Why I like Magazine

Not that you were asking but I’m going to share my magazine thoughts with you…again. Why? First, I’m amazed at how many people don’t know we make a magazine. Second, this format is SO unique in how it looks, how it can be designed and what it means to those who receive it. And third, there are SO MANY people who have the drive and talent to be publishing their own. How do I know? Because I did it. On a small scale mind you. I shot, edited, sequenced and designed a short run magazine, back in like 2009, and sold my allotted number.(100) And I’m pretty sure I could have sold a lot more.

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Now, am I going to support myself on magazine sales? Probably not, but I will tell you within a week of “announcing” I was going to do this I was getting calls from people who wanted to advertise. I ended up not doing any advertising, didn’t really need it, but had I chosen to go down that route I think I could have managed it. The magazine has ALWAYS been one of the Holy Grails to documentary style photographers, going back to the days of Look and Life. HOWEVER, all of this died back in the mid 1990’s, and yet many of us are still pretending like these magazines are the keys to “getting work out.” Please. They aren’t, and they haven’t been for a long, long while, but the magazine is still very alluring because of what it means.

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First, it’s designed to be discarded, in most cases that is. We all have friends who have every copy of National Geographic or Rolling Stone or Off-Road Buckshot Mudder….come on people I grew up country. To some the magazine is SACRED ground. Most people get a magazine, read it, leave it around until they look at it and ask “Why am I keeping these?” then toss them out. But why? BECAUSE THEY KNOW ANOTHER ISSUE IS ON THE WAY. People this is so fantastic. Ever thought about a subscription list? A simple email database of those who want in? How easy is that to compile? Wait for it….I’m doing this precise thing. Stay tuned for a subsequent post.

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Also, magazines are informal in comparison to books. They are treated differently, taken poolside, used to mop up the puke of sick kids and probably still read, but I would need independent verification from you parents out there. Magazines travel. They are given away. My wife gives her’s away on airplanes. “Hey, wanna read this?” she asks and they are ALWAYS taken. Try giving a book away on a plane. It might work but people might think you are creepy too. And for all I know you ARE creepy. You’re here aren’t you?

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These last two spreads are from a new project, Whistleblower, which is a look at the modern surveillance culture and the changing terminology of modern warfare. The images were made in various places around the world.

In a way this was a trial run. Just another test in a long, long line of tests. I made mistakes, even after proofing so many times I almost threw up. It happens. To everyone. Don’t sweat it. Correct and move on. Live and learn. Enjoy. When I see this magazine I think to myself, “What are the limits here, the possibilities?” and what comes back at me is…..there aren’t any. What are we waiting for? Permission? An editor to assign something then embargo the work after running ONE image? If you are a wedding photographer why not run a quarterly run of your best images which then goes out to your top vendors, planners and former clients, via print or “E?” If you are a editorial photographer why not run an issue on what didn’t run via mainstream channels? If you are an amateur who shoots for fun why not do a run for your family to keep them up on what is turning you on in the visual world?

We all need to get hip and get hip NOW. This isn’t 1975, or 1985 or 1995 or even 2005. This is a blank slate. A playing field where everyone gets in the game.

Cooking-up a Recipe Book with MagCloud

It’s that time of the year, which means it’s time to start thinking about gifts…

I used to spend 3 days making dozens of batches of home-made biscotti to give to the neighbors and friends who unexpectedly drop by during the holiday season.

But this year? Well, let’s face it–I’m too busy to spend 3 days baking, packaging and crafting these little masterpieces.

Instead, I have decided (Sorry friends, your surprise is ruined!) to give my loved ones and neighbors a custom cookbook, filled with our family favorites, printed by MagCloud.

Today I will share with you a template that I have made in InDesign and a few tricks for customizing it for your own use.

GETTING STARTED:

You can start with my custom-designed template that is already formatted for MagCloud settings, or create one of your own. MagCloud’s InDesign document settings and a blank template are available at magcloud.com/help/indesign

Download my InDesign Template.
Preview my cookbook on MagCloud.

CUSTOMIZING YOUR TEMPLATE:
Transforming this template into something of your own is pretty simple using style sheets. Before you start entering your own information, I suggest your go through the template and adjust the colors and fonts to your choosing.

