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!
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 images 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 with 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 publishing 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. 🙂