Put Your Resolutions Right Where You Can See Them–on the Wall.

postertemplates

Well, it’s that time of year again–when we all take a moment to reflect on the last 12 months and set goals for the future. The beginning of 2013 is less than a week away, so it’s time to set your New Year’s Resolutions and figure out how you will stick to them this year.

Some of us write them down and start off resolute, yet a good portion of us will likely forget about them or give up by March. This year, to keep us on track, the MagCloud team decided to decorate our offices with empowering words and goals printed on our awesome Poster product.

If you’re not familiar with HP MagCloud’s Poster product, you should definitely check it out. Available in 12″ x 18″ and 18″ x 12″ trim size options, our posters are printed on 80# premium cover stock, and come standard with UV Coating for increased durability. At just $2 a piece (plus shipping) they make for very affordable gifts, or leave plenty of room to mark-up and sell. We’ve seen folks use them to show off their love for cars, create unique calendars, or even as an alternative to guest books.

But let’s not to get distracted from our resolutions already.  To get you started creating your own resolution posters we’ve created some templates and design inspirations below.

Please note that our Poster product offers you the ability to print on both sides (we like to put a little message on the back for gifts/clients) but if you choose to upload a file with only one “facing page” the MagCloud uploader will warn you that you should have two “pages.” Don’t worry about this–we will add a blank side to the back for you.

COLOR-BLOCK POSTERS

Adobe InDesign (CS4 or higher):

Apple iWork Pages (’09 or newer):

Microsoft Word:

Adobe InDesign (CS4 or higher):

Apple iWork Pages (’09 or newer):

Microsoft Word:

Special Italicized Font used: EXMOUTH

Q+A with Merritt Design’s Jennifer Koskinen

No sooner did Jennifer Koskinen begin using MagCloud to showcase her architectural photography work than she found herself designing MagCloud magazines for her clients, too – quickly parlaying her architectural firm into a photography and graphic design boutique. In fact, MagCloud was a source of inspiration for transforming her architectural skills into graphic design skills.

“I love the creativity of designing photographs and then thinking of how to best present them,” Koskinen says. “MagCloud makes it easy and affordable to experiment with design ideas and try new things.”

  How did your architecture work lead to your new career in photography?

Jennifer Koskinen I fell in love with photography when I got my first camera in the eighth grade. But I’d never considered working as a photographer. I pursued a career in architecture, instead.

After a few years of design work, my firm hired me to shoot scouting photos of one of our projects in pursuit of publication. So I submitted my photographs to a magazine, thinking they’d send their own photographer to reshoot them.

The magazine loved what I sent and wanted to publish them. It was just the validation I needed to start shooting more, and soon I realized that I felt more creative photographing architecture than designing it. I absolutely love photography! It’s hard to believe that I get to do this for a living!

  How did MagCloud inspire you in your graphic design business?

JK I started creating my own magazines with MagCloud to give to existing and potential clients. Everyone loved them, right from the start, and wanted me to design magazines for them, too. I’ve created eight MagCloud magazines so far for other architects, builders, chefs, jewelry designers and so forth, with two more in the works. My clients in turn use the magazines to market their work, which makes for fabulous co-marketing for all of us!

  How did you get started publishing through MagCloud?

JK I’d been interested in self-publishing in general, but could find solutions only for books. When I came across MagCloud, I was immediately excited. The first thing I designed was a magazine for my architectural photography. The magazine format was intriguing, so I even wrote stories and included advertisements for some of my clients.

  How has MagCloud made a difference?

JK Next to my website, distributing my MagCloud magazines to potential clients is the most important thing I can do to attract business. I love the reaction that I get from people when I hand them out. People visibly respond to something they can hold in their hands and flip through at their own pace. I see them feel the paper and the weight of it. The pages hold the color so well. It’s one thing to see my images on a computer monitor – it’s nice to see them in print, too.

There’s nothing else out there that beats the quality and the price point better than these magazines. They’re invaluable, and they give my business credibility. There’s no doubt that my sales have dramatically increased because of MagCloud.

  What tips would you give to someone new to self-publishing?

