SYW128 – Why Stories Matter

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Stories are the heart of Sally Wilson’s personal digital pages and the designs for her brand. In this episode we explore the memories and meaning behind her scrapbooking philosophy, including how she uses photos to let stories play the starring role. This a delightful conversation that will reignite your “why” for memory keeping.

Sally has generously created a coupon code for our listeners. Use SS4FUN21 to take 20% off the Everyday Editions Collections.

Links Mentioned

Sally Wilson 0:00

Stories do have an impact on how we behave and how we think and how we perceive the world. And that's why they matter. You know, we hear this catch cry all the time, stories matter. But we need to be telling people why they matter, so that they can equate that relevance into how they document you know, they matter because they change the way we feel and say things.

Jennifer Wilson 0:20

Welcome to Scrapbook Your Way, the show that explores the breadth of ways to be a memory keeper today. I'm your host, Jennifer Wilson, owner of Simple Scrapper and author of The New Rules of Scrapbooking. This is Episode 128. In this episode, we explore the memories and meaning behind Sally Wilson's scrapbooking philosophy, including how she uses photos to let stories play the starring role. Before we jump into the episode, I wanted to share that Sally has offered listeners a special coupon code for her digital shop. You can find the details in the show notes for this episode at And now my conversation with Sally.

Jennifer Wilson 1:07

Hey, Sally, welcome to the podcast.

Sally Wilson 1:10

Thank you for having me, Jennifer. I'm very excited to be here today.

Jennifer Wilson 1:13

Oh, likewise, can you kick things off a little bit by sharing a just a tiny bit about yourself, so our audience can get to know you better?

Sally Wilson 1:21

Yes, I'm Australian, you can probably tell that by the accent. I currently live in Adelaide, but I've lived in a variety of places over Australia. I'm 53. And I've got eldest child syndrome. So my I grew up in a Police family. So my father was in the Military Police. So I've lived in Malaysia as a child, and grew up in Australia. And I've traveled parts of Asia, and the United States. But my dad eventually worked in Qantas. So my family have been all around the world, except for me. So yeah, Bucket List.

Jennifer Wilson 1:58

Very cool. I hope to get to that side of the world at some point. My husband really, really wants to go there. It's on his like, major Bucket List. So we're working on it. I have, one of my best friend's actually lives in Darwin, and has lived there for more than a decade, but I've not been able to make it over to visit him yet. So. All right, so we always like to talk about the things that are exciting us in memory keeping. So can you share one or two things? It's exciting you right now?

Sally Wilson 2:27

Yes, I can. I am a bit of a minimalist. So I like to bring outside things into how I structure how I memory keep and document my own living memories. And so at the moment, I'm really into minimalism, and essentialism. Greg McKeown, he has a whole podcast on that. So an application of his insight, I've adapted that to how I organize my time to be able to memory keep. If you not familiar with him, Google him. It's worth, the time and investment that you spend getting to know more about his ideas and insights are quite profound and inspiring. So that's exciting for me, because it directly relates to how I as a design, designer, interpret that and apply that to my design strategies, especially my business. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 3:25

Can you go a little bit more into how how you structure your time, with that in mind?

Sally Wilson 3:32

Yeah, I'd like to preface that by saying that, as a designer, one thing that I've noticed is a lot of people comment. When, when we talk about pain points that people have in memory keeping. It's really interesting to me that their pain points come back as not as product related, not as the actual desire to do anything, or the motivation to do anything. It's always related to time investment. Most people are time starved, and not resource poor. So I always make sure, well, for myself, Sunday is our family day. It's the day I practice my religious beliefs. I go to church. So I spend the afternoon after church doing my family history, doing genealogy, visiting the site, doing all of those things. So if I don't get to something during the week, I know that I've got Sunday to be able to tie things up and put a bow around it, if that makes sense. And I just keep..

Jennifer Wilson 4:32

Oh, yeah.

Sally Wilson 4:33

...things very simple. So I'm one of these people that I like to be organized. I like to have structure and routine, because it allows me to be more flexible with my time. I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it actually does. Because I'm not blowing in the wind everywhere and having to meet the needs of things that don't add value to my life, if that makes sense.

