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 Calendars + Your Business

Click here for info on our 2016 calendar templates!

The New Year is rapidly approaching, so if you’ve been wanting to put together a calendar for client gifts or to promote your business, then stop procrastinating and get to it!

No matter what business you’re in, calendars are a great way to keep your name in front of your client all year long.

We know that assembling a calendar can be time consuming, so to save you time, we’ve created templates for some of your favorite design software, in multiple sizes that fit just about any budget and style. Just pick your software and product size, then get your content and imagery together. With just a few edits to typeface and colors you can create a calendar that is uniquely your own.

<< Want to get inspired? Check out Merritt Photography’s Seasonal Reflections 2013 Calendar. Jennifer Koskinen created a fabulous calendar that celebrates the seasons with artful iphoneography and inspired quotations by distinguished photographers and designers. Koskinen did so using our 8″ x 8″ Small Square product to create an elegant and minimalist calendar that fits her brand and budget.

Product Options:

Small Square (8″ x 8″) calendars

These are ideal for square photos like those from Instagram. With Saddle-Stitch Binding a 28 page calendar will cost $5.60/each + Shipping.

Standard (8.25″ x 10.75″) calendars

Our classic letter-sized publication. With Saddle-Stitch Binding a 28 page calendar will cost $5.60/each + Shipping.

Large Square (12″ x 12″) calendars

One of our larger products, this Wire-O bound style has heavier stock paper and is well suited for showing off beautiful images. At 28 pages a calendar costs $12.08/each + Shipping

InDesign CS5 and Newer

InDesign CS4

Pages

Microsoft Word

Restrictions in Microsoft Word make it difficult to have an editable calendar grid in the Word template, so we’ve created three different templates for our Standard size calendar that offer a variety of grid styles as static images. Choose from a classic “Grid style”, a sleek “Line style” or a clean “Corner Style” and add your images to get the look you want.

Poyomi

Tabloid 14″ x 11″ calendar

Don’t want to use any of the above applications? MagCloud’s Partner Poyomi has an easy-to-use web-based platform that helps you create impressive 14″ x 11″ calendars that are printed by MagCloud. With their service you can easily upload photos from your computer or connect to your accounts on photo-sharing services like Flickr, Smugmug, Picasa and Facebook.

*Please note that using the Poyomi tool and templates to create a calendar or photo book will affect the pricing. For Poyomi pricing, visit poyomi.com/pricing

To get started with the Poyomi calendar tool click here.

Check out some of our favorite calendars currently on MagCloud:

Make Summer Last All Year – Turn Your Photos into a Calendar

In the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about ways to turn your photos into something special with MagCloud. Whether that’s creating a photo book with Photoshop, Lightroom or Aperture, or creating a Summer Memory Magazine, MagCloud makes it easy to enjoy your photos in beautiful print and digital formats. So why not enjoy Summer all year-round by creating a calendar with your photographs?

To help you get started, we’ve created 6 templates for you to use with Adobe InDesign and Apple Pages. Simply add your own photos, special dates and details, upload your PDF to MagCloud and you’re set! You can sell your calendar online in the MagCloud Storefront or use our Direct Mail feature to send a copy to all of your friends with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Let’s get started!

Select the Format/Size of Calendar

Our templates are available in 3 sizes:

  • Small Square (8″ x8″) calendars (ideal for square photos like those from Instagram) with Saddle  Stitch Binding (28 pages – $5.60/each + Shipping)
  • Standard (10.75″ x 8.25″) calendars with Saddle Stitch Binding (28 pages – $5.60/each + Shipping)
  • Large Square (12″ x 12″) calendars with Wire-O Binding (28 pages – $12.08/each + Shipping)

*Remember that prices drop 25% off when you order 20 copies or more. So if you’re looking to order gifts for friends and family, or a great way to promote your business–a MagCloud-published calendar may be the perfect solution.

Select Your Software

InDesign CS5 & Newer

InDesign CS4

Pages

Script (handwriting) Typeface used in templates: Jenna Sue

Calendars for Business

You may also remember that last year we talked about using a MagCloud-printed calendar to promote your business. In exchange for you summer vacation photos, you can easily add images of your products, team members, or local scenery. Add your logo to the back cover along with a bit about your business and contact information and voila–you’ll keep your brand top-of-mind and in front of your customers all-year-round.

Since last year’s calendar template was so popular we also decided to revamp it for 2013. Enjoy!

That sounds too complicated for me.

Don’t want to use either of the above applications? MagCloud Partner Poyomi has an easy-to-use web-based platform that helps you create 14″ x 11″ calendars that are printed by MagCloud. With their service you can easily upload photos from your computer or connect to your accounts on photo-sharing services like Flickr, Smugmug, Picasa and Facebook.

*Please note that using the Poyomi tool and templates to create a calendar or photo book will affect the pricing. For Poyomi pricing, visit poyomi.com/pricing

To get started with the Poyomi calendar tool click here.

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!

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.

