How to Create a MagCloud-Ready PDF in Lightroom 4

Adobe’s recent update to Lightroom added a Book module. Currently, the module is limited to a set selection of sizes, however it does allow users to export the books they create as a PDF. Until Lightroom allows you to create books in custom sizes, books created with the Small Square and Large Square sizes can be exported as PDFs and used to create 8″ x 8″ Square, 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet, 8″ x 8″ Flyer, and the new 12″ x 12″ Square MagCloud publications. In today’s post we’ll be sharing the settings you can use to do this along with some design tips, and we’re also launching Information Packets for Lightroom 4 that can be downloaded on our Getting Started page for all of our 8″ x 8″ and 12″x 12″ products.

Creating Your Book

To get started, the first thing we suggest is that you create a collection in Lightroom of the photos you will want to include in your book. Once you’ve created your collection, select the “Book” module from the menu in the top right-hand corner of your screen.

For an 8″ x 8″ MagCloud publication, select your Book Settings to match those shown to the right. Specifically:

  • Select “PDF” next to Book
  • Select “Small Square” as the Size
  • Select “Softcover” as the Cover
  • Set the JPEG Quality to 80
  • Select “sRGB” as the Color Profile
  • Set the File Resolution to 360 ppi
  • Check the box next to Sharpening and set to “Standard”
  • Select “Glossy” as the Media Type

For a 12″ x 12″ MagCloud publication, select your settings to match those shown to the right. Specifically:

  • Select “PDF” next to Book
  • Select “Large Square” as the Size
  • Select “Hardcover Image Wrap” as the Cover
  • Set the JPEG Quality to 80
  • Select “sRGB” as the Color Profile
  • Set the File Resolution to 310 ppi
  • Check the box next to Sharpening and set to “Standard”
  • Select “Glossy” as the Media Type

Once your settings are taken care of, the next step is to lay out the pages of your book. When designing for MagCloud, you can disregard the Front and Back Covers in the Lightroom layout. Instead, treat page 1 as the cover of your publication, page 2 as the inside front cover, and so on. Keep in mind that if you are creating an 8″ x 8″ Flyer, your publication will only be 2 pages long: page 1 will be the front of your Flyer and page 2 will be the back of your Flyer. If you are creating an 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet, your publication will only be 4 pages long: page 1 will be the front of your Pamphlet, page 2 will be your left inside page, page 3 will be your right inside page, and page 4 will be the back of your Pamphlet.

One option for adding pages is to choose a Preset under the Auto Layout section, and click the Auto Layout button. This will automatically add pages to your book and layout all the photos from the collection you have selected based on the Preset you specified. This is a great way to get a book laid out very quickly, but all of your page layouts will be the same. If you want to change any of your page layouts after using the Auto Layout function, you can always do so by selecting the page and choosing a different layout from the Page section.

Your other option is to add pages one at a time, specifying unique layouts and picking photos as you go. To do this, pick a layout in the Page section, then click the Add Page button. Once the page has been added, you can drag images from the Filmstrip at the bottom of the window and drop them on the gray image placeholders to add them to the layout. If the layout you selected includes text, you can also click on the text box and start typing. This is convenient if you want a more custom book, but it will take longer than using the Auto Layout option.

When you have finished laying out your content, click the Export Book to PDF button in the bottom right-hand corner of your screen. Select a name for your PDF, and choose where you want it to be saved on your computer. After you click the Save button, you can track the progress of your PDF in the upper left-hand corner of the screen. Lightroom will export two PDFs: one that is a single page and has “Cover” added to the filename and another that is a multi-page PDF. For creating a MagCloud publication, you can disregard the cover PDF, and just upload the multi-page PDF to the MagCloud website.

After your file finishes uploading, you’ll see a message that the PDF is the wrong size. This is because Lightroom exports files that are 6.875″ x 6.875″ and 11.875″ x 12″, while MagCloud uses PDFs that are 8.25″ x 8.25″ and 12.25″ x 12.25″, respectively. By clicking “Proceed with this PDF” MagCloud will automatically resize the PDF to fit our specifications, resulting in a PDF where all the images are the MagCloud-recommended resolution of 300 dpi. From there, you can continue with the rest of the MagCloud Publish process as usual, previewing your publication and setting your binding, pricing and distribution options.

