Text size on layouts

One of the questions I get asked a lot (and I also see it mentioned frequently on social media) is how to figure out what size of text to use on your scrapbook layouts?

In fact, I got this exact question from one of my awesome readers just the other day.

This year I am going to use the Project Life app exclusively for my annual photo book. I love the pages you have created and shared. I would like to know what size font you would use if you are going to print a 10"x10" book. I will export in the 12"x12" format, but want a 10"x10" book. I am not sure what size font to use when creating the pages and would like to know your recommendation.

I will put this question and a link to this post on my FAQ page but I knew this one needed a more detailed explanation so here we go.

Unfortunately, I can't just give a short answer for this. There are a lot of variables to keep in mind, but I have some quick tips that will help you figure it out.

Knowing what size you want to print your finished layouts is a big help when it comes to figuring out text size. Obviously, you will need to be more careful if you are going to print a smaller size page like an 8x8, 6x6, or even a 4x4. The 10x10 and 12x12 sizes offer a little more leeway because of their bigger size.

I print all of my pages in 10x10 photobooks now (which I love!) and when you go to print a photobook, you feel the anxiety of making sure everything will turn out great because you are printing an entire book at once. You can't just reprint a page!

The crazy thing is that the same font size can vary greatly depending on which font you use. Also, the spacing matters as well. I usually try to go no smaller than a 12 pt. size and I rarely use bigger than a 16 pt. but there is a wide range of text sizes on my pages.


I'm ok with this by the way, but if the variation bothers you, consider sticking with one font and one size for the entire album. 

There are times when I increase the spacing between lines and/or the font size to fill the space appropriately. On the Chocoholic page above, I didn't have anything else to add so I added more space between paragraphs. Text placement is definitely part of the page design!

Also, because everyone has different thresholds for the size of text they can read, you will simply need to play around with it. I always advise going bigger than you might think you need because you have to remember that older eyes have a difficult time reading smaller text. This is something I have recently come to appreciate. (yikes!) 

I have a pretty good feel for what will work with sizing and spacing my text because I've been scrapping for so long. I've used Photoshop Elements for years and I now have also used the Project Life app for years (as long as it's been available). However, sometimes I feel like I need to double check myself so here is my quick trick.

If you want to see what a 10x10 page will look like printed out, just send it to your printer. One side of standard size paper is 11 inches so you will be able to fit the entire layout on a page. If you want to see it smaller, make sure you resize it. If you want to check it as a 12x12, still print it on the standard paper but keep it as a 12x12 size. The entire image won't fit, but you will see enough that it will work.

I'll be honest that this is tighter and a little smaller than I usually like to go with my text. I used a 12.5 size font and only 2% spacing in the Project Life app for this. I wanted to fit the entire story in this space though and I didn't feel like I could cut anything. I knew I better double check it so I printed it out and I do still feel like it is readable so I'm going with it.

I usually recommend more space between the lines for easier reading. But it really is up to you so the printer trick is a good one to use.

Here's another super easy way to check:

Hold up your screen to the size of layout you plan to print. I'm lucky that I have the 12.9 size of the iPad Pro (love it!) so it is pretty close to showing me what a finished page will actually look like. The screen view here is equivalent to an 8x8 page. I know if I can comfortably read the text here, that I will be more than ok on a 10x10 page.

I've also used this same trick next to my computer screen. Just hold up a 10x10 size sheet of paper (or whatever size you print your layouts) next to the finished layout on your monitor and compare the difference.

I hope this is helpful to all of you. I know it works well for me!