Posted in Graphic Resources

Create Graphic Books With Keynote

If you think Keynote (Mac, iOS) is only for presentations, you are missing out on a lot of graphic goodness. Keynote offers a broad range of features that can be used in all kinds of creative ways. Forget the bullet points and test drive its graphic features to create beautiful books, cards, blog images and much more.

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Scrapbooking doesn’t have to be cutsy. In this example, the notepaper layer tells how to layer the graphics, but it could just as easily be used to tell a family story. Keynote makes it easy to layer graphic elements like the textured background, the page from an old family letter and the vegetation. When you don’t have a photo to complement your story, look for other options.

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Keynote can also be used to introduce a blog post. This one is quite simple . . . an old family photo, a map of Savannah from an old book, a graphic and some cool fonts. The graphics and the title grab the eye and make your readers want to learn the rest of the story.

Historic graphics such as the map shown above are easy to find. My first stop is always Flickr Commons. Archives, libraries and many other institutions from around the world have posted their photo/graphic collections in the Commons. Even better, most of them are public domain so we can put them to good use. It’s doubtful you will find a photograph of an ancestor, but you can find plenty of images to add atmosphere to your stories. KeynoteGraphics103

This photo takes us back to Grafton Street in Dublin, Ireland, sometime around World War I. If you are telling a story focused in a particular place, check Flickr Commons to see what you can find. Both the British Library and Internet Archive are scanning and posting graphics from old books at the Commons that can also be quite useful.

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Even today’s photographs can be aged to fit your needs. Apps like Stackables [iOS – $2.99] and Distressed FX [iOS – $.99] can turn a photograph into a piece of art – aged or otherwise.

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Keynote makes it easy to combine your text with photos, maps, graphic images and ephemera to build a graphical storybook.

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One other thing that makes Keynote so useful for storytellers is that you can create your “little stories” as your research discovers them, then rearrange them in whatever order you want. And, when you are ready to share, all you do is export the entire “presentation” as a PDF document.

Your graphic book can now be easily shared with family and friends.

Posted in Graphic Resources

Toolbox for iWork

Toolbox for iWork provides a library of clipart, templates, frames, graphic elements, patterns, badges and much more that can be used with both the Keynote and Pages apps. The iOS version costs $24.99 and the Mac version costs $49.99. Both give you access to all these design elements as well as free lifetime content updates. Almost every month there is new content added to your app. Here’s a look at some of the graphical goodness found in this collection.

Toolbox for iWork [iOS] – $24.99
Toolbox for iWork [Mac] – $49.99

Posted in Graphic Resources

Found Ephemera

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Collage graphic created for a story about Frances Georgina Scott Barrett.

I have found that a compelling graphic is a great way to attract attention to a family story. In the example above, a cousin shared her portrait of Frances giving me an opportunity to embellish a story I was writing about her time in Mississippi. The collage shows a map of the area in Mississippi where the family settled and the riverboat adds a bit of “atmosphere”.

Finding these elements isn’t difficult, but it can be time consuming. Vintage design elements are perfect for these projects. And, there are lots of public domain sources available for them. Yes, it took a bit more time and effort to build my project, but I don’t have to worry about legal problems or spend a lot of money for commercial licenses.

Start with what you’ve got. Family letters, envelopes, journal pages, even pages from old ledgers or deposit receipts can become interesting design elements. Scan blank ledgers or diary pages to use behind your own journaling. Old tags, note cards and other ephemera can also be put to good use. Photograph jewelry against contrasting paper to make it easy to “extract” the item from the background and use it on a page. Yes, it will take time to do these things, but once created they can be used over and over again in different projects.

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Advertisement in a 19th century tourist guide.

Lots of periodicals from the late 19th century can be found at Project Gutenberg, Internet Archive and Google Books. You can find some gorgeous illustrations in magazines like Harper’s Weekly, Colliers and Scribners, and quite possibly something related to the area or period of time you are documenting in your project. I found architectural journals with plans and sketches of some of our local buildings. There is also a wealth of graphic ornaments. And don’t forget the advertisements either. You might find a business or product advertised that fits into your family story.

Flickr, the photo-sharing platform, is a fabulous resource. At Flickr Commons you will find photo and graphic collections from archives, museums, libraries and organizations around the world. Flickr’s search feature is impressive and even makes it possible to restrict your search to public domain images.

You may find vintage clipart online at the digital scrapbooking shops. Before purchasing, check their licensing/terms of use policy. If they don’t say anything about online and PDF usage, ask. I’ve had good luck with the growing number of graphics shops on Etsy like EclecticAnthology and Swiejko. One of my favorite sources is graphic designer, Cathe Holden, and her divine Just Something I Made blog. She’s always doing something creative and she not only shares her project ideas, but she shares all kinds of design elements too. You’ll find a lot of these graphic “sheets” in her Scribd library.

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While you may need to learn additional skills – especially in the area of screen capture – you will find many ways to put these new skills to good use. And, you’ll craft a family history that is truly unique. It’s well worth the effort!