Happy National Barbecue Month

BBQCookbook_coverMay is known as National Barbecue Month.  The perfect gateway between Spring and Summer with warmer temperatures, days getting a little longer and friends and family ready to hit the outdoors.

As you get ready to fire up the grill, why not consider putting together a cookbook of your favorite all time BBQ recipes. Or collaborate with family members for the perfect gift or family get-together memento.

To help you get started, we modified one of our Microsoft Word Templates as an inspiration for designing your own barbecue cookbook. You can further customize the colors, fonts and more by following our Word template tips. When using this template also make sure you select “US Letter Borderless” as the paper type in your page set-up so your cookbook will be ready to print via MagCloud.  For more info on how to create a MagCloud-ready PDF, see our Getting Started information and be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page to download specific software instructions for Microsoft Word.

Not a Microsoft Word user?  No problem, we also have cookbook templates for Adobe InDesign and Apple Pages as well.

Love to barbecue but need recipe ideas, then browse selections from other grill savvy MagCloud publishers.

          

And while you are flipping burgers and hanging out with friends, why not enjoy some of the MagCloud team’s favorite groovy grilling tunes in our Spotify playlist below.

Share your favorite grill tips, recipes and summer playlist must haves in the comments section below.

Enjoy the beginning of summer and happy grilling!

March Madness Bracket Poster

bracket_imageMarch Madness is in full swing with tip-off just hours away for this year’s NCAA Basketball Tournament.

So whether you are a tourney stats master, like to pick based on your favorite mascots or simply want to show support for your alma mater, show-off your picks with a cool Bracket Poster.

To get started you can either order a print copy of our blank 18″ x 12″ Bracket Poster and  fill it out with your lucky picks when it arrives.  Or if you already feel confident in your picks download a Microsoft Word template and create your custom poster bracket. Once you’ve finished filling in your picks in the tempate, be sure to follow our software-specific instructions to export your MagCloud-ready PDF:

Click here to download instructions for Microsoft Word for Mac  |   Click here to download instructions for Microsoft Word for PC

Once you’ve exported your PDF, upload your completed bracket to MagCloud and order a copy of your custom poster, picks and all.

MagCloud Posters are just $2.00 for a full color front and back professionally printed poster that will look great in your office cube, dorm room or on the fridge, so you can track your team’s road to the Final Four.

Share who you are pulling for in this year’s tournament or other ideas you have for MagCloud posters in the comment’s section below.

Show the Love with a Personalized MagCloud Gift

ValentineTemplate-featured

It’s February, which means it’s officially time to start thinking about gifts for your friends and loved-ones for Valentine’s Day. But rather than buying an impersonal card at the store, why not make the holiday more meaningful with a DIY Recipe Book, Instagram-style poster or custom card? We’ve designed templates to help you get started and we can’t wait to see what you’re inspired to create!

View MagCloud Recipe Booklet on MagCloud.comRecipe Booklet

Around the holidays, we’re a big fan of the K.I.S.S method (Keep it simple, Silly!), so with that in mind we’ve created a template that makes for a great little gift, but doesn’t take a whole lot of time to create.

You can choose how little or how much to customize of this 12-page Digest Landscape recipe booklet. Make it personal by including photos, love notes and your favorite recipes, or you can use ours (don’t worry we won’t tell).

We’re offering the same template in some of your favorite software applications, so click on the links below to download the template of your choosing and get started!

Adobe InDesign CS4 or newer

***InDesign users: There are multiple layers in your file for you to get instructions and customize the design. Please note the “Example” layer is currently set to not print, so if you want to use our recipes and just edit the design directly, select the “Example” layer in the Layers palette and right-click to edit the “layer options” (just check the box that says “Print Layer”)

Apple iWork Pages

View MagCloud Valentine Poster Template on MagCloud.com

Personalized Instagram Poster or Card

If the recipe booklet seems like too much, or you’d rather make a big impression without too much work, then the Instagram Poster or greeting card templates will be perfect for you. Swap in some personal photos of you and your loved one, or artistic shots they might enjoy and add a personalized message and you’re good to go!

