Eternalize Summer Memories With Your Own Magazine

Though Summer’s heat lingers on, Labor day is just around the corner marking the unofficial end of Summer.  Whether your family took a big trip or just used the lazy afternoons to hang out together, you are sure to have plenty of memories – and pictures – you want to save.

For many, vacation photographs wind up unorganized and spread amongst their hard drives, cell phones, Instagram and Facebook–doomed to be lost in the shuffle. With that in mind, why not take an afternoon and organize your family’s vacation experience, photographs, and mementos into a summer memory magazine?

With MagCloud’s beautiful print quality and direct mail options, you can even order copies to be sent directly to grandparents, cousins and friends to enjoy.

Getting Started: Where will you create your PDF?

First, you’ll want to select a platform to design/assemble your MagCloud-ready PDF­. You can use web-based Poyomi, or software like Adobe InDesign, Quark, Apple iWork Pages, or Microsoft Word.

As you get started, you can choose to start with a pre-designed template from the software (if available), or with a plain MagCloud template available here. You may even remember a post from awhile back, when we used Apple Pages’ built-in Templates to create magazines.

Organize Your Images and Treasures

Next, gather together your vacation photographs and organize them into a single folder. Then select the images that most effectively represent your vacation experience.

Collect any small items that you may have picked up along the way (i.e., a drink coaster with a resort’s logo, maps, airline ticket stubs, brochures from attractions, etc.). Such items can be scanned and added throughout your magazine and provide a more personal touch to the project. For example, you can use your ticket stubs from the theme park to give a different look to your family’s latest roller coaster adventure.

Order and Details

Although you have complete creative control over how you assemble your summer memory magazine, the easiest way is to assemble things is in chronological order so those enjoying your magazine can experience your vacation from start to finish. Throughout the publication you can include  quotes from your family members, or funny anecdotes – like when the duck bit the zoo keeper during his presentation.

Be sure to take the time to caption your photographs, indicating the “who, what, when, and where” of each picture. This will be helpful for others viewing your memory magazine and for you in later years when small details slip from memory.

Write a short paragraph for each of your summer highlights. Ask your children for input and have them answer questions about their favorite parts of the summer. You’ll be amazed by what they come up with and it’s always fun to look back and remember what was happening in pop culture at the time.

Some details you may want to include:

  • Favorite Summer Memory
  • Places and people you visited
  • Friends made
  • Activities and Games played
  • Movies watched
  • Books read
  • Song that was on repeat in the car
  • The silliest moment of the summer

Design Can be Daunting

When it comes to assembling your summer memory magazine, don’t worry if you don’t have a lot of design skills or experience. You can look at magazines for inspiration, simply use photos and captions for a basic layout, or even re-purpose templates that have nothing to do with this purpose. You can find inspiration anywhere, you just have to look past the content and look at the design. For example, the magazine pictured above used our Microsoft Publisher Brochure Template as a starting point for the layout. The design was a perfect way to include ample text to tell the story that went along with the photos. A few tweaks to colors and typefaces and we were able to completely transform the look of the original design..

As an additional example below, we used the layout from an Apple Pages design template for a school yearbook. With a few changes (and by deleting the extra clip art that made the layout look  “education-centric” we were able to create a casual scrapbook-style. Adding a scanned scrap of paper with Sara’s favorite memory from the water park gave the page a personalized feel.

Microsoft Word also has some great “Newsletter Templates” that are built-in to the software (Mac) or available online. Below are some samples that could be easily tweaked and used as the interior pages of your memory magazine.

No matter what software or platform you choose to create your magazine in, there are lots of sources for inspiration. So start designing and have some fun with it!

Have you created a photo magazine or book with MagCloud to commemorate and event, trip or season in your life? Tell us about it, or share your publication in the comments below!

Member Communication Made Easy (Well, Easier…)

Whether you have a non-profit, church group, student association, small business, or sports team, getting your message out to your members, supporters, and investors can be a large task. Staying on schedule and under budget can be tough, and creating a print newsletter that looks good is only a fraction of the challenge. Then you have to worry about mailing lists, postage and distribution… and you have to do this annually? Quarterly? Monthly?! Yikes. My head hurts just thinking about it…

Well, now you can worry less, because you have MagCloud–and we’re working to make it easier for you. With Ship to Group functionality we can take on the heavy-lifting of drop-shipping to your mailing list and you won’t have to deal with pesky paper-cuts or trips to the post office. Digital distribution gives you the option to share a PDF with your users who prefer to stay up-to-date with their iPad or other digital device. And you can get it all done without having to leave your desk or get out of your PJs (no judgement here).

So since it’s the start of a new year, what better way to turn over a new leaf with your organization, than to turn a glossy page? Your publication can look professional and still be affordable if you publish through MagCloud and we’re going to help you get started right now.

