Hats Off to Dads and Grads

It goes without saying that June is an exciting time for most. Midway through the year, it signals the start of summer and encompasses both freedom for grads and family fun for dads. If you’re in the market for a unique way to celebrate either one, you can use MagCloud to do last-minute shopping for Dad or commemorate your grad’s past as they look toward the future.

Ideas to Brighten Dad’s Day:

Print and Digital Indie Magazines

If your dad happens to be a jack of all trades, chances are we have the mags to match. Whether he likes cars, technology, sports, or travel, we carry print and digital publications that make reading a more pleasant pastime.

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Custom Recipe Book

You don’t get between a guy and his grill, unless you have a cookbook. Put together his go-to recipes in a custom recipe book. We have the perfect recipe for a successful cookbook, should you need it!

 

Great Gifts for Eager Grads:

photobook1Photobooks for Friends

Since the change that accompanies graduation can be bittersweet, you can create a photobook to commemorate the past years before your grad takes a step in their new direction. The MagCloud Digest product is perfect for displaying full color photographs in a compact layout.

 

Custom Thank You Notes

If you found yourself in a pile of celebratory send-off gifts, you can give thanks with custom thank you cards. Our single sheet Flyers in the smaller Digest size are printed on a cover stock that that fits  perfectly into A9 envelopes and makes them ideal for using as flat notecards. Get started with our Software-Specific Instruction Packages.

Print and Digital Portfolio

Much to our delight, some grads will be on the hunt for careers as artists, designers, writers and publishers. For those of you, MagCloud’s print-on-demand features include quality printed portfolios at an affordable price, with a variety of sizes and binding options and an optional number of copies. With our Ship to Group feature, you can even send copies of your portfolio directly to an address list of potential employers.

 

No matter what or whom you’re celebrating this summer, MagCloud wants to help you wish them a warm congratulations and a happy Father’s Day!

 

Recommended reading:

MagCloud for Graduation Memories

Let’s Give It Up For Our Dads

A Father’s Day photo book just for him

Celebrate their achievement with a graduation photo book

A Recipe for a Successful Cookbook

In the United States, the arrival of June brings with it National Barbeque Month. Primarily, it means three things: warm weather, fun festivals, and great grilling.

As the days get longer and you begin gathering around the outdoor barbeque, you also get a chance to show off your best recipes. If you’re a cook yourself, you know that presentation is as important as the flavor itself. So why not present your culinary chops in the best way possible?

You can put your favorite recipes to work for you and your guests, or collaborate with your friends and family for a cookbook worth keeping – and, despite the temperature, you don’t even have to break a sweat.

With our Microsoft Word Templates, you can customize colors, fonts and more just by following our Word template tips. If you select “US Letter Borderless” as the paper type in your page set-up, your cookbook will be ready to print via MagCloud.

If Word isn’t included in your summer style, you can also try your hand at our cookbook templates for Adobe InDesign and Apple Pages for designing your own barbecue cookbook.

zestIn the rare event that you haven’t already found yourself surrounded by appetizing inspiration, we might suggest browsing our selections from other grill-savvy MagCloud publishers, like ZEST: Food, Drinks & Entertaining.

 

Recommended reading:

Create a Beautiful Recipe Book with iWork Pages

Easy Custom Cookbooks with Microsoft Word

Cooking-up a Recipe Book with MagCloud

Free the Cookbook

How to make a cookbook—a delicious gift for everyone

Instagram Inspiration

As the old adage goes, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.” Today, these words have never been truer. Digital technology has long made an impression on our imagery, and while the tools are changing, the rules for aesthetics remain.

With the rise of micro-publishing platforms like Instagram, there has been an increase in the widespread sharing of traditionally outstanding photos in an innovative space. Photographers, individuals and brands everywhere have become publishers in their own right and have given new life to visual storytelling.

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Since publishers are known for their storytelling, Instagram enables them to extend the reach of their already compelling work. It offers a new perspective, and, if done right, can increase audience loyalty and readership. How, you ask? Read on!

Continue your Content

For starters, you can leverage Instagram for posting between publishing. It’s a quick, easy way to give your readers a sneak peek at what’s coming up in the next edition, or to solicit feedback on what they might like to see more, or less, of.

Keep it Simple

Your posts should be unique to you, so don’t overanalyze it. Share images that are easy and fun, and that speak to you specifically. Fill your frame with photos that matter to you and focus on the framing. The right crop can make all the difference.

Share your Story

Take advantage of Instagram’s hashtag feature. Beyond using common themes to create a steady stream of conversation about your channel or publication, you can also include popular hashtags to insert yourself into broader discussions about #travel, #photography or even #throwbackthursday.