JK Dive in. When I set out to design something, I look at things I love, study graphical trends, fonts, proportions – even white space and how it’s used. It’s really fun to play with, and MagCloud’s templates make everything so easy. I recommend studying what you like and then creating something that’s your own, including things you’ve noticed and like in other people’s designs. Have fun and try things you’ve never done.

  If your publication were a superhero, who would it be?

JK Pixelgirl! She’s a stylish superhero who can fly – cameras in tow – from location to location, harnessing her amazing powers of composition and her ability to capture the most dynamic subjects in the most beautiful light. And she gets home in time to cook dinner for her son!

How to Use MagCloud for Your Tutoring Business

Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at various ways teachers and professors can use MagCloud to help their students get ahead in the classroom. Outside of school, MagCloud’s print on demand and digital publishing tools can also be a great resource for professional tutors, for everything from personalized study aids for their pupils, to marketing their business with promotional brochures and flyers.

Tutoring Aids

Whether you are tutoring a student in a subject one-on-one, or offering test preparation to a larger group, MagCloud can be a great resource for printing up workbooks and study guides that are tailored to the needs of your students. With no minimum order quantity required, MagCloud lets you print as few as one copy, making it easy for you to create personalized study aids tailored to your students’ needs both in and out of your tutoring sessions. For example, if you are helping a student prepare for the SAT, you could use MagCloud to provide your pupil with a printed workbook of practice questions that he or she can complete as homework, a digital reference guide of common mathematical formulas that can be viewed in PDF format, and a pocket review book with common vocabulary words and definitions, all tailored to the areas of the test where they need the most help. You can create these documents using any program that can export a PDF file, and easily update them for new students by uploading a new version of the PDF to the MagCloud website.

To get started, check out the step-by-step instructions offered in the MagCloud PDF Guides, and browse through our product specs on the new product pages.

Marketing Tools

In addition to publishing print and digital publications for your students, you can also use MagCloud as a marketing tool for your tutoring business. Our Pamphlet product is perfect for making brochures that include testimonials from past students, the range of services you offer, and your contact information. Similarly, our single-sheet Flyer product is great for creating price lists or highlighting your services in a more compact format. MagCloud’s print on demand capabilities mean you can order copies of your brochure or price list as you need them, in smaller quantities that traditional printing requires. You can even direct mail copies of your brochure to an address list of potential clients using MagCloud’s Ship to Group feature, or offer all of your marketing materials in a digital format through your MagCloud storefront for potential clients to view as a PDF. If at any point you want to add a testimonial or update your pricing, you can do so simply by uploading a new PDF to the MagCloud website.

If you need help getting started with a brochure or price sheet for your tutoring business, or are looking for some inspiration, check out our past blog posts about brochures and flyers for additional tips and templates.

Are you a tutor who has used MagCloud as a resource for your business? Let us know how in the comments below!

MagCloud for the Wedding Photographer

Whether you are a professional wedding photographer with a studio space and a team of five, or you’re flying solo, it’s important to present your business in the most professional and appealing way possible to your clients. MagCloud is an easy and affordable way to publish lookbooks, promotional tools and affordable products that that you can sell as a part of your business’s offerings. With easy publisher settings you can offer any, or all of your publications in both print and digital formats.

A number of photographers have already discovered the value of MagCloud for their business. They are using the service to promote themselves at trade events with a brochure or glossy catalog, provide lookbooks to potential clients, print proof books for existing clients; and even as a sales tool intended to up-sell clients to an entire gallery of prints rather than just one or two.

Let’s explore some of the options available for your wedding photography business:

Portfolio and Catalog:

At just 20¢ a page for Standard size or 16¢ for Digest size, MagCloud offers full-color, full-bleed printing on HP’s beautiful Indigo presses–a true advantage for today’s professional photographers.

For example, if you want to create a full-color soft-bound book to highlight your photography and present your services, you could do so in a 28-page Standard-sized perfect-bound publication for just $6.60 a copy. Yep, you read that right, $6.60 a copy. And you don’t have to buy 100 to get that pricing, you could order them one at a time if you like, or drop-ship them to an address list of potential clients who have seen your work online and are interested in learning more.