To make the process easier, we created a classic newsletter template designed for printing as a 4-page MagCloud publication (which comes to just 60¢/copy if you order 20 or more copies). It’s easy to edit and available in three software formats. Check out the original and a variation of the template on the left, and then get started creating your own in Adobe InDesign (CS3 or newer), Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. *Please note, you may have to “right-click” or “ctrl+click” to start the download.

Starting with a template is a great trick for speeding up the design process (don’t tell anyone I told you, but a lot of professional designers do it themselves) and many well-designed templates have style sheets built in that make it easy to change fonts and styles with just a few clicks of the mouse. So with a few simple typeface changes, tweaks to color, and some new imagery, you can easily transform this basic template into a newsletter that fits your organization’s image. We used Neutra typefaces and swapped in orange for our example, but how you customize it is up to you.

Want to try a different design?
Depending on your software of choice, you can also find great resources built into some applications or as free downloads in their online resources.

Apple Pages has built-in templates that can be great starting points, just be sure to check your margins and settings because these layouts may need a bit of adjusting so that they are properly centered on the page after printing/trimming. For more detailed help with this task check out the “Add guides to pages and adjust layout for trim” section of last year’s blog post.

Microsoft also has free templates available for Word and Publisher online at office.microsoft.com.

If you’re willing to splurge and buy a template, from an online source like stocklayouts.com, be aware that most of these templates are not designed to MagCloud specs and will need to be adjusted to 8.5″ x 11″ pages in order to output a properly-sized, MagCloud-ready PDF. So before you spend the money, be sure you select a file format for software you are comfortable with, and that you are prepared to make the necessary changes to set the file up to match our PDF specifications.

More Resources
Still needing more inspiration? Check out some of our past blog posts for newsletter content and design tips, or great sample publications. And as always you can find all of MagCloud’s design Tips and Tricks and all of our free templates in our Design Resources section of the blog.

Have you found other great templates or resources to use when creating your MagCloud publications? Then please share them below in the comments section.

New Catalog Template

Looking for ways to showcase your growing line of products or services?  We have added a new catalog template to our free template collection.

This multi-page template is for Adobe InDesign users and is perfect for product or service brochures.  We’ve created a sample publication using this template to show you how easy it is to make a great looking catalog that is MagCloud-ready.

If you are new to using Adobe InDesign to create MagCloud-ready publications make sure to download our Adobe InDesign Getting Started Guide for tips on settings for trim, bleeds, image resolution and more.

Let us know what you think of the new template in our comments section below.

Get With the Program

Planning for an event can sometimes be, well, eventful. There are always changing schedules to deal with, speakers canceling at the last minute, and 11th hour edits to the program. Making it to press in time (sometimes weeks before the event) with all of these adjustments can be nearly impossible. So, why not lighten your load and use MagCloud?

With fast print turn-around times (as fast as 3-business days for some orders) and great digital options, you could have your next event’s program done quickly, printed beautifully and even offer a digital option to attendees who would rather have their program on their mobile device.

Whether you are planning an internal training day for 10, a corporate meeting for 100 or a conference for 1,000+, MagCloud makes it easy to publish a program with just a few clicks of the mouse and have prints delivered straight to the event location. How easy is that?!

Need shipping that fits your budget? Use the MagCloud pricing calculator to figure out what level of shipping option works best for you.

To help you get started, we have 3 basic templates for Adobe InDesign (CS3 and later) Microsoft Word, and Apple iWork Pages. You can also find templates for sale online from many sites, but be cautious that many of them will require some tweaking to output for print through MagCloud. Please see our How to Guides for details on MagCloud-ready settings.

Ready to design on your own? Get inspired by other publishers’ event and sports programs and agendas on MagCloud:

  

 

It’s that time of year again…

Every year around this time, we see a bevy of calendars popping up on MagCloud. But surprisingly, they are not all what you would think… Sure, there are plenty of family calendars published, undoubtedly intended for distribution to cousins, aunts and grandma, but we think the more interesting use-case are the those being put together by professionals to promote their businesses. And what better way to stay top of mind with your clients, than to be pinned to their wall, where they will see you everyday?

Whether you’re an event planner wanting to showcase your aesthetic, a photographer promoting your work, a non-profit raising awareness or a small business trying to keep your team top of mind with your audience–calendars are a great way to keep your name in front of your client all year long.

Assembling a calendar can be time consuming, so this week we did the heavy lifting for you. Below you will find calendar templates for 3 of the most-frequently used software programs on MagCloud:

Adobe InDesign (CS3 and newer) (zipped version is HERE)

Apple’s iWork Pages

Microsoft Word

You can use these as a starting point for creating your own professional or personal calendar. We won’t spend a ton of time going into the technicalities of how to use these templates because we’ve covered that for Word and Pages last year.

BONUS: if you are using InDesign, there are 3 styles of calendar hidden within the master pages that you can easily apply by changing the master pages for each spread.