Picking Layouts for MagCloud Publications

When selecting your layouts and choosing images, it’s good to keep in mind how your PDF will be trimmed by MagCloud. The Lightroom layouts all have a pretty good margin around them, so there shouldn’t be an issue with keeping content inside the MagCloud-recommended safe zone. 12″ x 12″ Square publications and 8″ x 8″ Flyers are trimmed equally on all sides by MagCloud, so the only thing you need to consider is that the outside 1/8 inch or so of any full-page images will be trimmed off. On the other hand, 8″ x 8″ Square and 8″ x 8″ Pamphlet publications are trimmed more on the outside than the inside, so layouts with centered content may appear off-center in your final MagCloud publication. In print, perfect bound publications won’t be as noticeable, because the binding will take up some of the extra space on the inside edge, but saddle stitch bound publications and Pamphlets will be more obvious. For these publications, asymmetrical layouts and layouts with full-page images will generally look better.

Cover Design Tricks in Lightroom

Since the first and last numerical pages of your publication will be the covers, rather than the Front and Back Covers specified by Lightroom, you won’t be able to use the specific cover layouts that Lightroom provides. One of the benefits of this is that you can mix and match your front and back covers, as compared with the Lightroom options where the front and back cover layouts are paired together. Many of the cover templates are also available as page templates, but one layout that is used frequently in the cover templates and is not available in the page templates is text on top of a full-page image. Even though there isn’t a specific page template for this layout, you can get the same effect by using the full page text layout, and then adding a background image to the page.

If you are searching for a layout to use on your cover that includes both text and images, don’t limit your searching just to the “Text Pages” layout menu. There are a number of layouts hidden within the photo-centric layout menus that also include text. Many of these will likely be better for creating an interesting cover, since the images are given at least equal, if not more, focus than the text. Another way to expand your options for both your cover and interior pages is to use a different program to design a layout, and then import it as an image into Lightroom and place it on a page using one of the preset layouts. For example, you could design your cover and place it in the 1 photo full-page image layout on page 1. Doing so offers you more creative freedom in designing your layout than Lightroom allows.

Overall, Lightroom is a great option if you want to create a simple, photo-centric 8″ x 8″ or 12″ x 12″ MagCloud publication. Whether you are creating a proof book, portfolio, or even a catalog, the preset layouts and easy interface help simplify the process of creating your PDF. We hope to be able to provide instructions in the future for creating our other product sizes through the Lightroom Book Module, but in the meantime, check back here on the blog over the next few weeks as we highlight other photo tools you can use to create your MagCloud product, no matter what size you want it to be.

For more general information about using Lightroom 4, please see the Adobe website.

Product Spotlight: Tabloid, Large Square, Standard Landscape, and Posters

Introducing a batch of additional products on the MagCloud website. Our 11″ x 14″ and 14″ x 11″ Small Tabloid size, 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid size, 12″ x 12″ Square size and 10.75″ x 8.25″ landscape-oriented Standard size all use our Wire-O Binding type. This binding method consists of a double-loop wire binding and pages that are all printed on our thicker 80# cover stock. Not only does the heavier paper stock offer a more substantial feel to these publications, but the wire binding allows them to lay flat and makes it so the pages of the publication can be rotated 360 degrees around the binding and is more durable.

Our Poster format is available in 12″ x 18″ and 18″ x 12″ sizes, and printed on the same 80# cover stock used for Flyers and Pamphlets. MagCloud Posters can be printed on both sides with the same high quality, full color digital printing used with all MagCloud products, and are made more durable with a UV coating on both sides at no extra cost. The best part is that all of this costs just $2.00 per printed Poster, or $1.50 per piece if you order 20 or more.

For inspiration, here are a few ideas for how these products can be used:

Calendars

The Wire-O Binding on the 12″ x 12″ Square and 11″ x 14″ Tabloid make these products great for calendars. Just rotate your content 90 degrees prior to uploading your PDF so that the binding will be on the top edge of your calendar. If you want to use fewer pages in your publication, the larger page size of the 17″ x 11″ Tabloid allows enough space for all the content for a single month to fit on a single page, making a tall and narrow calendar. A 12 month calendar with one page per month, plus two extra pages for the front and back covers will cost you just $7.04.

