How To: Martin’s Cove Journal

After getting an idea of what I wanted to do with the Martin’s Cove Journal, I was ready to get started. One of the things that I have found that it works best when using InDesign on a project like this is to start with a master page. Since this is a simple book I only did one master page (2 page spread) but on more complex projects there will be more master pages. Since I knew that I wanted a side bar on the left for a time line I first put a guide at 2 inches. Next I put a second guide at 2.25 inches to help me with spacing for the second text box on this page. On the right hand page of the master I made a series of lines as journaling guides. These line are just .25 points think and to make them even more subtle the stroke is a tint of 30% black.

left-hand page - Martin's Cove Journal

From here I applied the master page to most of the pages of the journal. Next I decided to pick the fonts for the project. I wanted a font that would help to create the mood of old pioneer and 1856 so I did a google search and found Fontscape’s typeface directory. They have fonts by period, so I looked at Victorian (1850 to 1890) but they didn’t seem right. Then I looked at Wild West (1850-1900). I decided on Birch which I liked plus I had on my computer too. I used Birch to do the time line but felt that the text of excerpt from Mary Taylor’s history would be better in something more like handwriting. We don’t have any journals from Mary Taylor but I wanted these entries to give that more intimate impression. After searching though my script fonts I settled on Rage Italic.

right-hand page - Martin's Cove Journal

When I got text placed into the time line and the excerpt I thought that the left page needed something to separate these two text boxes. So I went back to the master pages and added a line and adjusted the guides to accommodate the change. At this point I also added lines across the top of both pages and one across the bottom of the right hand page. While I was on the master pages I put in page numbers. At this point the journal is really started to take shape but it seems too sterile.

black swirl


I wanted it to have more of an old-fashioned feel so I went to the internet to find some clip art to enhance the pages. First I found a swirl at then a splotch at I created another layer on the master page for these images. It took awhile playing around with placement and transparency to get the look I wanted. For the cover I placed the only photo I have of Mary Taylor and adjusted the swirls and the splotches to make the cover work.

The Handcart Song - Martin's Cove Journal

Another thing I wanted was a spot to put some information about what was happening in the rest of the world. So I adjusted the right hand page and added a text box on the bottom of the right page with room for a couple of events with dates. After I let the project sit for a day or two I decided to add the lyrics to “The Handcart Song” on the back. This was a favorite song of my great-great grandmother. Besides singing it as she traveled to Utah in 1856, she sang it her whole life.

pedigree chart - Martin's Cove Journal

The last thing I wanted in the journal was a pedigree chart. I made one using the pen tool to make straight lines. There is probably an easier way but I made a vertical line and a horizontal line and made copies of them to build the chart. After I got everything arranged I zoomed in to make sure the intersections of the lines was precise. Then I made text boxes for all the names. Note that I put these on another layer so that I wouldn’t accidentally mess up the pedigree chart while playing with the names. I also used Rage Italic to put relationship labels on the pedigree chart. I used the 30% black tint to make sure these didn’t compete with the names.

I showed my mom a proof copy yesterday and she is very excited. She said it would be worth going to Martin’s Cove just to get the journal. She is 89 years old so going to Martin’s Cove isn’t easy. My parents have decided to stay in a hotel. They don’t feel up to camping.

I haven’t figured out how to put the template here to download so if you would like an InDesign template for this project send an email to Did you find this post helpful? I’ve never tried to explain how I put together a book before and I’m not sure if what I wrote is the kind of information that is meaningful, so I’d love some feedback.


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