Preview of 2009

One of my last projects for 2008 was to design a 2009 calendar with images I’d captured of God’s awesome creation over the entire year. It amazed me how much time it took to assemble, design, proofread, and print as simple a project as a calendar!

Though quality is proportionally dependent on the amount of time you put into it, creating a personalized calendar is actually something most anyone can do!

Cover collage copy

As mentioned above, creating your own unique calendar can be summarized into four distinct steps: assemblage, design, layout, and print. Assemblage must begin now! Seasons change, snow melts, flowers fade, leaves fall, and days shorten. The key to a beautiful calendar is beautiful pictures, and beautiful pictures are captured, intentionally or not, only when your at the right place at the right time (with your camera). You have to take advantage of every opportunity: you never know which photo-shoot will produce the picture that actually goes into the final project.

When the year starts drawing to a close, it is time to sit down and do some designing! Go through all your pictures from the year, choosing only the biggest and most stunning imaOctober Spread copyges have. Often, the design will revolve around the pictures you choose. For the rest of the calendar, let your creative juices flow; it’s amazing how many different ways there are to arrange those familiar objects on a page! You can always add Scripture verses, famous quotes, fancy borders, wild colors, creative captions and background pictures. I did my designing in InDesign, working off a template of another calendar I liked.

So once your calendar all laid out, it is time to go in and proofread. Did I spell everything right? Is the 4th of July really on the 4th of July? Are references correct? Is text all sized up right? Will anything get chopped off on the final product? Are images in CMYK and not RGB? This step also requires you to layout the calendar in a separate document that accurately accounts for page placement: a calendar with an 8.5×11 size cover must be printed on a 17×11 sheet of paper Septemberwith the front and back covers placed on one side and the inside covers on the other. It is really quite complex, but with a bit of thought (and reference to other calendars), you can calculate where each month and it’s complementary picture should be placed.

Finally, after a full year of shooting and many long hours at the computer, your calendar is ready to print! I am very fortunate to be working at a Januarypublishing house, so this step turned out be be quite relaxing. Once the 9 pages were printed, they were put through a folding machine, collated by hand, stapled together with a special staple gun, cut to size, and to top it all off, had a hole drilled through the top for easy hanging.

Yes, it takes an awfully long time to assemble, design, proofread, and print a little calendar. But now that I’ve given several away and sold many more, I can honestly say it was worth it! I’m just glad I only have to make them once a year. 🙂


  1. Crystal February 5, 2009 at 9:04 am #

    Wow! How long have you been working on the calendar? While I was @ Journey to the Heart they gave a tour of HQ. I had the opportunity to see a machine fold some calendars. Janny asked if we all could have one since it was still in the proofing process. Now I have part of a calendar. 🙂

  2. Joshua February 5, 2009 at 5:33 pm #

    We would definitely add that the calendar was well worth the effort for a beautiful copy of it now hangs promimently on our study wall! Excellent step by step process. I think you’ve inspired a few in our household to consider possibly making one.
    Let us continue to number our days and apply our hearts unto wisdom!

  3. Michael February 5, 2009 at 6:17 pm #

    It really was an impressive callendar, James. It’s a good way go share little messages of truth. Everything around us should inspire worship to the Lord.

  4. Robert Staddon February 7, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Great work on this, James! I know it’s a big job but it sure turned out nice. Ever since you showed it to Mr. Gothard, he has mentioned again and again how much he admired your initiative, creativity, and diligence. Keep it up!

  5. Daniel February 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm #

    All the creativity you packed into that calendar is really inspiring, James! I also liked how you picked all the monthly Scripture passages from the same book of the Bible. Very professional!

  6. James February 8, 2009 at 9:02 pm #

    Well, Crystal, I began working on this calendar in late December and got it finished before going home for Christmas in about the middle of the same month. The 2nd Timothy edition I worked on over the second half of January.

    It really didn’t take that long to make each calendar, it’s just I couldn’t do it during work hours and many other projects were competing to get done at the same time.

    It was fun, despite the late nights!


  1. » Blog Archive » The Inspiration of Creation! - November 1, 2009

    […] small, $24 calendar to give to my Mom for Christmas; people liked it, so I went a step farther the next year by putting together a custom design and printing it myself here at IBLP Headquarters. I got rid of […]

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