Catalogs

The larger format of all of these products offer an even greater opportunity to show off your products and services in a catalog format. Furthermore, both the unique shape of the 12″ x 12″ Square and the oversize dimensions of our 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid will let your catalog stand out from the competition. In all cases, the thicker paper these products are printed on has a more substantial and expensive feel to help you leave a lasting impression on potential customers.

Portfolios

The landscape orientation of the 10.75″ x 8.35″ Standard, 14″ x 11″ Small Tabloid and 17″ x 11″ Large Tabloid offer a great canvas for displaying architectural renderings, fashion designs and large format photography as part of a portfolio. And with the same high quality digital printing you expect from MagCloud, you know you’ll be able to put your best foot forward when displaying your work.

Training Manuals

The ability for the pages of the Tabloid publications to rotate completely around the binding and lay flat makes them great for training manuals. As the trainee moves through their training, the wire binding will allow them to flip to the section they want to view and keep it displayed as the top page in the publication. This eliminates the need to hold open a book with one hand and also alleviates any concerns of losing one’s place.

Proof Books

We’ve discussed a number of ways wedding photographers can use MagCloud for their business, and our larger formats open up even more opportunities. What better way to encourage your clients to order larger format prints then to display their proofs in a large format book? Also, if you offer the option for professionally designed and hardbound photobooks to your clients, these larger formats offer an affordable way to show off how the book might look in print before investing in the expensive final copy.

Cookbooks

Similar to training manuals, the lay flat feature of the Tabloid products is also a benefit for cookbooks. It allows the cook to open the book to the recipe they want to make, so they won’t need to be flipping pages to find their place when they are in the midst of a recipe. The heavier paper stock is also a benefit for the durability of cookbooks, as the thicker pages aren’t as likely to rip if they should get stuck together over the years.

Brand Identity Guidelines

We’ve seen a number of brand identity guides published through MagCloud, detailing the appropriate colors, fonts and imagery that should be used for a particular brand. These guides are generally kept close by as a quick reference for designers, and as such can benefit greatly from the lay flat capabilities of these products. In addition, the larger page sizes of the Tabloid products offers twice as much space on a single page as our Standard products, allowing for more examples and detailed information within a given page of the publication. For example, instead of having fonts spread over multiple pages, they can be consolidated into a single page, making it easier for a designer to see all their options at once rather than having to flip through pages.

Media Kits

Show off the best of your business to the media in a large format they won’t soon forget. The professional feel of the heavier paper, combined with the high quality of MagCloud’s digital printing will make you look like a multimillion dollar company, without requiring a multimillion dollar budget.

Event Posters

Even with options like email newsletters, online ads, and direct mail, sometimes posters are the best way to get the word out about an event to a local audience. Whether you are advertising a concert, fundraising event, theater production or sports league sign ups, you can be sure to make a good impression with MagCloud’s full-color posters, printed in quantities of as few or as many as you need. And since no minimum order is required, you can order copies of your poster as you need them, and come back to order more when you run out.

Large Format Photography Prints

Similarly, the lack of a minimum order makes it possible to order just a single printed Poster if you’d like. This offers a great opportunity for professional and amateur photographers alike to order large prints of their photos for framing.

In-House Advertising Posters

In addition to advertising events out in the community, our Poster format can also be used in-house to highlight products and features in a high quality printed format. You can order a single copy if you only have one location, or if you have multiple locations, use our Ship to Group feature to ship one poster to each of your physical storefronts for a consistent display at an affordable cost.

Art Prints

Combining the Poster format with the MagCloud storefront offers a great opportunity for graphic designers and artists to sell their work. Content producers can add a markup beyond the $2 print cost, and for every print they sell, MagCloud will print and ship a copy to the customer directly and pay back the markup to the publisher at the start of each month.

We’re sure that there are many more ideas for how to use these products beyond what we’ve highlighted here, whether it’s using the Poster product to display the seating chart for your wedding or creating motivational posters for your classroom. If you have an idea that wasn’t mentioned, let us know in the comments below!

Attract an Audience to Your Event with Great Content

Whether you are planning a large conference, an intimate meeting for VIP customers, a quarterly gathering for club members, or an annual fundraising event, content plays a pivotal role in attracting and pleasing attendees.