Change your Spot Color
1. Open the Swatches Panel
In CS6 or higher click Window > Color > Swatches
2. Double Click on the color named “sweet red”
3. Adjusting the C,M,Y and K values will change the “pop of color” on all of the pages where it is used in the template.

Adjusting Paragraph Style Sheets
Open the Paragraph Style Panel.
In CS6 or higher click Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles.

Once you have the Paragraph Styles Panel open, you can then go through the document and change your fonts and colors. You will notice that the style sheets are divided into subcategories based on where they are in the document.  (Tip: by opening up all of these sub-tabs you can easily see what style affects each block of text you select on the page)

To adjust the settings of your paragraph styles:
1. Select the text you want to change
2. Identify which Paragraph Style you are selecting within the Paragraph Styles Panel
3. “Right Click” or “Ctrl + Click” on the highlighted style in the Paragraph Styles Panel
4. Using the Paragraph Style Options Dialog box, adjust the font details

Add Your Own Photos and Personal Touches
Change the title, insert photos, recipes and update the intro letter to reflect your own personal style. You can even include a photo of the person who gave you the recipe or a special quote from them.

(Tip: to include more recipes select a “spread”–2 side-by-side pages–within the Pages Panel, and [ctrl + “click”] or [“Right Click”] on the highlighted pages within the panel. Select “Duplicate Spread,” this will insert a set of identical pages in your document.)

**Note that you will want to have a page count that is an increment of 4 pages to print with MagCloud… such as 16… 20… 24… 28… You get the idea!

SAVE AND EXPORT A PDF:
Want a quick easy way to be sure your export settings are correct?

DOWNLOAD the MagCloud PDF Export Job Options file

*If you are on a Mac: double click on the file, it will open in an Adobe application and add it to your presets. You can then close that application and return to InDesign.

*If you are on a PC, within InDesign go to File > Adobe PDF Presets > Define > Load
Find and Select the file you downloaded called “MagCloud_PDF_Export” > Click Done

To use these imported settings, with your file open in InDesign,
Select File > PDF Presets > “Adobe PDF Preset for MagCloud”

Name and Save your PDF and you are ready to publish!

Other Fun Ideas for Your Cookbook:
– make your cookbook themed with all family classics or recipes from a particular family member like “Granny’s Favorite Recipes”
– make a genre themed cookbook, like “Sweets,” “Holiday Dishes,” or “Brunch”
– make a cookbook for a school fundraiser and call it “Bake Sale”
– Ask friends to contribute recipes and do a collaborative cookbook

PDF 101: Ten Common PDF Problems

We see a lot of PDFs come through the MagCloud site, and while most of them look great, there are some avoidable issues that pop up every so often. Below are ten common PDF problems that can stand in the way of a great looking print publication.

1. Content is too close to the outside edges.
We see a number of great PDFs that have text placed dangerously close to the trim line.   As we discussed in our design series blog post on trim and bleed, it’s important to keep your content within a safe distance of the trim line to avoid having it cut off in your final print publication. Remember that the trim line is 8.25″ x 10.75″ so you need to design to those dimensions NOT the PDF size of 8.5″ by 11″ that you upload to MagCloud. This 8.5″ x 11″ PDF includes a bleed area that will be trimmed off: 0.125″ on the top, 0.125″ on the bottom and 0.25″ on the outside. Since this trim can vary slightly in either direction, we recommend leaving 1/4 inch of extra space between the 8.25″ x 10.75″ trim line and your content, particularly any text content. This will ensure that even if the trim is slightly off, your content will not get cut off, nor will it appear to have been placed too close to the edge of the page.

2. Images are not extending into the bleed area.
Similarly, we see a lot of PDFs where images that the publisher wanted to extend to the edge of the page stop at the trim line. If the trim is even slightly off in the opposite direction in this case, there will appear to be a thin white edge on the image, as shown in our trim and bleed blog post and below. With that in mind, be sure that any images you want to extend to the edge of the printed page, go all the way to the edge of your 8.5″ x 11″ PDF, filling the bleed area (again, 0.125″ top and bottom, 0.25″ on the outside edge).