**Want to create one of your own? If you use Microsoft Publisher, we’ve already got a great basic 4-page catalog template to get you started. Don’t use Publisher? Feel free to use the design as inspiration for your own services catalog.

Lookbook:

If you’d prefer to woo your customers before revealing all of your pricing, or would just prefer to have something less time-sensitive for showing off your work, we suggest creating a lookbook. Lookbooks are a great way to express your style, showcase your best work, and really tell your potential customers who you are.

Some publishers have started to use our ultra-portable Digest Landscape format to create a marketing piece that shows off their best work in a portable format that doesn’t break the bank.

What’s great about this idea is that the Digest Landscape’s compact 8.25″ x 5.25″ size makes it easy to keep on hand. Should you meet someone who is interested in hiring you, you can easily hand off the book to a potential client and not cringe at what it costs to replace. And with a max page count of 384, you could create a lookbook that includes hundreds of images, worthy of your coffee table. At just 16¢ a page for our Digest Landscape publications (plus $1 for perfect binding), you can create an impressive 60-page lookbook for just $10.60.

Album for family and friends:

Waiting for that big beautiful album can sometimes take weeks, or months, so while your bride is still excited about the wedding and singing your praises, why not surprise her with a mini photobook, or cool glossy magazine of photos from her big day? She’ll be thrilled to show off your work to her friends and family, and with our 3-day print turn around time, you could surprise the happy couple before they get home from their honeymoon.

You could also create a similar album as a product for your newlyweds to give as a thank you gift to extended family, bridesmaids and groomsmen.

Sales tool:

If you sell more than just digital packages, you know how hard it can be to sell prints–especially large prints (like the elusive 20″ x 30″ canvas) or collections of images, intended to be displayed as galleries. Most clients can’t envision what a gallery of their images could look like–”How would they arrange them? Where would it go?” That’s why some photographers have created booklets to help their clients place their orders. Diagrams and examples can help customers to envision a gallery in their home so they can select prints that work well together. If you went so far as to create this publication and save it as a template, you could drop a few of the customer’s images into the gallery diagrams creating a customized booklet to really seal the deal.

Proof Book:

It seems just about everyone has made the switch to online galleries for proofing, but there is something to be said about proofing photos in print, especially when you are planning to buy them in print.

So why not put together a proof book for your client to accompany that online gallery? This way your bride can have something in hand when she talks to her parents or grandparents about that 20”x 30” canvas. You could even go so far as to include your print pricing, packages or gallery inspiration guide into a custom publication to help encourage larger sales.

Showcase for Vendors:

If you’ve been in the business for awhile, you probably have already had a number of referrals come not just from happy brides, but also from vendors. You know that impressing a location rep means your images might get highlighted when they tour brides-to-be around their venue. Event planners love to show off your beautiful photos of their meticulously-planned soirées, so why not give them access to your photos in a way that not only highlights their work, but at the same time shows you off? We’ve seen photographers partner with venues and service professionals to create custom showcase publications for their specific businesses, but imagine how popular you’d be with everyone down to the makeup artist if you created a showcase book for each wedding and shared it them for their own promotional uses? Every time they show off that booklet, their client will see your brand.

Annual Retrospective for past clients:

If you do more than wedding photography, it makes sense to remind your clients of this. Then, as your wedding clients become growing families, they can make you their photographer for life – there to document their pregnancy, baby photos, family portraits and even high-school seniors.

Creating an annual retrospective photography magazine to highlight favorite sessions from the previous year is a great way to remind customers that you do other types of photography. Similar to a portfolio, this sort of publication can really highlight events, press-opportunities and sessions that occurred during the past year. Clients highlighted in the publication would surely love a copy to show off to their friends, and it keeps you top-of-mind for their next photo-worthy occasion.

Client Gifts:

A number of wedding photographers send gifts to their couples at their anniversary, or around the holidays, so why not create a calendar template that you can customize for each couple?

Swap in photos from their big day, add their anniversary to the calendar, and voilà! You’ll have a product that costs you $5.60 + shipping (a 28-page Standard publication) and reminds your bride how fabulous you are every day of the year.

Print or Digital? Why Choose?