Jennifer Wilson 4:56

No. 100% does and I think it's so amazing. I've And even just working on really specific things. Like, okay, I, my laundry is going like, okay. But I know it could be better so that I'm not worrying about it or frantically trying to get something washed for my daughter when she needs it. Like if I can just get into a habit and a routine around it, that gives me more flexibility in the rest of my time. So that's so, so true.

Sally Wilson 5:21

Yeah, I find it interesting. Most people you see in forums, and they talk about, oh, if I could only get motivated, or I'm, you know, stuck in January, I haven't done this. I actually don't believe in motivation. If I had to wait to be motivated to do things that are essential, or even the non essentials, might be dead in the water. I find that I've just, you have to be disciplined. You know, and if you haven't got a desire to do something, work on that first, because that is critical to discipline, you know?

Jennifer Wilson 5:51

Oh, yeah, no, it's such a such a lovely thought and very, something that we have to really think about are her why and our meaning and our connection to these things that we say we want to do. And therefore you need that discipline, because you can't just wait to get, you know, energized about it. Because there's always going to be something in the way.

Sally Wilson 6:12

I know, and the interesting thing for me is this. I don't know what you call it, mindset, this mindset of, oh, I've got to catch up this or I'm behind or whatever. It's because I think a lot of people sit in the story analogy, you know, a story has a middle, a beginning and an end. And we feel like we have to start something, have the process of doing it. And then we can finish it off tied in a bow, and it's done. But our life isn't like that it's built up, you know, we have this narrative, which is messy, it can be articulated, but it's, it's quite messy. And it's flexible. And it's up and down. It's very fluid. And so we sit in a narrative, but we have this story mentality or mindset of having a, you know, start, a finish, and a middle. And that doesn't work for us, because we're humans. And, you know, we're telling this narrative, which is made up of all of these little stories, you know, you think of a pearl necklace, the narrative is the actual necklace, and the and the stories, all these little pearls that joined together to create this beautiful jewelry, you know, so...

Jennifer Wilson 7:23

Well, sometimes there's that pressure to maybe scrapbook an order in chronological order, but our life it doesn't, even though our life is flowing, our creativity doesn't necessarily flow that way. And sometimes it's so helpful to bounce around and follow your own intuition. And what's what you're into right now. And tell that story and tie that little tiny little bow around it and then go on to the next thing.

Sally Wilson 7:47

Yeah, cuz we're kind of right about our childhood until we have the maturity and articulation to be able to do that. You know, so interesting.

Jennifer Wilson 7:57

Very cool. All right. So, going deeper into story, we love to talk about our Bucket List Stories. So these are some sometimes bigger, significant stories, ones we want to make sure get told. So do you have a Bucket List story that you have in mind?

Sally Wilson 8:11

Oh, I do. My father recently passed away unexpectedly, in October of 2020. And so being able to write about that experience, and how that looked for myself, as a sib, sibling, trying to comfort my other siblings, and also as the daughter, and as a support. Yeah, that's on my Bucket List. Emotionally, it's one of those things that I think is going to be evolving. Because whilst I kept a journal while the actual event was on, I just went dead pan silence, and I could see my siblings, you know, they're texting and keeping up with their social and keeping up with friends. I just went dead silent, because I really wanted to just absorb the impact of it, and don't want to cry. The experience and just remember the influence of his life and how significant that that was. Oh, sorry.

Jennifer Wilson 9:12

No, it's no problem. I'm so sorry for your loss. But I think that you've, you know, we're also unique in our response to things and I think it's so important to honor that.

Sally Wilson 9:23

Yeah. Thanks for that.

Jennifer Wilson 9:24

So the reason I wanted to have you on this episode was we're in our Photography Journey. At Simple Scrapper. This is a two month period where we're exploring a theme and it's not just about photography, but the love of photos, photo editing, photo management, and your brand headline, tagline is Narrative Stationery for the Modern Memory Keeper. As you mentioned, you have a very minimal design sensibility. So can you just kind of share a little bit more about what you do as a designer? Your mission and your business and then this, kind of give us an impression of the overall design aesthetic that you have.

Sally Wilson 10:00

That's quite a thing to comment.

Jennifer Wilson 10:02

Sorry, I'll try to remind you of all the parts.