3. Content is too close to the spine.
Another “edge” to keep in mind is the inside edge of your PDF, where the spine will be on your printed publication. We often see PDFs with text that starts right next to the spine, and becomes lost when printed with a perfect binding. As we described in our design series blog post on designing for perfect binding, up to 1/4 inch of the inside edge of your page may be lost into the spine on a perfect bound publication. It is important to keep this in mind when designing your PDF, and ensure that none of your content is placed close enough to the inside edge that it is in danger of being lost in the final print.

4. Images are distorted across perfect bound spines (especially faces).
In addition to text disappearing into a perfect bound spine, we also see PDFs that have images going across the center spine such that the resulting print appears to be missing up to a half inch in the center of the image due to the perfect binding. As described in our perfect binding blog post, as well as on our Getting Started page, this can be avoided by making the two halves of one image into two separate images within the document, then moving them both out from the spine slightly and duplicating the opposing image within the resulting gutter space. Another trick is to avoid placing the focus of an image on the spine, which will draw attention to this disappearing act and make it more obvious to the viewer. If the focus is moved away from the center spine, any loss of content into the spine area will be less noticeable.

5. PDF uses low resolution images.
While the placement of images is one thing that can cause problems in a print copy, the image itself can be the problem. We often see are PDFs that use lower resolution images, and although they look good on screen, they end up looking pixelated in print. As we describe in our design series blog post about getting the most out of your images, screen resolution is 72 pixels- or dots-per-inch (dpi) but print resolution is 300 dpi. Therefore, when selecting images for your publication, they should be at least 300 dpi to ensure a quality print out. As a test to see if your images will look good in print, open your PDF on your computer screen and zoom in to 300%. If the images still look crisp then, they will look good in your printed copy. On the other hand, if they look pixelated (like they are made up of little blocks of color) then your image is too low res, and will end up looking fuzzy in your final printed copy.

300 dpi vs 72 dpi at 350% zoom

6. Color profiles are not embedded.
Another common image problem we see in PDFs deals with the color of the resulting print copy. As we explained in our design series blog post on working with color, HP Indigo presses print MagCloud publications in a 4-color CMYK process, but most images that get used in the PDF have an RGB colorspace. To help guide this conversion from RGB to CMYK, it is important that the color profiles for these images are embedded in the PDF. Without them, the color of the printed images may appear to be slightly off. To make sure that you are using the best color settings possible when creating your PDF, we encourage you to follow the program-specific instructions that are available for download from the bottom of our Getting Started page.

7. Fonts are not embedded.
Of course, color profiles aren’t the only things that need to be embedded in your PDF – any fonts you use also should be included. A common error that occurs in our PDF upload validation is non-embeddded fonts. This can again be avoided by following the downloadable instructions on our Getting Started page for the software you are using to design your PDF. Each of these guides provides settings that will ensure your fonts are properly embedded in your final PDF, and help you avoid this upload error.

8. Fonts are too small or illegible.
In addition to the technical issue of non-embedded fonts, in some cases the problem with a PDF stems from the fonts themselves being too small or illegible, making the text difficult to read in the final print. For body copy we recommend 9-12 point type and for headlines 18 points or higher.  As we discussed in our design series blog post on typeface dos and don’ts, you also want to avoid hard-to-read fonts, particularly for large blocks of text. Decorative fonts are great as headers, but can detract from your message when they become difficult to read.

9. Dark text is used on a dark background, or light text is used on a light background.
Even in cases where the font is legible, we’ve seen PDFs where the color of the text doesn’t provide enough contrast with the background. Placing navy blue text on a black background or light yellow text on a white background, as shown below, becomes very difficult to read. When there is not enough contrast between the text and the background like this, the text seems to blend in and disappear from view, taking the message it was intended to convey with it.

10. A light spine is used with a dark cover, or a dark spine is used with a light cover.
Finally, while you want your text to stand out, it’s a whole other story when it comes to your spine. We occasionally see PDFs that have dark covers and light spines, or vice versa, which makes the slightest shift in the spine placement become glaringly obvious. As we discussed in our perfect binding design blog post, we encourage you to pick a spine color that is close to the color of your front and back covers. Doing so will give a more seamless appearance to your final print publication, and ensure a more polished look with every print.