There is a constant debate about print vs. digital, arguing why one is better than the other. Here at MagCloud, our motto is “Why choose?” What’s great about all of these ideas is that if you like, any one of them could also be enjoyed and shown off on the iPad or as a digital download to any PC or tablet device. With just a few clicks you can use one PDF for both print and digital purposes, just opt-in for digital distribution when you select your print pricing and finishing options.

More:

Along with all of these great ideas, you can also use MagCloud to print professionally bound Contracts, Employee Handbooks, Style Guides, Posing Guides, Workbooks, and Lighting How-to’s for workshops. Want more inspiration? Browse more wedding photography publications on the MagCloud website.

Have you used MagCloud as a promotional piece or product for your wedding photography business, or have you been inspired to create something from this post? Share your ideas in the comments section below.

Using MagCloud as a Sales Tool for Your Real Estate Business

In addition to using MagCloud to market their real estate business, a number of real estate agents have been using MagCloud as a sales tool. MagCloud’s print on demand capabilities allow real estate agents to order informational flyers for their open houses in smaller quantities, only as they need them, reducing waste and storage costs. Agents have taken advantage of MagCloud’s Ship to Group feature to easily mail copies of their listing catalog to an address list of potential buyers with a single order. The added benefit of MagCloud’s digital distribution means real estate agents can get these flyers and catalogs in front of potential buyers across all formats, whether it’s in print, as a downloadable PDF, or on the iPad. And if the price of a listing should change or photos need to be switched out, it’s as simple as uploading a new PDF file to immediately update both print and digital collateral.

Beyond the traditional flyers and catalogs used as sales tools in the real estate industry, MagCloud’s combination of professional print quality and no minimum order volume offers real estate agents the opportunity to experiment with to market their listings without breaking their budget. For example, if you are trying to sell a condo with a breathtaking view you could give buyers the opportunity to see what the view looks like at different points during the day by creating a time-lapse photo flipbook using the MagCloud Digest Landscape product. By taking photos at regular intervals from the same spot over the course of the day, then placing one photo per page in a MagCloud publication, potential buyers attending an open house will be able to look at individual pages in the printed book to see how the view looks at different times during the day, or can flip through the booklet all at once to watch the view change over time. Highlighting a key feature like this can be a great sales tool, and using MagCloud will allow the piece to be professional and affordable even if you just a need a couple of copies.

Alternatively, let’s say you have a listing for a single-family home in a neighborhood that has a lot to offer in terms of amenities. You could expand on the usual informational flyer and create a more in-depth, full color brochure with MagCloud that shows off not only the property, but shops, parks, restaurants, and schools in the surrounding area. Highlighting the key features outside the home that might appeal to your ideal buyer could be the difference that makes your listing stand out over the alternatives. Presenting this information as a high quality printed piece will have the added benefit of offering a more professional look without the expense of a traditional print run.

If you have multiple target buyers for a single property you could even take it a step further and create different versions of the brochure to highlight the amenities that appeal to your different audiences. For example, one version of the brochure might give more emphasis to the great schools and parks in the area, while the other might highlight the local restaurants, public transportation and nearby fitness centers. With MagCloud, printing 25 copies each of two different brochures will cost the same amount as printing 50 copies of the same brochure, so with no added cost you can align the messaging on your sales materials to a particular buyer’s interests and help them more readily see themselves in the property, which could translate into a sale for you.

To help you get started using MagCloud as a marketing and sales tool for your NSW real estate business, check out these resources that offer real estate-based templates that can be used to create MagCloud-ready PDFs:

MagCloud Real Estate Catalog Template: Catalog template created using the MagCloud specs for use with Microsoft Publisher. You can download the template here.

Microsoft Office Templates: The Microsoft Office website has a number of real estate templates that can be used with Word and Publisher, like this real estate flyer template for Microsoft Publisher. This template will allow you to create an 8.5 x 11″ PDF, perfect for printing with MagCloud’s Flyer product type.

LayoutReady: LayoutReady has templates for Microsoft Word and Publisher, and offer a variety of options for real estate publications. Their 2-page letter-sized newsletter templates can be used with the MagCloud Flyer product type, and their 8.5″ x 11″ flyer templates can as well. Their 17″ x 11″ brochure templates will require some editing to convert them to 4 page 8.5 x 11″ PDFs, but after doing so they can be printed as 4-page MagCloud Standard publications.

