Swami Nikhilaananda said:
"Memories can be cherished over the years if they are recorded beautifully"
After being together with your friends for four years, you find that pretty soon, things are going to change drastically. People will move in different directions to pursue their own goals in life, and staying in touch is next to impossible. Probably writing on the wall on facebook, or perhaps on some days chatting, as most of the times, timezones and work would prevent you from doing this.
So, I thought that the perfect way to, have memories etched permanently is to create a scrapbook of some kind, where you can store memories forever. The following is MY interpretation of how a scrapbook can be designed. If you liked it, please do drop in a mail or comment. Also, let me know your suggestions.
This scrapbook is designed for a group of people, and therefore, it is not feasible to use conventional paper, glue, photo sticking and writing. Therefore, the entire scrapbook will be designed using a software such as Corel Draw and by professionals. And then you can have it printed and bound. So you might be wondering - If a professional is designing it, why is the title How to make a scrapbook? You can do this by hand as well, but making more than one becomes hard and time consuming. A book designed using a computer can be printed several times with ease. Like I said, it is how I would have loved to make a scrapbook.
The book should be a hard bound book. Soft bound books, unfortunately, develop crease marks on the cover, and might also get dog ears, and you will feel bad later on. A hard bound book on the other hand, will be long lasting. Since we are going for a hard bound book, the outer cover should be a book jacket. The outer covering should have a high resolution photo of a group of friends standing and posing together. There are two ways of doing this - Either stand in a formal manner like this, or in an informal manner, probably like this. These are merely ideas, and you can of course choose your own way of posing. However, remember that the photo quality needs to be really good. For two reasons - One, it is a blown up version, and two, it is the outer covering. I, therefore recommend that you go to a professional and get it done. Although it will be a little more expensive than taking your own picture using a digital camera, the end result will be worth it, since you will have a better camera and good lighting conditions (that you will most likely not have normally)
I liked to have a title with the Friends logo, just like in the Friends book. And have the caption as "The One With All The Memories". This is just to go in accordance with the Friends naming pattern, and this makes us Friends fanatics feel this to be really cool. It will be a really good idea to have another group picture at the back, fade it out a little, put a beautifully written blurb on it. Also, put a bar code at the bottom, just to make it look like a regular book. You can add other things that you like, as long as you don't over do anything :P
The first page of the book should have the title and caption - Friends: The One With All The Memories written in black, and below it, it would be a great idea to have a caricature of your group done. There are many caricature artists who will do this for a nominal amount. (Try calling up Just Dial for caricature artists and you will get quite a few) This will give it the fun aspect of it, and will make it look really funny. Give your descriptions to the artists, probably one guy with an overflowing glass of beer, or big shoes, or jacket, etc.
Following this, the book should be full of testimonials written by friends to other friends. How would you organise this? Collect all the testimonials about all people written by all people.
Take one person, and pick out all testimonials written by everyone else about that person, and put it in a folder. Repeat till all testimonials are sorted. Then, pick out photos which have the person about whom the testimonial is written along with the person who has written that testimonial. Preferably these two only in the photo, but some with three people are also nice. Possible arrangements of text and photos for testimonials can be something like these images.
The first one in case the text is more, and the second one, in case you have lesser text. At the bottom of every page, you can either put funny sentences or moments, preferably one liners, that were made by your friends. You can also put a cloud of words that best describe the person.
Also, don't forget to have a page of calendar events. If you are doing for a large number of people, do a calendar that spreads over two pages (middle sheet) and has all birthdates and other memorable dates. If it is fewer, then a single page with only important dates should suffice. The designer can add icons, and choose good colour combinations for the same.
It is also a cool idea to have a "Did you know?" page, where you can write certain things that other friends may not know. It will really fun to read it and say - "Oh yeah? I didn't know that..."
You can also have pages of photos to share memories of events. For example, a birthday party or a trip, or could be miscellaneious. You can modify the photos to look like polaroid camera ones as shown. You can also put some nice captions, and this will look really great!
Also keep some pages, depending on the number of people, for people to write something personally, with their handwriting. Use multi-coloured marker pens for this. This will add the required personal touch to the computer designed book. If you make the whole book by hand, it will look beautiful, but it will be very time consuming to make more than one.
These are some things that I felt would make a great scrapbook.