To help avoid these problems in your PDF, be sure to follow the program-specific instructions available for download on our Getting Started page when designing your publication. For some more resources to help design your PDF, check out our design series blog post on layouts and templates, or browse through some of our featured publications on the MagCloud website for inspiration.

Does your publication successfully avoid these ten common problems? Share a link to it in the comments below!

Holiday Newsletter Templates

Templates_featured

Whether it’s for your business or your family, the holidays are a great time to send an update to friends, family, and colleagues. Here at MagCloud we think the best way to do that is with a beautifully designed print piece, so we’ve created a few holiday newsletter templates to help you get started. Once you’ve personalized your template of choice by adding your own photos and text in Adobe InDesign, Apple Pages, or Microsoft Word, follow our instructions to export a MagCloud-ready PDF file and then upload it to the MagCloud website to place your print order. We can even help you ship a copy of your newsletter to everyone on your address list with our Ship to Group feature. You can also opt to make your newsletter available as a digital version to share virtually if you don’t have someone’s shipping address.

Click the links below to download one of these new templates, or visit the MagCloud website to find more downloadable templates. Just be sure to check out our holiday shipping schedule to make sure you place your order in time. If you are using one of the templates below, you will also need to download the following free fonts:

Bebas Neue Regular
Langdon
Ostrich Sans
Linden Hill
Marcelle Script
Nexa Light

note: all templates will download as .zip files and will need to be unzipped before they can be opened in Adobe InDesign, Microsoft Word or Apple Pages

Holiday Newsletter for Your Business

Business NewslettersSend your customers an overview of what you did in 2013 and let them know what they can look forward to in 2014 with our holiday business newsletter template. This two-page template was designed for MagCloud’s 8.25″ x 10.75″ Flyer, a double-sided single-sheet product with optional UV coating, and you’ll be able to print this newsletter for as little as $0.30 per piece when you purchase 20 or more copies. When you download this template you’ll be able to choose from three layout options: no logo, a rectangular logo, or a circular/square logo. When you are ready to export your file, be sure to follow the PDF export instructions in our Software Specific Instruction Package for your software of choice, available to download on our PDF Design Resources page.

Download this template for Adobe InDesign (CS5 and newer): No Logo | Rectangle Logo | Square or Circle Logo

Download this template for Apple Pages: No Logo | Rectangle Logo | Square or Circle Logo

Download this template for Microsoft Word: No Logo | Rectangle Logo | Square or Circle Logo

Holiday Flyer Newsletter for Your Family

Flyer NewsletterLet your family and friends know what you’ve been up to the past year with our holiday flyer newsletter template. This short and sweet two-page template is available in three color combinations and was designed for MagCloud’s 8.25″ x 10.75″ Flyer, a double-sided single-sheet product with optional UV coating, and you’ll be able to print this newsletter for as little as $0.30 per piece when you purchase 20 or more copies. After you’ve personalized the template with your family’s photos and text content, export your MagCloud-ready PDF using the instructions in our Software Specific Instruction Package for your software of choice, available to download on our PDF Design Resources page.

Download this template for Adobe InDesign (CS5 and newer): Silver | Red | Gold

Download this template for Apple Pages: Silver | Red | Gold

Download this template for Microsoft Word: Silver | Red | Gold

Holiday Pamphlet Newsletters for Your Family

Pamphlet NewsletterIf you’re looking for a little more space in your holiday newsletter, check out our pamphlet templates. These four-page templates were designed for MagCloud’s 8.25″ x 10.75″ and 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet products, which have a half-fold binding and can be printed for as little as $0.60 per piece when you purchase 20 or more copies. The 8″ x 8″ version is available in the same three color combinations as the Flyer template. After you’ve personalized the template with your family’s photos and text content, export your MagCloud-ready PDF using the instructions in our Software Specific Instruction Package for your software of choice, available to download on our PDF Design Resources page. Be sure to select your chosen pamphlet size from the top of the page (8″ x 8″ or 8.25″ x 10.75″) before downloading the Instruction Package.