StockLayouts: StockLayouts has templates for Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, iWork Pages, Microsoft Word and Microsoft Publisher. Like LayoutReady, their 8.5 x 11″ flyer templates can be used with the MagCloud Flyer product type, while their 17″ x 11″ brochure templates and 11″ x 8.5″ newsletter templates will require some editing to convert them to 4 page 8.5 x11″ and 5.5 x8.5″ PDFs, respectively, but after doing so they can be printed as 4-page MagCloud Standard and Digest publications.

Inkd: Inkd has templates for a wide variety of design software, and has a section of templates specific to the real estate industry. Their 8.5 x 11″ datasheet and flyer templates work great with the MagCloud Flyer product.

Are you a real estate agent that has used MagCloud as a sales tool for your business? Let us know how you’ve been using it in the comments section below.

Product Spotlight: Flyer for Business

One of the new product types we recently announced is the Flyer. The Flyer product is a single sheet of paper printed on both sides in full color with a full bleed, available in quantities of 10 copies or more. You can create a Flyer by uploading a one or two-page 8.5” x 11” PDF to MagCloud. Keep in mind that all Flyers must be two pages long, to encompass both the front and back sides of the printed sheet, so if you do upload a 1 page PDF we will automatically add a second blank page to the end of the PDF for you. Like our Standard product, the cost for a printed Flyer is 20 cents per MagCloud page, or $0.40 for each double-sided piece. As always, orders of 20 copies or more receive a bulk discount of 25%, dropping the price to just $0.30 per Flyer.

We feel like this shorter page limit opens up a number of new options for our publishers, and have listed a few ideas below for how you might be able to use the Flyer product for your business:

< Inserts
Update previously printed collateral to be more timely and customized by adding a single sheet insert. Adding a single sheet insert to a previously printed piece like this can provide more relevant information targeted to a specific recipient, or offer an update to existing collateral. For example, if you’re passing out a catalog, you might include an insert about your upcoming product line or summer sale. Similarly, if you are sending previous donors a copy of your non-profit’s annual prospectus, you might include a more personal thank you letter as an insert.

Conference and Tradeshow Handouts >
Whether they are included in the conference materials or handed out at a tradeshow booth, providing printed handouts to attendees to highlight the features of your product or service will help potential customers remember who you are when they get home.

< Datasheets
The Flyer product is a great option for creating single sheets of technical specs on your product or service. The high quality of the digital printing provides a more professional appearance than desktop printing, while the single letter-sized sheet is a format that can easily be included in a packet with other materials, or left behind at a sales meeting.

Real Estate Sales Sheets >
If you’re an Australian real estate agent, why not use the Flyer product to create sales sheets for your newly listed homes. The full color printing will allow you to include photos along with background information about the listing, that can be offered up as a way to entice potential buyers. Since MagCloud allows for shorter print runs, you can order fewer copies initially and print more on demand as they are needed, saving on storage and paper waste.

< Headshots and Resumes
Get your job interview or audition off on the right foot with a professionally printed resume or double-sided headshot.

Newsletters >
Use the Flyer product type to communicate with your clients or members by creating a single-sheet newsletter. With MagCloud’s digital options, you can offer your audience the same newsletter in both print and digital with a single PDF upload.

< Menus
A single 8.5″ x 11″ sheet is the great size for menus, and MagCloud’s print-on-demand model provides a cost-effective and easy way to order additional copies or make updates to the menu as needed. If you’re a caterer, you can take advantage of MagCloud’s shorter print runs to create Flyer-sized menus tailored to each event you cater, whether it’s an intimate dinner party or a large buffet.

Price Sheets >
Are you a photographer offering senior portrait packages? How about a sporting goods store offering bikes, kayaks, and skis for rent? Or a spa owner with a list of services you need to publicize? Whether you are a makeup artist, landscaper, tutor, or dog walker, let your potential customers know the rates for your services with a professionally printed price sheet that can incorporate full-color images of your prior work and personal branding.