Sally Wilson 10:01

No, that's all right. Okay, you might need to, um, you know, I am over 50 now. I think for myself, I've always been, somebody who has the philosophy of less is more. I grew up like that, you know, occasionally I had a messy room, but it was always sorted by the weekend. And I think that's just carried over into my personality and how I structured my life, you know, in the various aspects that I have stewardship in. So that is reflected in my brand, I love whitespace. I need it, it reminds me there's no noise in it, if that makes sense. It's so so with my design approach, I always had in the back of my mind that I never wanted anything that I did to distract from the actual narratives that people combined with my product, if that makes sense. I was one, I always wanted whatever idea to be the supporting actor, not the hero of whatever the audience are looking at. I don't want it to distract from the thing that is essential and most important, and that is to have the voice and to be seen and heard, you know, whether it's on a piece of paper or in a huge gallery, it doesn't matter. You know, that's important that story is the thing. So really just to support that. Just to illustrate that I, my, my grandmother's maternal and paternal. They both were Memory Keepers. And when I, my grandmother passed away, her name's Mim, that's her nickname. I inherited six of her book of remembrances. And it was a bit overwhelming, to be honest, because they're absolutely loaded with personal history and insight. And just lovely. And, you know, in addition to that, she had volumes, like a library of journals that she had kept over the span of a lifetime. Come back to that later if we do. And what was interesting for me, between my two grandmother's like one was born in 1908. One was born in 1921. So really only a decade apart. My grandma Smith, my paternal grandmother, she had a lot of photos, and not a lot of words that went with them. So the impact of what she actually left for her posterity wasn't as significant as the impact that my, that Mim left with her photos and the reasons behind these photos and why she was including these photos. And yeah, just the general story or narrative of her living memories. And that significantly impacts the way I view what people may need. Because I am thinking of the bigger picture, I'm not just thinking of, you know, how my food looks at a beautiful restaurant, and how large the experience was to be able to go to a restaurant, you know, I'm thinking of what significance or what value is this going to add in someone in, you know, the audience receiving this? Is it going to really add any value, it's nice to see what people do on a day to day basis, because it's significant to the history of that year. But what's more significant to me, is the stories that have impact and influence and how they create a changing thought or behavior, because that changes our environment. And that makes more harmonious world if we can have more impactful stories. So that's how I view, that's what my approach is to documenting to encourage people to have a narrative that will be impactful for their family. Now, that's, that's we'll have a variation on where you live, what you do, what your core values are, all of that sort of stuff. So if taking a photo of the restaurant food is significant, then that's significant, do you know what I mean? But make it impactful?

Jennifer Wilson 10:04

Yes. We all have to make those choices. But that's each choice is an illustration of our story, what we want to include and what we think should be remembered. Well, we want to remember, even if we're the only ever future viewer of these projects. But I love this perspective, and that you are, you're coming at it from the minimalist design sensibility to allow the stories to shine. Because I think sometimes there's this kind of perceived conflict between, well, if you're going to be super simple and minimal about it, then it's not about the story. But that's not true at all, with your approach and the products that you create for it.

Sally Wilson 10:16


Jennifer Wilson 10:31

I get that.

Sally Wilson 11:27

I guess, you know, there's a place where everything. And I love it, the I love the creative footprint that people have with their art, you know, with the mediums that they use, but that's not for that's not my niche. That's not how I deliver my personal stories. Yeah, so...

Jennifer Wilson 14:47

So what are the types of products that you create?

Sally Wilson 14:52

At the moment, just digital products, I've been down that path of creating physical product. I just like the digital product because there's so much available to be able to use in this digital environment that we live in. And it's so accessible and it's reasonably priced. So, especially since the market for memory keeping is really driven out of the United States, it makes sense to be digital, because it's challenging to get physical product outside of the United States. Yeah. So just made sense to stick with that. And, yeah, I hope I've answered that question.

Jennifer Wilson 15:33

Yeah, no, that's perfect. Thank you. So, maybe just kind of wrapping that up, though. What do you think you do that's, that's different from what other digital designers?

