters to/from a young lady in Kansas when I was in college. I read each one and found it so fascinating. I wonder if I can get him to dig up those letters and give them to me…? :)

  • Beth

    I like how you differentiate between what is scrap-worthy and what is blog/Facebook-worthy.  I have had a really hard time lately deciding where I should preserve which memories and so any food for thought is appreciated here!  :-)

  • Ann Johnson

    Hi Noell and Nancy – I think this question will be geared more to Nancy.  As I am thinking about the new year and wanting to be more “made in america” conscious would it be worth a discussion about what scrapbooking products are made in america. I know some are made in other countries, i.e. washi tape which I will continue to use, but actual American companies that employee people to make their product in America. I was a little disappointed when I looked on one line of paper today as I was scrapbooking and saw it was printed in China and the company is here in America. I understand if naming certain companies will be against your policy, but even if Nancy would be willing to a blog post on this, it would be interesting.  These shows are always great and thanks for all you do ~Ann Johnson

  • ana frazee

    Although scrapbooking shows a decline, those that are scrapbooking are telling stories not pasting pictures in a book. Many of the icons and legends in scrapbooking urge us to tell our story along with our kids events. This will help the craft to stay around forever.

  • Lucrecia Gray

    Great episode, again!

    I do think digital has an impact on the decline in trends.  Not only what I think of as digital in creating pages in a program with supplies bought from an online scrapbooking site – but also sites like Shutterfly that make it very easy to create an entire book in just a couple of evenings.  I was at a (Creative Memories even!) crop this past weekend and out of the 15 people there, 4 of us were primarily using computers to create our pages.

    I also think most of us have all the big supplies we will need, cutters / binder / punches etc. have to be much more profitable for the companies than papers.  On their financial books, things are taking a turn down! 

  • Fivebrides

    Google+. ???? Competition for Facebook ????

    I hope you get those letters soon! And I hope you will be able to share bits with us all.

    I am listening to the “memory keeping” Roundtable topic just now. A bit behind.

    I am a very traditional memory keeper. Need to have a hard copy. Unable to predetermine future technology. Play it safe with memories that can be held and passed around. So cool to hold something in your hands that has been passed along through the “passage of time” (Ali’s phrase)

  • I am happily catching up on PRT.  I came into scrapbooking during the height (2005) and am glad that I stayed with the hobby.  I saw 2 local scrapbook stores struggle in San Antonio, TX and visited my new local store in Cupertino, CA for the first time today.  I could see the influence of rubber stamping around the store, which I love.

    Before scrapbooking I did not consider myself a crafty person.  I credit scrapbooking with bringing out my creative side.  Thank you for another great episode!