Compelling speakers are the most important factor in attracting attendees to your event.  Finding speakers who are relevant, experienced and have a unique story to tell will not only drive attendees to your event, but keep them talking about it well after the event is over. You should even consider soliciting potential attendee feedback in the process of selecting keynote speakers, panelists and meeting topics.  A great example of this is the South by Southwest Panel Picker, which allows their community to vote on proposals for various speakers and panel topics, thus engaging their audience in the actual content programming of the event.

Networking is more than a handshake. Besides great speakers the other reason people attend events is to network.  As an event organizer you can help your attendees get the most out of the event by making networking easier before, during and after your event.  Use the existing social networks to get attendees talking prior to an event—event Facebook Pages or Groups, Twitter Hashtags, LinkedIn Groups etc.  Consider hosting Birds-of-a-Feather sessions or lunches where attendees can gather to informally discuss topics of mutual interest.

Attention grabbing materials.  Print and digital materials you use to promote your event—brochures, flyers, newsletters; and inform attendees while at your event—programs, daily papers, agendas etc. are an important factor in audience engagement. Events like music festivals, sporting events and business conferences are complemented well by programs that can serve as both a guide to attendees as well as used for marketing material down the road. An event program is a great way to showcase the talent you’ve organized, share the purpose of your event, promote your sponsors and acknowledge those who deserve thanks.

Here are a few of our MagCloud favorites (from MagCloud publishers as well as others) to provide some inspiration:

    • Conference of Creative Entrepreneurs published the program for their August 2011 event in San Francisco. This program does a great job of posting the packed schedule along with speaker bios and ads for local businesses (It’s clear they put a priority on great design – a top MagCloud tip!)
    • 2010 Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta – it’s not just about a one-week event in October. This program delves into the history of the annual Balloon Fiesta and gives details on each balloon flying at the event – it’s sort of like the “speaker bios” of the balloon festival world.
    • 2010 Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open program has a clear focus on great photography especially the shots of the individual holes (pages 50-66) not to mention beautiful integrations with their sponsors. The ads are woven into the program and don’t feel forced or out of place.
    • SXSW 2012 Event Marketing brochure is chock full of impressive stats, engaging content and gorgeous design.
    • TED Fellows 2011 Booklet gives shout outs and thank yous up front along with a brief description of the program and of course a look at each TED Fellow and the work they are up to.
    • Guide to Davos dives into the topics at hand for the 2011 Davos Conference and gives the reader a feel for the tone and sheer importance of the event. Layout is unique and could work well for an event that requires articles in their program to communicate its story.

And if you are ready to get started on materials for your next event and need a little help check out our collection of free event program and brochure templates:

Have you taken a unique approach to selecting speakers, creating networking opportunities or created killer event materials? If so please feel free to share those ideas in the comments section and tell us what kind of feedback you received from event attendees and partners.

 

Tech Tools For Event Planners

It’s been an exciting couple of weeks in the MagCloud offices. Our friends at SmallBiz Technology gave us a great shout out on their blog! In 7 Tech Tools to Help You Organize Your Next Successful Event, Ramon Ray names HP MagCloud as an “awesome service for printing your event program.” Being featured is great kudos in itself, but we’re mostly thrilled that we are considered a go-to, reliable service for printing your event materials.

 

We’re always looking for ways to make MagCloud better for you, and it’s moments like this that make us feel we’re getting the job done. Thanks, SmallBiz Tech!

Are you putting together an event soon? Will you be using MagCloud’s print and digital services? How about the other superb companies mentioned in Ray’s article?

Let us know what you think in the comments below.

 

Marketing Your Nonprofit on a Nonprofit Budget

As a nonprofit executive, you have a lot on your mind. From creating more awareness about your efforts to preparing for your next big fundraising event, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the pressure to survive in today’s profit-centric business climate.

Here are a few suggestions to help you  stay in-the-know with nonprofit business trends and help you get the most out of your marketing and publishing budget.

One important trend in the nonprofit sector is the use of publications in your marketing plan. Publications can be used to bring attention to a specific cause, disclose the latest research in your field or to market your organization to a new audience. MagCloud provides a way for you to tell your story in your own words and pictures without breaking your budget.