Sally Wilson 15:42

Sorry? I didn't even answer that. Yeah, that's a really good question. And you know, sometimes the struggle is answering that. I think my point of difference potentially, would be the focus on the narrative. Like, what's the story and helping people with that. Because I think some of the struggle that people experience is tied up with, what should I write about? Where do I start? How important is this, and, you know, you can freeze in those moments of not having clarity on that. So to provide a more structured approach to a narrative or a story, I think that's probably my niche, as opposed to the creative process of how it looks good on a page or that you know, every month, I put out some monthly prompts. And they're not prompts about, you know, take a picture of something that's blue, or take, take a picture of. These thought questions so that people can delve more into who they really are, and what they do. And what their hopes and desires are for not just now but for their future, or what has molded them as a person to enhance their character, you know, and how that process in their own life, how that impacts on their community and their families.

Jennifer Wilson 16:55

So, so beautiful. That was just the mike drop, kidding. No, I just I can tell that we're kind of on the same wavelength with how we want to help Memory Keepers, even though we do it in very different ways. We want, we want each creative no matter what style that they have to really be in touch with their stories and how they can express them.

Sally Wilson 17:22


Jennifer Wilson 17:23

So I'm curious, you know, you your photography is so striking. And you have this beautiful, design style. And you're a memory keeper yourself, like what order did those come into your life?

Sally Wilson 17:39

Oh, yeah, that's so simple. I can answer that. Memory keeping first, probably gonna sound very strange, especially to your audience, but it's a religious practice for me. I grew up in a Latter Day Saint family. So I was writing in journals. Before I even went to preschool, I would sit at the dining room table with my grandmother who lived with us, and she would have her book of remembrances out. And she'd be writing a story about her grandparents at the time, my great grandparents or her great, great grandparents. And so it started from a very young age, and I think we haven't, we have an evening, called family home evening, which is a Monday night, and it's set aside for families. And on that Monday night, it was a practice for our family that we had these little exercise books, you know, the little school ones that you get with the lines. And we would journal right, you know, and if we had nothing to write, my dad would give us a prompt or a quote and say, What do you think of that. Or, you know, at the beginning of the year, we would all sit down and the very first things out of the bat for us was having a new journal from mom and dad. And the things that we had to write in that was like, what season we were in where we lived, what the cost of a pint, you know, a pint for you, but a liter for us in Australia, how much meal cost, how much essential living was. And it's so interesting to look back on those things and see the evolution of history, I suppose from my point of view, as opposed from history books. So it's really interesting. So memory keeping definitely came first for me and it came via family history, to be honest. I was fortunate enough to know my great grandmother, and have memories of her and her little advice to me, I gotta tell you this tip. Okay. So when I was seven before she died, we went to visit her and she said to me and at this time I didn't understand the gravity of what she was saying. But she was very, very prim and proper woman you know, she would sip her cups of tea and you know Wedgwood and things like that. And she said Sally darling. She said, I'm probably not going to be around to see your wedding but she said I want you to remember this. She said when your husband comes home from work, always put on a fresh apron, apron and have a little bit of lipstick on. So I, I know that sounds ridiculous. But I actually like make sure you know, the philosophy is just be clean and welcoming, you know. So when the husband comes home. That was important for her era. And ironically, it's important for me that my husband comes home to a good environment and a happy wife, happy wife, happy life, you know. And, yeah, but I think, just to share one story, and to illustrate how impactful our stories are between generations is my grandmother's father, he was an engineer. And his name was Benjamin. And they had a family tradition of they would go to what was called Barnardo's, which was an orphanage at Easter and Christmas. And they would, that was the only time that orphanage would allow people to take children home, to celebrate those seasonal traditions. And so on one such occasion, on Christmas morning, my grandmother had received a bride doll from Santa. And she had with her as she went with her father to this orphanage to bring a little boy and a little girl home for Christmas Day. And a little girl reached through the fence to touch this bride doll as they were walking up the gate. And my grandmother snatched the doll way from her and she said, don't, your dirty. And instantly my great grandmother, my great grandfather, took the new bride doll from her and gave it to that girl, and said, you will never speak to another human like that, they are not less than you. And her telling me a story. It has impacted how I see the value of other people, and what their worth is. So stories do have an impact on how we behave and how we think and how we perceive the world. And that's why they matter. You know, we hear this catch cry all the time, stories matter. But we need to be telling people why they matter. So that they can equate that relevance into how they document you know, they matter because they change the way we feel and see things. I was recently, I put a post up about, you know, if we could read people's stories, we would love them more. You know, they reveal so much about the trials and the triumphs of people's life, you know, even the worst and the best of us, we need to nurture everyone. And I think our stories do that because they create a connection, with staying closer that. But anyway,

Jennifer Wilson 22:27

They do 100% I think that's just so such a powerful way to think about it, and that our stories not only reflect just what has happened in our lives, but the values that we have, the traditions, and that's such an awesome example.

