One of the most difficult (and, subsequently, rewarding) publications to create is that of a photographic or fine arts book. Unlike a novel, or a book with a sane number of images, fine arts books have a lot of variables. These include a written narrative, photographs and the artwork, and the typography. Additional page decoration add to the complexity. Things can get really sticky because all of the different elements rebound against one another, but it’s essential that they all sing harmony to the melody.
The photography needs to match the timbre of the text, and the typography should cause the whole to resonate. When everything comes together well, a carefully crafted volume will draw readers like famished revelers to a feast. They’ll linger on the artwork, study the captions, dwell on the text, and ponder the message.
About a year ago, I played around with different layouts for such a publication. Initially, I wanted to experiment with a style known as “formalism”, which combines some of the best aspects of Swiss/Modern school with a slightly more relaxed attitude toward using decoration and embellishment. I had planned on developing a template for a side project.
Unfortunately, I never got much further than the layouts that you see here. Life and circumstances prevented me from completing the side project, and the typography didn’t have the right tone for other things I was working on. So, the template I was going to create languished.
Until last week, that is.
A little under six months ago, I got married. As part of the celebrations (which are still ongoing), I created a wedding album for my wife. Instead of working from scratch on the album, I chose to use the “Elegant Book” template. This means, that I’ve finally cleaned it up enough that I feel comfortable releasing it into the wild. I hope that someone is able to enjoy and make use of it! (Merry Christmas, belatedly.)
An Elegant Book. This archive includes all of the files and fonts needed to install the template. A PDF example can be found here.
To install, download the .zip archive. Then, extract it and open up the main document file, which ends in the .sla extension. Once the file finishes loading, select the “Save as Template” option from the “File” menu. Be sure to place a checkmark in the “Include Font” and “Include Color Profile” boxes. Select the directory where you would like to save the template (you will probably want to make a new one). Finally, click on the “Save” button.
When you save a template into the Scribus Templates folder, it will copy the template file, photos, and fonts to the directory you specify. It will also add the template to the template gallery.
Once you have downloaded and installed the template, you can create a new document by clicking on the “New From Template” link in the “File” menu. When the template file first loads, it will provide you with several example pages that can be used in your layout. Simply delete the sample text/images and replace them with your own.
To adjust the appearance of a particular block of text, you can apply character and paragraph styles from the “Text” section of the “Properties” dialog. To modify the appearance of a whole page, you can make use of the “Apply Master Page” option under the “Page” menu.
Below, you can find a few of the page layouts I used in the wedding album. The template contains additional examples.