How do we do it? Our self-service publishing platform and pricing structure is designed with you in mind. If you need assistance designing your first brochure or revamping an existing program, be sure to check out some of the tips and resources on our site.

How-To Guide

Layouts and Templates

Design Blog Series

Can’t afford the upfront cost or huge print run commitments? Get ready to breathe a sigh of relief. At MagCloud, you can print on demand. That’s right, you order an issue for print only when you need an issue. That means no more over-ordering and potentially wasting money and paper. You also have the option to link to your MagCloud Storefront to your website, blog, Twitter account, etc., and have users place their orders direct.

We are proud to offer the highest quality print options at an affordable price. Prints are 4-color with full bleed and you can choose between saddle stitch and perfect binding. We take pride in the quality of our print work. After all, we are part of the HP family. And who knows print better than HP?

Now, we wouldn’t be giving you the full picture of what MagCloud can offer your nonprofit business without mentioning our digital publishing option. If print doesn’t fit into your business plan or your audience simply prefers an online option, we have an excellent digital publishing service. Just like print, you set your price and can optimize your publications for mobile devices.

We hope you’ll explore what we have to offer. If you have any questions about how to get started, feel free to contact us or leave your question in the comments section below.

Get Publication Inspiration Through Networking

Looking for inspiration for your next issue, advice on how to create a branded publication or tips for creating a killer portfolio?  Consider increasing your networking time to socialize and exchange ideas with those in your industry or with common interests. Networking can be easily done in-person or virtually through association meetings, conferences, forums, NING sites, community websites, etc.

One example of combining the virtual and live worlds is Meetup.com – a site that launched after 9/11 and boomed. It now hosts 79,000 local groups in 45,000 cities worldwide! A whopping 250,000 “Meetups” occur each month on topics ranging from design to publishing to small business owners to marketing and just about any subject matter or topic you may be interested in.

We believe that there is great value to be gained from spending time with people in your profession or who share your love and interest in creating world-class publications. Meeting to exchange ideas, resources and best practices can lead to expanding your skill set and even to new business opportunities. Say you’re looking to find people to start a new cycling publication, check out these meetups with other cycling enthusiasts. Looking to get inspired by or for tips from other designers check out Behance Network’s Tip Exchange.

Below are some other opportunities to meet-and-greet, exchange ideas and network with your peers.

Marketing

American Marketing Association – Local Chapters
American Society of Association Executives – Communities Section
Business Marketing Association – Local Chapters

Creative Professionals

AIGA – The Professional Association for Design – Local Chapters
Adobe InDesign User Group – Local Chapters
Professional Photographers of America – Calendar of Events
Behance Network – A Creative Professional Platform

Magazine Publishers

Editor & Publisher  – Upcoming events around the world
Folio – Magazine publishers grouped by interest, location, field, etc.
Magazine Dojo –  Social networking site for magazine publishers

This is by no means a comprehensive list. Share more of your favorite networking opportunities with us in the comments section below.

Summer Festivals Galore!

Summer is a great time for vacations and relaxation. It’s also the season for many music festivals and film festivals. For the behind-the-scene teams that organize these events, it’s hard work right up until that last note is played and the final credits are rolling.

At MagCloud, we’re here to help make sure your event goes off without a hitch. We can make you confident that your printed programs, brochures and handouts are of the highest quality without breaking the bank.

Get started and create a PDF file of your publication, easily upload it to http://www.magcloud.com, preview your work, then select your print options. It’s that easy! It costs $0.20 per page and note that all orders for 20 or more print copies receive a 25% discount off the productions costs. Plus you can make the same PDF available in digital format for festival goers who want to enjoy the program on their mobile device or computer.

One of the perks of using MagCloud is that the connection you create with your audience doesn’t have to end at the event. We encourage you to publish a post-event roundup and share it out with festival goers via mail, email or your favorite social network. It’s taking that extra step that will bring people back next year, and it’ll be a fun, unique way to remember the festival long after the summer fades.

Need more details on what the process actually entails? We’ve got you covered. Remember, if you ever run into trouble or just need to learn more, you can always visit our Ask MagCloud page or find us on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).

Wishing everyone a happy, fun-filled and rockin’ summer!