Sally Wilson 22:45

Yeah. Oh, I forgot to answer your question about the photography side of things. Why I do that with my photos?

Jennifer Wilson 22:53

Go ahead.

Sally Wilson 22:54

Oh, the reason I it's one of the biggest questions I get, it's actually the top two questions I get about my work is the photography, believe it or not, it's so simple, I do not use a filter, I use the Edit that's already in my phone, I increase the brightness of my photos, because I find they're backlit so you need to do that. Otherwise, they'll be darker. And I desaturate the color. And the reason I do that is so that on every page, the photos will have a blending tool and they're not going to distract from the actual narrative. That's just my personal vision of it because I look at my grandparents photos. Most of them are sepia or black and white. I look at my parents photos. They're all over the shop, you know, 70s, 80s, 90s.

Jennifer Wilson 23:44

Probably pretty yellow, a lot of them.

Sally Wilson 23:46

Yeah, and yellow. Exactly. So yeah, that's why I do that. So increase the brightness and desaturate the color. That's it, simple, right? Just keep it simple.

Jennifer Wilson 23:56

Wow. I didn't realize it was so simple.

Sally Wilson 23:58

Yeah, just really, really simple. We don't need to reinvent the wheel.

Jennifer Wilson 24:03

Huh? No, very cool. I guess kind of going more into your photography. What cameras are you using? Are you using your phone? Do you have big camera?

Sally Wilson 24:13

No. That's just the iPhone. Yeah, sometimes my photos are really ugh and other times I'm a winner.

Jennifer Wilson 24:24

Well, when as our phones get better, too, they take a little bit better pictures. Yeah, make us look like better photographers.

Sally Wilson 24:30

Exactly, Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 24:32

We talked a little bit about your photo editing philosophy. And you you want the photos to not detract from the design and the words. So when you're putting together a page, obviously you're using your own products. But what's your process there?

Sally Wilson 24:58

First of all, I probably to break it down. So there's, you know, story bites. So people get it if I have pillars. So what's my story pillar, for instance, what's the story going to be about? And then I start to gather. So I actually have this in my head. It's called the three P's. So I have a, sorry, I have a plan. Then I have a process, which I called polishing, and then a print. So that's the last thing. So just keep it simple, you know? So my plan is, what's my story pillar here? What do I need for that, and then I gather the stuff and polish it all up, and then I'll print it out. So to dumb that down for myself. Say, say I go to a concert, and ok we went to a concert, when we lived in Perth, Zimmerman one. The story pillar of that was actually the hot date with the husband, how he had grabbed, you know, purchased these tickets, because I really wanted to go and see this, right. And so it was about that, as opposed to the concert, but the concert was the byproduct of his tender feelings for me, if that makes sense. It's a story about a relationship. It's a love story, you know. And so, the story pillar for that was the love story. So then I just gathered some photos from that, and wrote about him, the process of that the concert was great, I really enjoyed that. And then put it in, you know, got the photos printed. And yeah, just put it in my, I have a personal history album. And that's an ongoing thing. And I have a few of those. And then I will have what I call a backstory, go into my weekly yearbook. So that's very different structure of how I do my own personal history. I hope that made sense.

Jennifer Wilson 26:45

I think that your example there is so important, because so often thought the real story is the one is like the story behind the story. Sure, you went and did the thing. But why does that matter in the grand scheme of life? Why does that matter to you as a person or to the people that you're with? That's the real story. Sometimes it really like yay, we did a fun thing. But it's really about the people you celebrate with, and the connections it has to the past, and your other memories. So that's, those are the stories that I like to tell as well.

Sally Wilson 27:08

Yeah, the stories have layers. And that's why I have different methods or different formats of keeping my memories, right. I call them living memories, because I'm making them while I'm alive, right? Yeah, the the story that went into the album was about the concert and the great gesture, but the story that went into my own personal history was about the reverence my husband has for me, my needs and how he meets those and how I love that about him.

