Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Guest Books: All About Pages

We've been talking in April about things to consider when ordering a guest book.  Last week we discussed dimensional size of the book.  This week, it's all about pages.

6x9 inch guest book

Paper Weight:
First and foremost, how do you imagine your "completed" book?
Most likely you intend your guest book to include the well wishes of your guests. But will you have a Polaroid at your event and be including snapshots, or attaching event memorabilia?  This vision will inform your paper needs.

You'll want your pages to be thick enough to handle ink, the weight of photos, and/or memorabilia.  I recommend no lighter than 70 lb text weight paper (104 gsm).  It's about the weight of really heavy copy paper - the nice stuff.  And it's the lightest weight of paper I will use in my guest books.  It can easily withstand the ink and pressure from ballpoint pens and quality artist pens, plus is available in an unimaginable variety of colors.  (Pen post is coming later this month!)  It can also comfortably carry those thin Polaroid photos, and a small amount of memorabilia.

For heavier ink, regular photos, or a LOT of memorabilia, you'll need something heavier, like 100 lb text weight (150 gsm) or more.  The maker of your book should be able to tell you what weight they are using and if it will work for your needs.

My preferred weight is 80 lb (120 gsm), but colors are limited in this weight.  It's just slightly heavier than the 70 lb without being overly thick, as I find the 100 lb can sometimes feel.

Number of Many Pages:
Unless your friends are all poets, cartoonists or graphic artists (it's possible!), I usually suggest limiting your book to no more than one page per couple/family/single guest.

Why? It's unusual for couples or families to sign on different pages - and if they write individual notes it's usually on the same page.

If you're going with a larger size - like 10x10 - you might opt for even fewer pages.  Most people write pretty small and don't actually say more than one or two sentences - even when you are their most favorite person on the planet.  For example, I tend to write a good paragraph of well wishes, but struggle to fill more than 3 x 9 inches of space when leaving a written message in a guest book.  In a 9x9 guest book, that will leave 6x9 inches of blank page space unless others fill in the blank.

Which brings me to another observation - guests generally tend to keep working on the same couple pages and are hesitant to start a fresh page or be "the only one" on a page.  (Ah, who remembers their high school year book?)  Which means you may have full pages filled in, and full pages left blank.

I feel like this quickly went to a "guest book doomsday" place, but don't despair!  You have plenty of tools and knowledge to make some good choices about your guest book.

Final thought:
Unless you have exuberant guests who love writing and do it big, you'll need fewer pages than you imagine, and likely have a fair amount of blank pages and blank space... which is totally fine, because there are some great ways to deal with that space...

Tune in next time when I discuss: Managing blank space!
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