Just be sure to use images that are high-enough resolution:

  • Poster – the squares require images that are at least 900 x 900 pixels  and the rectangular images need to be a minimum of 1900 x 900 pixels.
  • Card – the square images need to be a minimum of 600×600 pixels and the rectangular images need to be a minimum of 1200×600 pixels.

Get the poster Template:

Adobe InDesign CS4 or newer

Apple iWork Pages

View MagCloud Valentine Card Template on MagCloud.comGet the card template:

Adobe InDesign CS4 or newer

Apple iWork Pages

Word

Play with Typography for a More Personal Feel

All of the templates include standard system fonts, but to emulate that custom handmade look in our examples we recommend you swap out the typefaces for something more creative:

ValentineTemplate-blackjack
ValentineTemplate-jennasue

MagCloud Project: Framed Poster

Last month, we introduced a handful of new product types, including a new Poster format. Posters are available in 18″ x 12″ landscape and 12″ x 18″ portrait sizes, and use the same high quality print output as all of MagCloud’s products, for only $2 per printed Poster. In addition to being a great way to advertise an event or new product for your business, these new Posters are also a great opportunity to get large format prints of your photos at an affordable price. With that in mind, today I am going to show you how easy it is to make framed art for your home using MagCloud’s new Poster format, and a photo taken with the popular photo app Instagram.

http://vimeo.com/48024577

The first step is to create a PDF file that you can upload to the MagCloud website. You’ll want to export your square Instagram photo from your phone’s Camera Roll/Gallery and put it on your computer for editing. Using the photo that Instagram saves to your iPhone or Android device will be of higher quality than using the photo that gets posted to your Instagram account. Once you have your photo on your computer, you have a few options for creating your PDF. I’ve listed some steps specific to this project below, but check out the Getting Started page on the MagCloud website for more general instructions in other software programs.

Create Your PDF in Adobe Photoshop:

  1. Open your original image
  2. Go to Image > Image Size and set size to 3675 pixels by 3675 pixels at 300 pixels/inch resolution. Select “Bicubic Smoother (best for enlargement)” from the Resample Image drop down menu and click OK.
  3. Go to Image > Canvas size and set width to 18.25 inches, leaving height at 12.25 inches, and click OK.
  4. Go to File > Save As and select “Photoshop PDF” from the Format drop down menu. Make sure the box to embed color profile is checked and click Save. In the PDF Export window, select “Press Quality” from the Adobe PDF Preset dropdown menu, and uncheck the box for “Preserve Photoshop Editing Capabilities.”
  5. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual*

Create Your PDF in Adobe Lightroom:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to the Print module and select “Single Image/Contact Sheet” as the Layout Style.
  3. Click the Page Setup button and choose “Manage Custom Sizes” from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Create a new custom page that is 18.25 inches wide and 12.25 inches tall, with a User-Defined Non-Printable Area that equals 0.00 inches on all sides. Click OK twice to return to Lightroom.
  4. Make sure all the boxes under Image Settings are unchecked. Under Layout, set all of your Margins to 0.00 inches and set the cell size: Height = 12.25 inches | Width = 18.25 inches. Under Print Job, select “Printer” next to Print to and make sure the Print resolution is 300 ppi.
  5. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  6. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

Create Your PDF in Apple Aperture:

  1. Import your original image
  2. Go to File > Print Image and select Custom from the Paper Size dropdown menu. Enter 18.25 inches x 12.25 inches as the Paper Size, with a Landscape Orientation, and select Maximum to Fit from the Image Size dropdown menu. Make sure the box next to Crop Image to Fill is NOT checked so the whole image appears on the page.
  3. Click Print, then select “Save as PDF” from the PDF dropdown menu. Pick a name for your PDF and click Save.
  4. Upload your PDF to MagCloud as usual.*

*After uploading, you will be told that your PDF is not long enough. Select “Proceed with this PDF” to have an extra page added automatically.

After you’ve uploaded your PDF to MagCloud, simply order a print copy and select your desired shipping method. When your print arrives, trim off the 3” white edges on either side so that you have a 12” x 12” copy of your photo, which can then be placed into the frame of your choice. The square VIRSERUM frame from IKEA is a great option – it’s available in both white and dark brown to match a variety of décor, and includes a mat with an 11 ½ inch square opening for only $19.99. Using the VIRSERUM frame, you can get your photos off your phone and turn them into a framed piece of custom art to display in your home for less than $25.