Jennifer Wilson 27:47

Oh, I love that. I love that. The the separation of formats. I was actually just interviewing another guest this week talking about how she does the Heidi Swapp, a Storyline Chapters, books, it's really much more of a Project Life approach of here's the little bits of her life. And then she gets ideas from that to go and tell deeper stories and personal stories that are also more creative for her in a different format. And so I think we all do it in different ways. But we love having these little outlets that are slightly different for those.

Sally Wilson 28:19

And that's why I call them layers. Because the essential stories, we got on a train, we went into the city, we went to this concert and came home. And but the narrative is so much more than that. That's only a portion of that whole narrative of you know why he bought the tickets or may blah, blah, blah, you know, yeah, I don't want to labor with that. But you get it.

Jennifer Wilson 28:39

Oh, for sure. Like, let's let's shift gears and talk a little bit about your use of typography. So obviously we your your very story focused, so it's about the words, but you have a very unique approach to your typography. It's, it has its own whitespace. You, you're you're very spacious and clean and minimal in your typography. And I'm curious, like, do you have any rules of thumb as you're designing something for yourself or or creating something in your own memory keeping?

Sally Wilson 29:10

Yes. You'll think this is funny, but I am going to share in high school they used to call me the human typewriter because my writing was so neat and tidy, and tiny. I even had a school teacher asked me to rewrite my essay because it was too small for him. And what I compacted over three pages, you know, it turned out to be about seven pages and he asked for three pages. So you know anyway, long story short. Yes, I do have rules of thumb. I never use more than three fonts or typefaces. that's essential. Visually, it's just appealing, you know, the eye can only take so much stimulus. So that's one rule. And I always have right My subject line in something that's a little bit more profound or bold, and my body text is just very simple. I kern, so I space my letters just so that it's not all congested, I guess. Yeah, like I said, I really like this space. And I think it's important to have that space, just because we are so visual, and depend on that, you know? Yeah, design's a very visual thing. And we've only got 10 seconds, or actually, we've only got three seconds to really take things in. So if you quickly scan something, and it doesn't make sense to you, you've lost your audience. That's just how it is. So I always want to make sure that my my bold text, or the story pillar, as I like to call it, the heading, is nine so that people know what they're going to read, you know, because you don't want to get halfway through a sentence and go, Oh, this doesn't relate to it. No, I'm not going to read that.

Jennifer Wilson 31:07

So you're thinking both kind of at the same time about the overall impression of the hypothetical viewer, as well as the little details as you're adding that?

Sally Wilson 31:18

Mmm. Yeah. And I just think, yeah, I just think you identify with that, you know, you see a particular font from another company, you know, immediately who's done that. You know, you look at yeah, Paisley Press, Teresa Collins. They are, you know, even Ali Edwards, you know, her handwriting and you know, her font style straightaway. It's quite liberating, just to be able to identify someone from a font. I mean, that's quite unique for any era, like that's unique to our era, actually.

Jennifer Wilson 31:55

Oh, most certainly. And I think the more that you use them yourself, whether you're a designer or just a memory keeper, the more you start noticing the use of fonts elsewhere in the world. And I don't know I personally have found that we've kind of become so how we say it, like great typography has become so trendy, it's almost boring. Now sometimes in the world, like they're doing it just because it's trendy. Now. It's no longer interesting. You know, the example of, you know, Archer, Martha Stewart's font, like it was so trendy and cool for so long. And then now you see it everywhere.

Sally Wilson 32:31

Yeah, yeah, no, I totally understand that. And, you know, people like Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar, who use that to identify their actual business and magazine. You know, that's why they don't talk about their typography, because it's part of their intellectual property. So I'm sure it's quite, it's quite interesting. I think with my typography or so I like to use it as an art format. Because 8 point is readable. So if you're in the print industry, any font that has eight points, and that's legible, you can read that anything lower than that then starts to become an interesting experience. So I don't mind going lower than that, to put something small on a page, just to make it an art format, if that makes sense, like, volume number off to the side that probably isn't related. But it looks great on the page, it is a design aesthetic, if that makes sense.

Jennifer Wilson 33:23

Oh, for sure. I'm curious. Your with your narrative emphasis here? How do you keep a clean design while also still including lots of words? Is it some of the choice of using smaller type? for some, I guess, the tricks that you use.

