If you're going to have a family tree chart on display in your house, you want to make sure it not only goes with your personal decorating style but also looks absolutely spectacular in general. Here are 5 tips for creating a family tree chart that looks spectacular based on the 100's of charts we've seen and created.
1) Let your ancestors breathe.
Regardless of what template you choose, leave some "white space". Choose font sizes that allow for the names to be large enough to be readable and still fit comfortably within their cell. At all costs, avoid allowing the name to run into the edges of the cell--it makes the chart looked cramped and if you're not careful part of the name will get cut off to boot and your great grandmother's name with become ZABETH MART instead of ELIZABETH MARIEAU... and no one wants that.
Pro tip: Spilt long names onto multiple lines to remedy this. Here's how.
2) Margins matter.
This goes along with leaving space in each cell to allow your ancestors' names some breathing room--leave adequate outside margins. There are few things worse than a gorgeous family tree chart that runs into and gets cut off by its own frame. Since it's up to you to determine what size (and thereby ratio) you'd like to print it, the default margins are merely a guideline. When in doubt, pump them up a tad so you have some room to play with and be sure to preview your design wherever you choose to print it so you can be sure that too much white space isn't being cut off! To adjust the margins, choose "Advanced" > "Chart" > Drag the "Margin" slider.
We're HUGE fans of the import functionality ourselves, either from Family Search or via GEDCOM, because it saves us all a TON of time. Spend a few minutes of that time to proof-read your entire chart. The data is pulled in exactly as it is in FamilySearch or in the GEDCOM file, but that doesn't mean there aren't any typos that were part of the original data or funky characters that are hoping to be umlauts but weren't available in the font you've chosen. While you're at it, watch for any long names that might have escaped their bounds (see tip #1) or are overlapping with dates (even if it's only by a single letter). It's the little things.
4) Make a conscientious font choice.
Practically everything is customizable with our Family Tree Prints family tree maker: font, shape, size and each and every color. Changing the font will change the entire feel of your chart, so make sure you've chosen one that speaks to you and the level of formality you'd like your chart to express. For the perfect blend of readability and classiness, we're huge fans of either Montserrat or Cinzel, but ultimately the choice is yours!
5) Begin with the end in mind.
Think about where you'd like your chart to be displayed and how large you'd like it printed before finalizing your chart. We have some printing recommendations that can help if you need some additional guidance but in our experience the ideal number of generations, amount of information you'd like displayed in each generation of your family tree chart, font choice, color selection, etc., can all be impacted by the size and environment the chart will be living in.
Feeling ready to get started making your own custom family tree chart? Head on over and choose a template to get started with in our family tree maker!