< Flyers for Sales and Events
Use the Flyer product for what it was named after: flyers! Print and pass out single sheet flyers for your next retail sale, store opening, or company event. Whether you are hosting a signing in your book store, a concert in your coffee shop, or a spring sale in your clothing boutique, make sure your potential attendees and customers not only know about it but remember it with a printed flyer.

Looking for more inspiration, or wondering where to get started with your Flyer design? Templates that fit the 8.5″ x 11″ Flyer product type can be found around the internet, and even on your own computer. The Microsoft Office Suite, as well as Apple’s iWorks Pages come preloaded with a number of letter-sized templates that can be used for creating Flyer publications. In addition, sites like Inkd and Stock Layouts offer a range of different letter-sized templates in their Datasheet and Flyer sections that you can download for a price and edit to fit your needs before uploading to the MagCloud site for printing and distribution.

Have you already created something for your business with the new Flyer product? Let us know in the comments below!

Publisher Spotlight: Portfolio Contest Winners Sean McCloskey, Cemal Ekin and Jeremiah Johnson

In this post, we’re excited to highlight the work of the top three winners of the MagCloud Portfolio Contest.

This photo of U2 is Sean's favorite concert photo. It was taken on the final night of their 2001 U.S. tour. (Credit: Sean McCloskey)

Sean McCloskey
Photographer Sean McCloskey, grand prize winner of the MagCloud Portfolio Contest, got his start shooting concerts while in college. His passion for the business led him to publish his first magazine just two months after graduation. He’s now been in the photography business for more than 16 years and as well as a magazine publisher for the past 13 years. Sean’s MagCloud contest entry is a showcase of his first 15 years in the concert photography business.

Thanks to MagCloud, Sean has been able to break out of the local market and get more eyes on his work. He found a way to not only distribute digitally but also easily maintain the high quality print distribution that’s so important to photographers.

He currently has four publications on MagCloud.com: SFL Music, Movie Zone, Streets and his submission for the Portfolio Contest. Check out Sean’s work and join us in congratulating him once again!

Photo of the Hagia Sophia from inside the dome. (Credit: Cemal Ekin)

Cemal Ekin
Cemal Ekin, one of our contest runners-up, is a true MagCloud whiz. He stumbled across the service when looking for a new way to spark innovation in his classroom at Providence College. His students began creating and publishing MagCloud magazines each semester – their publications were a hit and Cemal saw an opportunity to spread the word about his own work.

The portfolio he entered in our contest, along with his other publications, have really made an impact with clients and have helped attract new business opportunities. Whether at an unveiling party for his latest publication or a closed-door meeting with new prospects, it’s the quality of MagCloud’s print and binding that grabs the audiences’ attention. Obtaining shots of the Hagia Sophia from inside the dome is a rarity, and Cemal’s portfolio of this work not only wooed his community into voting for him in our contest but also spread his work to new contacts – notably ARTstor.org (a premiere collection for art and art history research) who accepted his photos of the dome’s detailed mosaics and structure of the dome into their exclusive collection.

Ekin has even written up the process he uses for preparing his photos for printing through MagCloud on his site, KeptLight.com. A big fan of the ease of publishing workflow, he breaks the process down in digestible steps. Have a look!

Don’t forget to view all of Cemal’s MagCloud publications here, including his portfolio submission. Bravo on your win, Cemal!

Entryway and mud-room of the PrairieHouse project. (Credit: Jeremiah Johnson)

Jeremiah Johnson
Designer and amateur photographer Jeremiah Johnson created his MagCloud portfolio to showcase his architectural and graphic design work along with his budding photography skills. Seeking work, he needed a solid portfolio to leave behind at job interviews and cold calls. From the start, Jeremiah knew that MagCloud’s publishing quality and value was tough to beat.

Jeremiah was thrilled to receive job offers from the first three firms he submitted his MagCloud portfolio to and accepted an offer from an architecture firm in Minneapolis. In addition to his design and photography skills, Jeremiah said that “the professional quality of the publication is what caught the eye of potential employers who often receive spiral bound booklets of inkjet printed pages from applicants.”

Congratulations on the win and the new job, Jeremiah! View his portfolio here and catch even more of his great work here.