Sally Wilson 33:45

You know, I usually stick to an eight point. Because I'm, I wear glasses now. So I usually stick to just an eight point. Sometimes I'll go smaller. But yeah. I'm not sure how to answer that. Because I just load into, you know, a three by four card, what's essential, basically. You know, I think about Okay, to the audience who's going to be reading this, whoever that may be, you know, what, what do I want them to gain from what I'm saying? You know, I don't want to waste their time by reading something, you know, time is valuable. So, what do I want to say? And is it really impactful? Is it is it worth worth writing about? You know, I think with the year book, what I do is, it's really about my, you know, our day to day living, the repetitive of the mundane, which changes our lives, right, because it develops our character and our habits, blah, blah, blah, all the rest of it. So I don't mind putting in the mundane stuff in there. But for my personal history album, I have less of that I only put those things that are habitual to us that demonstrate our personality or character so people will know more about who we and what things mattered to us, or what things we referenced, or how we, how we did things and how we treated other people, all of that sort of character building stuff.

Jennifer Wilson 35:11

That, okay, that was the perfect response. Because what I'm gathering from it is that it's not about getting as much on there. But being super intentional with the photos, the stories and the even just the the number of words that you include, you're including the just what's most essential, because that's what's going to be read in the future. If you read, sometimes, if you write paragraphs and paragraphs, somebody may not read it. But if you write a few sentences on a small card, you might get rid in the future. So I really appreciate that perspective, that story and simplicity can go together.

Sally Wilson 35:51

Yes, so for myself, I value the real estate in somebody's heart, in their in their physical space. So I don't want 50 albums of everything that I've done in my life, I want four albums, that will be impactful, that will change the thoughts and behaviors of somebody else's life, that they will be able to triumph over a tragedy or that they'll be able to improve their personal circumstances because of something that I've experienced that I've been able to nurture a thought process in their how they can, you know, gain traction in something instead of being distracted from something. You know, it's about getting clarity, so that we can, you know, as Greg McKeown says, so that we can give our highest contribution, effortlessly. Which is...

Jennifer Wilson 36:43

I love that, that's the goal, isn't it to do everything with effortlessness?

Sally Wilson 36:47

Yeah, that his thing at the moment. So yeah, it should be happening.

Jennifer Wilson 36:52

Thinking more towards our listeners here and what they can take away. You know, we were talking a lot about these the intersections between design and story. But sometimes minimalist design can feel harder than fill the page with all the scrappy supplies. So what, what advice do you have for someone who's maybe attracted to it? But it's not sure how. Is it, is it just your three P's? Where, how can someone really begin and create in a way that it doesn't feel like stressful to try to make it perfect? Because it's not really about perfection?

Sally Wilson 37:27

No, it's definitely not. It's actually about subtraction. That's what it's about. And it's about keeping the essential the priority. And being able to do that effortlessly. Right, you can read all about that with Greg McKeown. But that's basically what it's about. Having said that, I know that, you know, there's this undertone of cohesiveness that you have to, that simplicity is really hard. I think there's enough design elements or people out there designing products that have the simplicity down pat, that we can gain inspiration from, you know, so for me, I think you just start with a story pillar, and you drill it down from there. So if you want to write about your childhood, what specifically do you want to write about your childhood? What do you want to write about your birth, then pick something about that, about your birthing experience, you know, I think it's just breaking it down, I always keep things in three, anything more than that too much. And then just have pillars that come off that, you know, say, have a story pillar, and then have three points of your content underneath that, to simplify everything, we don't need to reinvent this big wheel and make things bigger than Ben Hur. It's too much. We need to be able to do things effortlessly to be able to succeed and not get caught in things. Otherwise, this is where people get stuck in this perfectionism. And it paralyzes people, you know, they procrastinate, because they think I can't do this. We don't want people to procrastinate. We want people to gain traction in things so that they become people of action. Nothing worse than not having an era out of history where we have no insight on anything. How'd they made the pyramids. Hello? So, you know, there's things that Yeah, don't procrastinate get traction on things.

Jennifer Wilson 39:30

Well, I think that's, that's one of our missions with the podcast is that there's lots of options out there for you. And some of those a small subset will be more effortless for you. And it might look like your style, it might look like my style or or something else completely. And you have to figure that out so that you are consistently moving forward and not feeling stuck.