The Importance of Layouts and Templates

Whether you’re a design newbie, or a seasoned veteran, sitting down to create a new publication can be a daunting task. There’s nothing more frustrating than staring at a blank page, feeling stuck, and unsure of where to begin. It’s often easier to change things that don’t work for you, than to completely start from scratch, which is why we suggest starting with an existing document. It can be the design of a similar publication, or a simple template that has preloaded margins, column guides and style sheets, that you can quickly adjust for a head start. The advantage of dong this, it that the basics of the page are already in place so you can focus on your content and styling.

Why use a template?

Whether you are creating a 12-page or 120-page publication, if you plan to create a series with the same style, you’ll definitely want to invest the time to develop style sheets, and come up with a few layouts that you can repurpose each time you publish. This will help you keep a visual consistency not only throughout each publication, but also from publication to publication over time.

Some of our publishers have done a great job of this, and you can see how it helps reinforce their brand to have consistent styling throughout each publication.  Check out a few issues of Hacker Monthly or Livestrong, or portfolios by professional photographer David Livingston and you will see what we mean. Each of these publishers have developed a consistent style using templates that is unmistakably and identifiably their own.

Not an expert at design? No problem. Using a professional-looking template can increase your credibility, and make any publisher look like a pro. Find a template that has a style that resonates with you and use it as a springboard to get yourself started. You can see some great examples of this in our blog post Easy Design with Templates in Apple’s [iWork] Pages, where we turned a basic Symphony Program into a business services guide for an event planning company, a sports team yearbook, and a fashion magazine, with just a few changes in font, colors and photography.

Finding Templates
Where to look and what to look for…

Some software comes equipped with built-in templates, and you can also find great free and paid templates online at the companies’ websites, like Microsoft has for Word and Publisher here, or Adobe has for InDesign at Adobe.com

Still can’t find what you need? Other resources exist where you can buy specific designs for your needs and many of these sites make their templates available for a variety of design programs like Inkd and Stocklayouts.com.

When picking your templates, there are a number of things to consider for your publication:

1. Is this template for an 8.5″ x 11″ document? If it’s designed as a 17″ x 11″ spread, do I know how to adjust it to the right size?

2. What sort of page-layouts are included in the template?

3. Does the template have the right ratio of graphics to text for my needs?

4. Are there hidden layouts that I don’t see? * Hint: if you are using iWorks Pages, there probably are!

5. Does the style suit the audience I am trying to reach? If not, is it easily changed with a few font/color tweaks?

6. Don’t feel restricted by the stock photography or color palette used in a template. Keep in mind our example of the Symphony Program being transformed into a fashion magazine or an event planner’s business collateral

7. Ask yourself, “This template isn’t designed for my specific use-case, but does the overall layout and feel fit my purpose? Could I transform it into something that works?”

Ready to customize your template?
A few tips for making any template fit your needs.

– Unless you get a template directly from our blog, you will likely have to alter some of their settings to accommodate MagCloud’s printing requirements. Before you start making any edits to your template, be sure the document settings match those in the MagCloud Help Section.

– When you make changes to fonts and colors, always do this by editing the font or paragraph style sheets. This way, if you don’t like a change that you have made, it will be easy to adjust and will change that style use on all of the pages of the template.

– Always start with the original file and make 2 or 3 versions, each with different fonts or colors. Then save each as it’s own template so that you can compare them and easily decide which one you like best.

Ready, Set, Start Publishing!

Now that you have your template selected, it’s up to you to make it your own. Need a bit of extra help? Check out our other Tips & Tricks blog posts, or visit the help sections of your software’s site. Many of them have great how-to resources and videos to help you on your way.

Adobe InDesign

Microsoft Office

iWorks Pages

Vacationing with MagCloud

Memorial Day is a welcome beacon that summer is around the corner. As you finalize your plans for summer, MagCloud wants to provide you with a way to capture all of those special memories and experiences – whether it’s a staycation near home, a road trip to the national park or a getaway to an exotic locale.

How are you chronicling this precious time? Some of us may remember those family gatherings in front of the carousel slide projector or the bulky albums our parents put together after every trip. Now with MagCloud, you can create a personal memento in magazine format to easily share your memories with family and friends in print and digitally.

Here are a few tips and tools to assist you through the process:

  • If you’re creating a simple photo magazine, below are a few tips and resources to “prep” your images before publishing.
    • To produce a quality publication, make sure all images have a resolution of at least 300 pixels per inch.
    • If you’re looking for photo editing tools but don’t have access to Photoshop, check out GIMP (free software that features most of the capabilities that Photoshop offers) or any of these additional photo editing tools.
    • Short on time or not comfortable with design tools? Give Poyomi and turn the photo sets into a magazine without using a design program.
    • Need inspiration? Browse through some of our travel and vacation magazines.

Have you ever used MagCloud to create a magazine of memories? It’s even a great way to commemorate a school year, a birth, a wedding and more. With MagCloud’s digital publishing and print-on-demand capabilities, it’s never been easier or more budget-friendly to capture the special moments in life.