Get inspired by some of the great 2011 and 2012 calendars already on MagCloud:

        

Have you created or found a great calendar on MagCloud? Share the link below in the comments section!

New Brochure Template for Adobe InDesign

Need a little help getting started creating your next brochure?  We have added a new brochure template to our free template collection.

This four page template is for Adobe InDesign users and is perfect for product or service brochures.  We’ve created a sample publication using this template to show you how easy it is to make a great looking brochure that is MagCloud-ready.

If you are new to using Adobe InDesign to create MagCloud-ready publications make sure to download our Adobe InDesign Getting Started Guide for tips on settings for trim, bleeds, image resolution and more.

Let us know what you think of the new template in our comments section below.

Put MagCloud to Work: Publish a Business Brochure

A wise person once said ‘You never get a second chance to make a first impression’. In fact, it just takes a few seconds or a cursory glance for a person to make a judgment about us. Our subsequent actions, behavior and professionalism may change that perception slightly, but not to a great extent.

So it stands to reason that how you portray your business to prospective clients is almost as important as how you do business.

Whether you are a fashion designer, a multi-media training company, an industry consultant, a yoga studio, or a niche photographer, putting your brand out there in a professional manner is extremely important.

One could argue that a brochure is just as important as your business card. It is an important marketing and sales tool, one in which you can do a little bragging and shamelessly present your business in the most positive light. It is your opportunity to create a lasting impression, so be sure that it is a good one.

Whether you are a company with a staff of 2, 20 or 20,000, MagCloud is a great tool for affordably publishing and distributing your brochures in a professional format. Our full-color, full-bleed print options in both standard and digest trim sizes give you the choice to create a robust brochure of multiple pages, or something simple and portable, like a four-paged digest handout. Digital distribution options also make it easy to share your brochure digitally to a desktop, laptop, the iPad, or other mobile device.

MagCloud’s ship-to-group feature makes it easy to drop-ship seasonal information or annual brochures to your clients around the world. Or, if you are a small business, its on-demand functionality means that you can distribute individual copies as needed to interested clients, allowing you to maintain a professional appearance without exceeding a limited budget.

Once you have these great logistics and beautiful print quality, the only thing holding you back is content, and design. Here are a few tips for gathering the content you should include in your brochures, and how to effectively assemble it into a professional-looking publication.

Getting Started:

Who are you talking to?

The first thing you need to know is what you want your brochure to accomplish. That ties directly into the target audience and what the message of the brochure will be. Identify your target audience and speak directly to them. Never try to address everyone. Once you know who your audience is, it will be easier to target your messaging and articulate that your product or service is a solution to their needs.

What is your message?

Always include a meaningful headline. Your headline should clearly communicate your main point so that even if the reader reads nothing else, they will understand what you are about.

Tell the whole story in your writing. Be concise, but remember to write your body copy in plain English. Don’t use jargon or industry lingo, instead pretend you’re explaining your message to a friend.

It’s helpful to use succinct, pithy copy. Avoid long sentences. Keep your message to the point. Use subheadings liberally, as they break up long copy and help draw a reader through the text. Ideally, a reader should be able to get a good grasp of your message by reading only the headings and subheadings.

Designing Your Brochure: 

When all of your information is gathered and your writing is done, you can finally get down to the business of designing. You’ll want take into account the basic elements of good design – organization, consistent styling, balance, color, and so on.

Lay out your brochure cleanly and professionally. The design should draw the reader in and ease the process of reading. Remember that erring on the simple side will be easier for your consumer than an over-designed, distracting or hard-to-read brochure.

It’s great to use graphics to provide balance with text, but be sure they are relevant to your content. Use graphics that grab your reader’s attention and underline your message. Whether it’s a picture, logo, or stock image, just be sure it relates to your message and brand.

As with any design there are some things you’ll want to avoid. These include:

  • Avoid over-used typefaces, such as Arial and Helvetica. Read more in our recent blog post.
  • For content type, keep the point size under 12.
  • Don’t use more than three type faces in a brochure.
  • Generally don’t use more than one alignment.

If you feel lost…

Starting from scratch on a brochure can be challenging. Some great resources for design inspiration can come from other designs. Try searching the web for brochures in your industry and see how your design stacks up against the competition. You don’t want to copy someone else’s design, but it’s a great way to get inspired.

Also check out the stock templates available within most design and word-processing software. If you aren’t a super-savvy designer using InDesign or Quark, you’ll be amazed what you can do with Apple iWork Pages, Microsoft Word, and Microsoft Publisher. For those who are confident in their skills with the software, but looking to get a more professional look, you can also investigate altering templates from Stocklayouts or Inkd, just be sure you are ready to tweak these designs as they are not all perfectly sized for output through MagCloud.

Have you published your company’s brochure through MagCloud, or found other great resources for inspiration and design? Please share them in the comments below.