Sally Wilson 39:52

I think the thing for me is there's three things, right. Always in the three, right. So before I start any project, I already know what my font is going to be. I already know what my color palette is going to be. And I already know how I'm going to put that together. So that's called a creative footprint. And so if you have those things already down pat, you're not reinventing the wheel. And I think for myself, because I like cohesive things, you'll find something that I did three years ago, will merge was something that I'm doing now. Because I like that consistency. It's just the structure of my personality. I'm not saying everyone has to be like that. That'd be dull and boring, wouldn't it? But for me, that works, you know, to my temperament. So I think most people get stuck on now, what font will I put with this? And what color will it be to match this photograph and everything, I don't work that way. My structure is. This is my story pillar. And those other things are going to work with that. And because my photos are all desaturated, I don't ever have to worry about what color I'm going to put with something or how it's going to change. And if I change a color, I work in the muted tones, it's always going to match because my photos are desaturated. And my font structure doesn't change. You know, I keep the same things. I have the same design principles, really from childhood, to be honest. And it just works for me. And the reason it works for me is because I like sthe imple look, I like things to be clean and tidy.

Jennifer Wilson 41:23

Well, I think we've talked about that a lot on the show. And throughout a book club, we actually did read Essentialism for a book club a number of years back, and great work. It is it's really a good one, the more decisions that you can make in advance, and I think this actually came up this year with Kendra Adachi's book, The Lazy Genius Way. And this idea of deciding once like, yeah, okay, you've decided now this is what you do, whether that's the font that you always use for journaling, or the shirt that you always wear on Tuesday. Anything that you can decide once, you can fall back on that, and then you don't have to make a decision again.

Sally Wilson 42:01

Yean and then, you know, it just becomes a, what do they call it muscle brain or something like that, sorry. You don't have to reinvent the wheel. It's like growing up, you know, my dad was a policeman. He was actually the drug registrar for New South Wales. So at a young age, I decided I'm not going to do drugs, I'm not going to smoke. So when it was offered to me at high school, already made that decision, it was a no brainer, not going to do it not going to participate in it. It's the same structured principle in anything that we apply to our lives. So with memory keeping, know what your creative footprint is, work out what fonts you want to do, work at your color palette. Just even those two basics will actually give you a lot more agency to do what you want to do on your, in your stories and your narratives, you know, whether that's physical, or digital.

Jennifer Wilson 42:50

Yes, yes. Or like me, I have a fashion uniform. I only wear black, white, gray, and pink. So...

Sally Wilson 42:56

Same here, nerds, you should see my wardrobe and you're wearing black and I'm wearing white. Sorry for the color people out there. We love you, too.

Jennifer Wilson 43:07

So this has been so delightful. Can you share where we can find you online and anything new or exciting you have coming up?

Sally Wilson 43:14

Yes. So by the time this podcast comes out, I've done a collaboration with Becky Higgins for her app. And she will have more of that information. So you can follow her. I also have a new personal history collection, which is coming out at the end of July. So it will be well and truly evident to help people document their early years. And I'll be going through a chronological process of how people can write their living memories, and document that for their posterity. So how people can find me is you can either go to my website, which is Or you can go to my Instagram account, which is the same as wilsonwilsonorg. And if you click on my link there, you'll find all the links that you need to invest in getting some free resources and some videos to watch about how you can use products in the Project Life app or the three Ps since I've got an entire blog on that to help people articulate more about their creative footprint and what that might look like for them. Yeah, so lots of resources on the site. Yeah.

Jennifer Wilson 44:30

Well I'm so excited for your your Project Life app collection, and you're just a generous designer within the industry. And I so appreciate that with the education you provide and the free downloads. Just definitely have admired you over the years. I'm so glad we had a chance to talk.

Sally Wilson 44:45

Ah, thank you, Jennifer that's so kind. Yeah, I'm really mindful of the fact that you know, I've been blessed with talents and I've had to grow those talents. And part of that is actually sharing those talents because that's how you increase them. Right? And not everyone has race horses so I don't think people should miss out because of that doesn't hurt to be generous or kind.

Jennifer Wilson 45:05

That's so lovely of you. Thank you so much.

Sally Wilson 45:07

Thank you for having me.

Jennifer Wilson 45:09

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