Creating a tribute memory book is a wonderful way to honor a loved one who has passed on because memories and stories are a therapeutic way to look back on good times and let that person stay close in our hearts.
In a memory book, you can include photos with stories, quotes, memorabilia and more that make that person special. You can also let people contribute their own content and send copies for a collaborative memorial everyone can share.
Here’s how to make a tribute memory book.
1. Collect Pictures, Memories, Messages
Start by collecting material for the book. You’ll want photos, stories, messages and memorabilia from the people who knew and loved the person who passed. Here’s what you’ll need:
Consider Who’ll Contribute
Start by making a list of family, friends, coworkers, and anyone else that may want to contribute to the book so you don’t miss anyone, and so no one feels left out.
Make sure you include people from every facet of your loved one’s life. For instance, if they went to a religious organization, or if they were involved in a professional organization, they probably have friends in those places. If they frequented a diner with friends, ask the friends and the people who work in the diner. Think about everything they did, the people they might have impacted and give those people an outlet to share memories – it will help them, and it will be beneficial to you as you grieve to hear these stories about your loved one.
Email or otherwise contact the people on the list and ask them for the following things for the book, or anything they’d like to contribute. You can have them send emails with information, they can mail things or you can meet with them in person or video chat. They can also put files on a flash drive or on the cloud to share digitally.
Collect Photos That Matter
When you contact the people on your list, tell them to send any and all photos they can. Also find photos to which you have access.
Then, choose the photos that show stories, bring back good memories or tell the life story of the deceased. Photos of their experiences, family and friends, vacations, milestones, and more are great options to include, since you won’t be able to include every photo.
If you have photos that are well-worn or need improvements, you can edit them in a program like Photoshop to fix lighting, sharpness and coloring, or use a service like MyHeritage to fix or add color to old photos.
Share & Record Memories
Next, write and record memories of your loved one. Write your own stories and get people to share stories with you. This can be through writing (email or letters), or digital recordings (you can transcribe the audio). Recording stories is a great way to get them from older family members who may not be as tech-savvy, but anyone can record stories to get their entire point of view in the narrative if they’d rather not write.
Include Messages from Family & Friends
Besides memories in the form of stories, family and friends can add messages for the deceased, or for the family if the book is a gift. This gives people a chance to say what they would want the loved one that has passed on to know, and it can be therapeutic, plus it can help readers of the memory book in their own grieving process.
Think of Their Favorite Things
Did your loved one have a talent, career or hobby that they loved? Share it in the book! Whether they were an artist, gardener, dancer or something else, include photos and/or examples of their work. If your grandpa was a joker, write out some of his jokes and include them (possibly with images), or even artwork someone else created of your loved one, like a caricature or portrait.
If the person you’re commemorating had favorite artists, musicians, places they loved or movies, you can also include those in the book to remember their favorite things and memories associated with those things. If they were a part of a fundraising committee for charity, owned a business or something else, include memorabilia from those as well.
2. Visualize The Book & Organize Accordingly
After collecting all the materials, the next step is to look at what you’ve collected and decide how and in what sequence to organize the book. This could be a timeline or have varying sections with the different aspects of life you want to remember.
Figure Out The Structure & Sequence of Things
The first step is figuring out the structure and sequence of the materials. You can organize the book as a timeline, by specific events like milestones, or with groups like family, friends, church group, book club, travel, and things of that nature.
Next, make sure you have all the information you need for each section. Get dates, locations, and names of people for all photos. Gather stories and information on each section to include in the book.
Design Page Layouts
If you’re designing the book digitally, choose a program for page layouts, like Adobe InDesign, and either use templates or design your own layouts. Consider:
- Themes to fit the subject matter of the page and/or sections;
- Page margin size;
- Page composition – how many photos on each page, what size should they be and where will they be placed?
- Text for each page – how much, where it goes and fonts/sizes;
- Background colors, patterns or images;
- Borders for photos, including shapes;
- Additional design elements, like if you’re going to include photos of things like handwritten recipes or type them out.
Make sure you’re formatting text and photos correctly, meaning that file type and size is correct, and that everything is in the right place. Make sure the book itself is formatted in the right file type for printing (usually pdf).
3. Printing The Book
The next step is printing the book. You have some options:
- There are services that will print out everything and bind it in a book format for you, like at Staples;
- Some services let you design the book on the same platform where it gets printed;
- A service like Newlywords lets you make the whole process collaborative, so you can avoid handling all the files and inputting all the information yourself – people put in their own photos, text and memories, and you can edit and print all on the same website.
The process of printing a memory tribute book can get complicated, and the outcome might not come out great if you’re trying to execute this step alone. It can be a great weight off your shoulders to choose a professional platform that takes the work off of you for your own peace of mind to know it’s high quality, error-free and of lasting quality.
4. Creating a Scrapbook (If You Want to Do it Yourself)
If you want to make a scrapbook yourself, you’ll need to follow the above steps. Then, you’ll need to organize everything how you want it on each page, print out the pages and combine them into a book.
You can make your scrapbook as DIY as you want, from designing it all online and getting it printed, or placing pages in a book or binder with scrapbook pages you can buy from a craft store that you glue photos and memorabilia onto yourself.
You may also want to consider how many copies you’ll need. If you only want one book, you can use any of the above methods, but if you want copies to give to family and friends, it may be a better option to print the book since it’s more easily reproducible and won’t take as much time to finish and send out to people.
Alternatively, Take Professional Help
Everything we’ve talked about so far is a normal part of the process of making a memory book to pay tribute to a loved one. However, getting professional help can be easier than having to gather everyone’s photos and stories, organize and format them yourself, print them out and create the book, all of which can be incredibly time-consuming, uncertain and possibly frustrating.
Today, services exist that make it easy to make a memory book where people have direct access to the book to add their own information. Plus, it doesn’t take the final control from you – you can still edit, add and refine as much as you need to before printing the final product. When the book is printed, it’s done in a professional, hard-cover format that can be prominently displayed on coffee tables or wherever to be admired for years to come.
This is why Newlywords decided to make memory books easier for people – they automate the entire process so it’s easy to create tribute memory books without the fuss. You just send out the book access to people on your list, they add their memories, and you check it over to edit as needed and order your copies.
Losing a loved one is never easy, but remembering them can bring you joy in times of grief. Tribute memory books are an amazing way to bring a smile to your face when you’re missing someone, and a great way to combine memories from everyone who knew the person. Helping everyone share memories, and knowing all these people have a copy of the stories, photos and memorabilia important to that special person, makes something sad become a way people can connect and share. Memory books let that person live on through their family, friends and stories. If you’re looking to make a collaborative tribute memory book, be sure to check out Newlywords and see if it’s a good fit for you!