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!

Ways to Use MagCloud in Planning a Wedding

We recently highlighted ways wedding photographers can use MagCloud to promote and showcase their work. Today we are focusing on how MagCloud can be used for planning the wedding itself, as a resource for both professional event coordinators and those taking a DIY approach. From lookbooks and portfolios to show prospective clients, to destination information booklets and save-the-date materials for guests, all the way through to printed programs for the big day, MagCloud’s print on demand and digital services can be a great resource no matter what size of an event you’re planning.

Portfolios

We’ve discussed before how MagCloud is a great resource for publishing portfolios since it allows both an affordable print version and convenient digital version with a single PDF upload. As a professional event planner, showing potential clients your previous work will not only help you land the job but may also act as a source of inspiration. Since MagCloud offers prints for as little as $0.16 per page with no minimum order quantity, you can print off as few or as many full color, professional-quality portfolios as you need to share with these potential clients, at a price that won’t break the bank if you need to replace a copy. You can also make the same portfolio available in the MagCloud storefront for viewing as a PDF as a way to share your work digitally, with built-in promotion tools for your social media channels and website.

Vendor Lookbooks

Just as a portfolio can help inspire your clients for their event, having vendor lookbooks to show previous work specific to a particular photographer, venue, hair or makeup artist can also help simplify these decisions for your clients. With MagCloud you can have print copies for clients to browse through as you meet with them or as a PDF on other digital devices. You can also make these publications available through the MagCloud website, to link to from your website and promote through your social media channels as a means of marketing your business. Since these books promote not only your services but those of the venues and photographers being highlighted, this also offers an opportunity for cross-promotion, as noted in our post for wedding photographers. While you use these lookbooks to promote the work you’ve done with a particular vendor, you could also offer these pieces to the vendor as a means of promoting both their work and yours to potential clients. Using the MagCloud storefront, these vendors can order copies for themselves as they need them without having to go through you to get them.

Save-the-Dates

Pinterest is brimming with creative ideas for non-traditional save-the-dates that offer more information about the bride and groom, and better fit their personalities. MagCloud’s Digest Landscape product is a great format for creating compact save-the-date photobooks, with photos of the couple, the story of how they met and got engaged, and when and where the wedding will be held. If the couple has done an engagement photo shoot, this is a great way to show off the resulting photos in a high quality printed piece that guests will enjoy flipping through and reading. With MagCloud’s Ship to Group feature, you can even drop-ship copies of a publication to a list of addresses, so both the printing and distribution of the save-the-dates can be taken care of at once.

Guest Information Booklets

It’s likely that many of the guests at the wedding you are planning will be from out-of-town, and in most cases, they will be in town for a day or two leading up to or following the wedding. Therefore, it’s a nice idea to provide them with some information about the area, including options for lodging, places to eat, and things to do. This is particularly helpful for destination weddings, where everyone will likely be from outside the area and you may opt to arrange for additional activities for these guests to do. MagCloud is a great option for printing up reference booklets of guest information like this, to either send to guests ahead of time using the Ship to Group feature, or to make available via a link from the wedding website so guests can download a digital version for viewing on their iPad or other digital device. If this information is known in advance, this booklet could even act as the save-the-date and offer guests plenty of advance notice for planning their trip and booking lodging.

Programs

Whether it’s to provide information about the bridal party, list readings or songs to be performed, or simply to remind guests about directions to the reception location, most wedding ceremonies include a paper program that gets passed out to guests at the door. These programs provide helpful information for guests, and also offer a keepsake of the event. MagCloud’s smaller Digest product is a perfect format for programs of all lengths, particularly at the 4-page Pamphlet size. Our 4-page products are now printed on a heavier paper stock, so they offer a more formal feel that makes them a great fit for wedding programs. With no minimum order quantity, you can order programs in a quantity that fits the size of your event, whether it’s an intimate gathering with just a few guests or a larger affair numbering in the hundreds.

If you’re looking to create a wedding program for yourself, check out this basic template for Microsoft Publisher to help you get started.

Have you used MagCloud to publish content for a wedding or other event? Tell us how in the comments below.