10 Golden Rules of Photobook Design by Sybren Kuiper

The ten golden rules of photobook design by Dutch graphic designer Sybren Kuiper.

Sybren Kuiper is a contemporary Dutch graphic designer who specialises in narrating stories through images and text. His ten rules below are written from the perspective of a graphic designer when working with a photographer on a photobook project.

#1. Never forget the basics: a photo book has two defining qualities: 1. it is a book; 2. it is full of photographs.

#2. When you start designing don’t listen to the photographer. Listen to the photos, then to the photographer.

#3. Design with your heart. Check with your head. Or the other way around.

#4. A book is not an exhibition. A page is not a wall. A book has specific physical qualities you have to use.

#5. ‘Time; and therefore ‘timing’ are defining factors of a book. Because of the turning of the pages, books become almost inevitably narratives. Stories.

#6. A good edit is key. A good edit is essential. A good edit is crucial. A good edit is vital. A good edit is fundamental. A good edit is critical etc.

#7. Designing a photo book is often a matter of problem solving. Don’t just solve the problems. Try to make your solutions the backbone of your ‘narrative.’

#8. A good book is built on just a few design ideas. Stick to them relentlessly, despite the darling you may have to kill along the way. It can be a massacre (trust me).

#9. Designing a photo book is not about showing off your graphic design skills. It is about your ability to bring out the photo’s full potential.

#10. When your client is not really, really, really, really, really happy … start over.

Learn more from Sybren Kuiper at

About the author Momento Photobooks

Co-founder + Marketing Manager of Momento, creators of premium photo books + custom stationery. A 100% Australian owned + made company dedicated to helping amateur, enthusiast + professional photographers preserve their images in style at

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