Click here to download the 8.25″ x 10.75″ Pamphlet template for Adobe InDesign (CS5 and newer)
Download the 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet template for Adobe InDesign (CS5 and newer): Silver | Red | Gold

Click here to download the 8.25″ x 10.75″ Pamphlet template for Apple Pages
Download the 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet template for Apple Pages: Silver | Red | Gold

Click here to download the 8.25″ x 10.75″ Pamphlet template for Microsoft Word
Download the 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet template for Microsoft Word: Silver | Red | Gold

Holiday Photobook Newsletter for Your Family

PhotobookIf you want to send even more photos to your family and friends this holiday season, we’ve created a longer photobook newsletter template. This template was designed for MagCloud’s 8.25″ x 5.25″ Digest product, and includes 16 pages to place your photo and text content. If you want to fill up all 16 pages, a print copy of this photobook will cost you just $2.56. You can also choose to delete pages in the template for a shorter 12 or 8 page booklet, or duplicate pages to make an even longer photobook and take advantage of our perfect binding option. When you are ready to export your file, be sure to follow the PDF export instructions in our Software Specific Instruction Package for your software of choice, available to download on our PDF Design Resources page.

Click here to download this template for Adobe InDesign (CS5 and newer)

Click here to download this template for Apple Pages

Click here to download this template for Microsoft Word

DIY Gift Ideas

From cookbooks, to calendars, to a poster of your favorite Instagram photos, use MagCloud to get a jump-start on your holiday gift giving by creating your own masterpiece.

cookbook_templateCookbooks

Recipe collections are a popular MagCloud publication type, serving the purpose of business promotionscommunity fundraisers, and wedding favors. With options for ordering print copies and downloading onto mobile devices like the iPad, MagCloud cookbooks are easy to keep close at hand in the kitchen. To help you get started on your own cookbook, check out our prior blog posts with templates and instructions for Adobe InDesigniWork Pages, and Microsoft Word.

Calendars

calendar_templateCalendars are a great way to relive the special moments of the past year, memorialize a one-of-a-kind summer vacation, highlight business accomplishments, serve as a collectible fundraising idea, or show-off your dog Kai’s greatest moments. Whatever your inspiration is, we’ve made it easy to get started. Select from one of our pre-designed templates or read our recent calendar blog post to design one yourself. And with a 28-page Standard format calendar costing only $5.60, it’s an affordable gift idea as well.

Posters

poster_templatesGive your child’s artwork, favorite New Year’s resolutions, new product offerings or your best-of wedding photos the rock star treatment with our Poster format. MagCloud’s full-color Posters are printed to order so there are no minimum order requirements – you can order copies of your poster as you need them, and come back to order more when you run out.  And if you want to make your poster gift extra special, read our blog post and watch our video for tips on framing MagCloud posters.

Share your DIY printed gift ideas in our comments section below.

It’s Calendar Season!

CalendarSeason

The holiday season is almost upon us! If you’re thinking of ways to cherish memories, gift your friends, family or clients, consider creating customized calendars!  Every year, we share new ideas or templates for calendars and this year is no different.

You can easily create calendars to send to loved-ones or to have clients remember you year-round by dropping our monthly grids into one of our standard templates in your favorite software. Simply put your own personal images on the cover, left-side pages and back (remember to rotate them on their side like the image below) and insert the grids on the right hand pages in order. We’ve included 13 months (December 2013-December 2014) so that you can easily create a 28-page saddle-stitched calendar.

Your final PDF should be on it's side, like this.
Your final PDF should be on it’s side, like this.

Get started with a Blank Standard Template for your favorite software HERE.

Download the monthly grids as images HERE.

Bonus! Download monthly grids as images for an 8×8 Square calendar HERE.

Need some inspiration on what kind of calendar to create? Here are some ideas to help you get started:

  • Great memories from 2013
  • Summer photos to keep the memories going year-round
  • Pet photos to keep at your desk or share with friends and family
  • Fundraiser calendar to raise money for your cause
  • Photos of the family and kids to send to grandma and grandpa
  • Branded calendar with motivational quotes to keep your clients remembering you year-round
  • Calendar to promote your art work

What type of calendars will you create? Tag us in a Tweet, Facebook post, or Instagram  with a picture of a 2014 MagCloud calendar you created for a chance to win 5  free copies! Calendar must be received by 10/30/2013 12 a.m. PDT. U.S. residents only.

