An Open Letter: How to Make a High-Quality Album


Dear Ahni, Zoe, Youngevity, and other album manufacturers,

It’s really not that hard. Here’s how to make a high-quality album in seven easy steps:

  1. No PVC. It’s simple. Avoid the material. I have never seen anything good come out of an album that contained PVC.
  2. No coated paper covers. Use real cloth instead.
  3. Use synthetic adhesives. These adhesives minimize warp and fungal growth.
  4. Stainless steel instead of galvanized wire. Galvanized wire may corrode over time.
  5. Only high-quality paper. See Paper Weight and Photo Safety and Pick the Perfect Paper.
  6. Look for potential points of failure and eliminate them.
  7. Implement quality control systems to ensure consistent production.

I hope this helps.


Dr. Mark


About Mark Mizen

I have over twenty years professional experience in all aspects of photography and digital imaging. I am Chair of the ISO WG5 TG2 committee responsible for physical properties and durability of imaging material and am currently with HID Global working on systems for security printing for IDs, licenses, and credit cards. Previously, I was Director of Digital Development at Creative Memories from 2009 to 2012 and was responsible for the Creative Memories digital products and services. I also established and directed the Creative Memories Technology Center, which evaluated new products prior to product introduction, assisted with production difficulties, and provided technical information to support product sales.
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17 Responses to An Open Letter: How to Make a High-Quality Album

  1. Dawn says:

    If you start an album company, I will purchase from you! Come on, any investors out there that can get Mark started?

  2. Lois DuBose says:

    Mark, could you elaborate about your comment of no coated paper covers? I’m assuming that your reference is to the covers that Ahni & Zoe are using? Thanks

    • Mark Mizen says:

      My reference is not related to Anhi and Zoe, since I have never seen their albums. It is simply a comment that coated paper is generally less durable than cloth.

      • Lois DuBose says:

        Thanks for getting back with me! What they have is called soft- touch laminate, which feels wonderful and is easy to clean.

        Lois DuBose

      • Mark Mizen says:

        I have no idea what a soft touch laminate is. If it is easily deformed and readily damaged then it is probably coated paper.

  3. Dinah Parent says:

    Hey Mark… I have started my own scrapbook company, and my husband has been researching getting the patent for the flex hinge album. I was told to speak to you to get some tips on how to start the process to see if this is something we can afford to do. Any tips?

  4. Kathy says:

    thank you so much for continuing to help us know what we need/want to preserve our precious photos/stories….you’ve always been such a great advocate for so many…..

  5. nancy Lewis says:

    Excellent information, Mark. We can all use that when making our decisions. Thank you.

  6. Jett says:

    Do you know how Ahni & Zoe measure up to your 7 criteria (already know the album cover isn’t bookcloth so you can skip that one)? If you’re not sure, would sending an album to you help you know?

    (I really love many of A&Z’s page designs and have seen nothing of what Rhonda’s new company, Our Memories for Life, has to offer, so I’m not sure which one will be a good replacement for the old Creative Memories product…I don’t have the money to shell out what people are asking for old CM stuff on ebay).

    Thanks for any help you can give me (and yes, I’m offering to send you one of my A&Z albums to look at…I don’t know, though, if it means your dissecting it…I’ll have to think about that)

    • Mark Mizen says:

      I really don’t know about Ahni and Zoe’s albums, and because many of the tests require a lab, sending me an album really won’t help. I would suggest discussing the seven criteria with Ahni and Zoe. You could also ask them for a copy of their current test reports verifying performance of their products.

      • Jett says:

        I asked them as you suggested. They told me that they couldn’t be explicit b/c of other companies are copying them identically (we all know who that is so I won’t name her/that company). However, they did tell me this much, which I found very informative:

        1) they do NOT use PVC in the albums b/c of the potential for damage to photos.
        2) All the covers are the “soft laminate” that they’ve been promoting (which I understand is a laminate paper cover, but they told me that they’ve tested it for durability). Their mini album is the bookcloth and they are currently looking into other high-quality, trending and innovative materials.
        3) All of their products are thoroughly testing and are lignin free, buffered and pass PAT.

  7. Susan Smith says:

    I love the old CM strap hinge coversets. Any suggestions on other companies that manufacture according to your seven criteria? Westrim fell apart the last time I tried them, and I can’t afford e-bay either.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Creative Memories’ StoryBooks stopped offering bookcloth covers long before they were discontinued. Weren’t those covers wrapped in coated paper? At least, that was always my impression. Miss them.

  9. Pingback: Get the Straps Right | All About Images Blog

  10. Pingback: To Jeep or Not to Jeep | All About Images Blog

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