Every time you post, you become more readily visible to audiences all over the world, exposing your publication to viewers with similar interests, and ultimately attracting new readers.

 

Recommended reading:

How MagCloud Publishers Leverage Instagram

How to create a big Instagram following

Creating Conversions: How to Maximize Instagram for SMBs & Publishers

MagCloud’s Favorite Instagram Users and Hashtags

Publishing Poetry

Established by the Academy of American Poets, the United States celebrates National Poetry Month throughout the month of April. Ultimately, the purpose of the dedication is to draw individual and media attention to the art of poetry.

Image Courtesy of Parnassus Review
Image Courtesy of Parnassus Review

As artists, we know that poetry takes on many forms. While some keep free verse journals, others compile intricate sonnets and visual poems. Regardless of where on the spectrum your collection lies, though, there is a publication designed to make it shine. There is no time like to present to celebrate your own poetry, so read on for publishing pointers.

Maximize your medium.

Since the layout of a poem can be as important as the words themselves, the first step to publishing it determining the best place for your poetry to call home. Composing poetry on glass or wood and then uploading photos can completely change the perspective in your book.

Think outside the lines.

Tell a visual tale with your story by writing in different shapes. Graphic layouts are ideal for acrostics and outlining the silhouette of a character, or tracing the landscape of your setting, can significantly increase the visual appeal of text without imagery.

Face the font.
Create a language of your own by changing the fonts throughout your text. Don’t stop at style though, increase the size, change the color, and indicate significance with bolding, italics and CAPS. Each aspect of your font can add emphasis to your words and your tone.

Image Courtesy of Great Lakes Writers Festival
Image Courtesy of Great Lakes Writers Festival

Structure your space.

Like with lines, spacing can increase the drama on a page without any images. You can control the chaos with specific kerning or create a world of context by increasing the length of your lines. Sometimes the white space between the words introduces a meaning more powerful than the poem.

Don’t stop with words.

Each picture you include brings 1,000 words of its own, complimenting the existing artwork with even more context. Ebooks can deliver a digital space where the possibilities are endless; complete your composition with videos and sound recordings for a visceral experience.

Have any tips of your own? Share them below!

Recommended Reading:

Passion: Poetry – Inaugural Edition

Anthology of Mad Dog Poetry

The Inquisition of Poetry: Volume 1

Spring Snapshots: Making Your Photography Bloom

Image Courtesy American Meadows
Image Courtesy of American Meadows

For many, spring is the light at the end of the winter tunnel. Yet for photographers, it is the light at the end of the lens that makes spring most welcome. We find ourselves drawn to the season’s bright colors and warming up to the wanderlust that takes over the coming months.

Whether publishing a photography book or a travel magazine, spring deserves its own place on the page. Especially in an increasingly digital space, we know that outstanding content is best accompanied by outstanding imagery.

In order to do your wanderings justice, it’s important to strengthen the foundation of your photography beforehand. Pack your rucksack full of handy tips and tricks, like those included below, and then go on. Indulge your senses in all that the new seasons have to offer. When you return, share some of it with your readers.

If you’re already out the door, you’ll find a few tips to get you started below. We hope you enjoy these handy tips and links.

  • Get close to the scenery. It was Robert Capa who said, “If your photographs aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”
  • Leverage the light. Use golden hours like early morning, late afternoon or early evening for the most dramatic effects.
  • Speaking of lighting, watch your white balance. Compliment the natural beauty by turning off your camera’s white balance for the truest, clearest color.
  • Dress for the occasion. Pack on the layers for changing temps, but don’t pack so much you can’t enjoy your journey.
  • Get back to the basics. The Rule of Thirds never goes out of style, so align your subject along the intersections of nine equal squares within the frame for more drama.

For further inspiration:

OneLight Field Guide: A field guide to complement the accessories in your camera bag and make the most of whatever light you may find yourself in.

Composition Rules: A short review of composition rules to help you make better photos.

Fine Art Photography: Eye on Fine Art Photography’s Spring Issue features inspiring photography of places like Wakulla Springs, Yosemite, flower fields of Carlsbad and beyond.

Denim+Grace: Denim+Grace is a Photography Magazine created for Photographers and filled with content from leading artists in the industry.

Digital Compact Photography: A must have magazine, if you are using a compact digital camera and not an SLR. Full of hints and tips, for learning to take the perfect photo using a compact digital camera.

The Canon Spectrum: This magazine gives DSLR camera users a little bit of information on the different lenses that one should use for each kind of photography subject as well as recommendation of a wide price range of recommended lenses.

 

Recommended Reading:

Summer Wanderlust

Travel Photo Tips and Tricks

Q+A with Professional Photographer James Worrell

Celebrate Camera Day

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.