Project Life Flow

Hey guys! I’ve been feeling kind of overwhelmed with my Project Life lately. My workflow just wasn’t serving me very well and it was stressing me out. The entire point of Project Life is to be FUN! So I stepped back for a while and let it marinate when all of a sudden–genius struck me. Well, I think it’s genius and I’ll tell you why!

Project Life Flow Chart | The Paper Curator

Project Life Flow Chart | The Paper Curator

Let’s start at the beginning … I’m months behind on project life and am bogged down with the hundreds (okay it’s more like thousands) of photos I’ve taken of the last 4-5 months. My computer is full and I’ve moved a lot of them onto other hard drives to free up space on my computer for more pressing issues. I feel a spark of inspiration and go to make some project life spreads and boy oh boy do I regret all my former decisions. It’s slow and agonizing going through images on an internet connection. I can’t even remember the last week I had completed. I’m stressed, overwhelmed, and, by the time I finally finish picking images, sizing them, saving them, reopening them, and then printing them–that little spark of excitement is completely drowned and nowhere to be found. Does this sound at all like you?!  Well, maybe I’m being a little dramatic but my process was really dragging me down but I think I’ve discovered a better way.

Enter … InDesign. Now, you may have never heard of a scrapbooker using InDesign for Project Life which is why it didn’t really occur to me to use it before (even though I use the program daily at work!). There are a couple reasons I think it’s a genius way to tackle Project Life so I’ll share the why with you below. 

 Project Tracking and File Size

Because InDesign uses linked images, it allows you to create huge books with layouts and images and text (or just PL spreads!) without slowing your computer down. What I mean by linked images is that InDesign creates links with the image files on your computer (or hard drives, etc) and pulls in a low resolution preview image that it will show you as you’re planning your pages. You can always change the viewing resolution to see what it will look like when it prints but the quick view setting keeps your application running quickly and efficiently. Because of this, I can have my entire year of project life (or 6 months at a time, etc) in ONE FILE. Yes, one file. You can see week to week all in one document which will help you figure out what you’ve done, what needs to be done, and what you have in the works. To go along with this, there is a workspace surrounding your pages which I like to use to leave myself notes. Think; dates of photos, whether or not it’s been printed, journaling ideas etc.


Guides and Sizing

I like to vary the sizes of my images from week to week and it can get frustrating to open and close 8,000 files and Photoshop templates to get the photos you want for a week … and let’s not even talk about trying to name the hundreds of files to make sure you know what day the photos were taken on (see workspace noted above for how InDesign solves this problem)! InDesign is made for doing layouts. It’s the Industry standard for the like, so it’s guide capabilities, spacing and alignment tools etc make it a dream for making a variety of layouts for my Project Life week to week. InDesign also has the capability to change (on the drop of a hat) the page sizes as well so if you’re like me and like to switch it up from time to time, that’s no problem, InDesign can hang, and it will all be in that same document!


 Image Quality

A lot of the images we use today are taken off our iPhones and because they’re screen resolution when they’re downloaded, they usually come in at 72dpi. That is no bueno in the printing world and we need them at 300 dpi for beautiful printed quality. Now you’ll need photoshop to remedy this problem but InDesign has a great little feature called links (referenced in point 1) where it tells you ALL the information about the image you have linked in your file. It will tell you the actual resolution, the effective resolution, the color space and so on. Simply right click on the image and say ‘edit with’ and choose ‘Photoshop’ from the drop down menu and it will open the original image in Photoshop where you can update the image size etc. This is also the time when you can do any photo edits like brightness, color correction etc. Simply save the file when you’re done in Photoshop and it will automatically update the link in InDesign. Voila! The fact that the program links your images is also a lifesaver because you can size your photos up and down without stressing about messing up the quality. You see, every time you resize an image in Photoshop, it resets the quality of that image to that size and, unless you start over, you can’t get that quality back. InDesign, however, is constantly pulling from the original file so you can decide that the 2”x2” photo you had can now be a full page print and there won’t be any problems with the resolution! I’m loving this right now because I can just pull in ALL my photos for the week and change and shift the layout as many times as I want to best suit my needs.


 Easy to Print

A while back I purchased a huge bundle of 12” x 12” prints from Persnickety Prints and I haven’t gotten around to ordering any yet but that’s about to change! Or, want to print them yourself at home? Exporting AND printing from InDesign is a breeze. For uploading to Persnickety I’ll simply export my finished pages as Jpegs and upload them! I’ve made my pages 12”x12” so they’ll be perfect to send to Persnickety. I just divided them with guides to size my images into 6”x12” pages that I’ll trim out once my prints come in. To print at home, you can do it right from InDesign, or export a PDF if you prefer that!  

So those are my reasons for switching my Project Life flow over to InDesign recently. Have you ever thought about your processes for Project Life and switching them up? Do you use InDesign? Have questions or want a tutorial? Drop me a line in the comment section! I’d love to hear from you about this topic!