MagCloud Pet Love

MagCloud Team PetsHere at MagCloud, we love pets, so it’s no surprise that some of our team members have published “Puppy’s First Year” photo books, created wall calendars or even made custom placemats for their furry friends.

Whether you have a goldfish, a Peterbald cat, a purebred Great Dane or a rescued mutt, there’s bound to be a product that will help you pay tribute to your furry (and sometimes fur-less) companions.

petphotobook

Create a Photobook

Using cool action shots, fun Instagram photos or ‘selfies’ of you and your pet, you can create beautiful square photobooks to commemorate your pet’s first year, or as a gift for your favorite animal-lover.

Blank templates to get you started with MagCloud’s square product are available in the Getting Started section of the site. Or if you want a little more help with design, you can use our partner Poyomi. Poyomi is a web service that lets you take your desktop or online photos and easily lay them out as a calendar or photo book of many sizes and have them printed and shipped on-demand via MagCloud.

MagCloud_flyer_paws_stackMagCloud’s Flyer Product to Promote your Pet Cause

If you’re involved with a pet service, cause, or adoption agency, MagCloud’s glossy flyer product is perfect for pet adoption flyers or event promotions. We personally love a good ‘yappy hour,’ or ASPCA fundraiser. You can spread the word for your cause or event for as little as $0.24 a copy when you order 20 or more digest-sized flyers.

Posters Turned into Personalized Placemats

montyplacematMonty, MagCloud’s unofficial mascot and Canine Consultant even has his very own personalized placemat for a water bowl in his office. Using the poster product in a landscape format we created a custom graphic that looks like a sketch of a place setting on chalkboard. While the poster isn’t 100% waterproof, it does hold up well, and at $2 for a new one, it can be changed out seasonally, or swapped for holiday and sports-themed versions.

You can download this image to create your own–just place it in any MagCloud 18 x 12″ poster template in your favorite software and add your pet’s name in white text.

Enjoy Pet Photos Year-Round with a Custom Calendar

SATO Fundraiser CalendarCalendars aren’t only for a new year, you can still create a custom photo calendar to enjoy through the end of 2014. We’ve modified our 2013 calendar templates to go from July 2013 to December 2014 in our Standard (8.25″ x 10.75″) and Small Square (8″ x 8″) formats for InDesign CS4 and newer, and Apple Pages. Just download the template for the size of calendar you want to create in your software of choice, add your photos and use the included instructions to export a PDF for uploading to the MagCloud website.

InDesign CS4 and newer: Standard template  |  Small Square template

Apple Pages: Standard template  |  Small Square template

If creating your own calendar file in InDesign or Pages isn’t for you, then this could also be a great time to check out our partner Poyomi. In addition to photo books, Poyomi lets you create a calendar just by uploading your photos from your computer, SmugMug, Picasa, or Facebook, and then you can have it uploaded automatically to your MagCloud account.

Discover and Enjoy other Pet-Centric Publications

If that’s not enough pet-mania for you, Monty has picked out some of his favorite publications available in the Pets Category of the MagCloud Shop.


Pup Culture May / June 2013Pup Culture

Everything Pet in the Northwest–We cover pet health, welfare, events, and just about everything else for our readers in the upper-left-hand-corner of the map.

Spot MagazineSpot Magazine

Everything Pet in the Northwest–We cover pet health, welfare, events, and just about everything else for our readers in the upper-left-hand-corner of the map.

Animals VoiceAnimals Voice

Features articles about the history and plight of pit bulls. Also: Wild Horses, Factory Farming, Whales and Dolphins, Endangered Wildlife, Horse Slaughter, and other news and information regarding the rights of animals


Pony PalsPony Pals

July’s issue is full of great pony stories, summer tales, art, horse themed crafting projects, and a great tale about Equitarian Initiative in Haiti.


Shelter Pet MagazineShelter Pet Magazine

Everything Pet in the Northwest–We cover pet health, welfare, events, and just about everything else for our readers in the upper-left-hand-corner of the map.

InstagramAnimal lovers: be sure to stay tuned for a MagCloud Instagram pet contest coming your way soon!