Creating a PDF? We’ll Help You Get Started

As we continue to add new product sizes to the MagCloud service, we’ve made it easier to find the requirements for the product you want to create with our Getting Started page. This new page in the Create section on the MagCloud site lets you select the product, trim size, and binding type for the publication you want to create, and then provides you with the appropriate PDF specifications, things to keep in mind when designing your publication, and step-by-step information packets to help you get started.

In the PDF specifications section, we not only provide the correct PDF size, trim size, safe zone, and bleeds for creating a MagCloud-ready PDF but we also make it easier to understand what these concepts are and how they relate to one another. As you hover over each of these values on the right, you’ll notice that the corresponding area gets highlighted in red in the diagram on the left. At the same time, a text description of what the specification is appears next to your cursor, letting you know, for example, that the PDF Size is the page size of the PDF you will upload to MagCloud. Below the PDF specifications, there is a section for Additional Information that is specific to the publication you are hoping to create. This area lists things that are important to keep in mind while designing your PDF, from embedding fonts to allowing space for the 2D barcode that goes on the back page of your publication.

Finally, at the bottom of the Getting Started page are links to download Information Packets for a variety of software programs. Clicking on one of the icons will download a .zip file, which unzips to become a folder specific to that program and the product, trim size and binding you initially selected. Each folder contains a PDF with step-by-step instructions to help you design a MagCloud-ready PDF from scratch, or modify an existing document for use with MagCloud. In addition, many of these folders also include templates or presets that can be used in conjunction with the step-by-step instructions to help jump-start your creation process.

At the moment we offer Instruction Packets for Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Word for Mac and PC, Apple iWork Pages, and Microsoft Publisher. We are planning to add instructions for additional software in the near future though, so keep an eye on the blog for news about those additions. And if there’s a type of software that you would like to see MagCloud-specific instructions for, we’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

Publishers in Their Own Words: Mike Lesnick Photography

My name is Mike Lesnick, I am the owner and photographer of Mike Lesnick Photography. I use MagCloud to make my brochure/portfolio available to all past and future clients. It’s a great way for me to have my information readily available to everyone.

I created my brochure so that anyone could see a sample of my work, pricing and little snippets about myself and the weddings I have photographed. With my brochure I have made an impact on brides and grooms with my neatly presented work, pictures and lay out. My latest brochure was updated to include all pictures from this past wedding season (2011) as well as full-page spreads of previous weddings I have photographed.

MagCloud has provided me with the most cost-effective way to  distribute and manage my brochures; as well as providing the print quality that as a wedding photographer I expect and need to present my work in a manner that I feel is professional. Thanks so much MagCloud, keep up the good work!

Mike Lesnick, Owner/Photographer, Mike Lesnick Photography

Visit Mike’s website to learn more about his work or preview his work on MagCloud.

New Premium Paper and Shipping Options

We are always looking for ways to make our products (and our customers) feel extra special so we recently upgraded the paper we use for our Flyer and 4-Page Pamphlet products to 80# Cover Stock at no additional cost to you. The heavier weight gives these products a more premium look and feel.

And speaking of premium feel, we’ve also upgraded our packaging for all FedEx orders for increased protection during shipping and delivery.

Let us know what you think of our new paper and packaging options in the comments section below.

Publishers In Their Own Words: Merritt Design Photo

I love when January comes and I can take a moment to dream up new strategies for my small business in the coming year.  For 2012, I made a decision to crank things up a notch with a new creative marketing strategy for my wedding photography business, which had previously been promoted solely “word of mouth.”  I had used MagCloud before and knew that it offered an excellent solution to get started with a custom-designed, high impact product that I could print affordably enough to leave after meetings with wedding coordinators, and even send to begin a dialogue and make a lasting impression with potential clients.

For my first Weddings issue, MagCloud’s format, quality and great price-point give me ample space to share insights into my personal approach to wedding photography; what clients can expect from the experience of working together; some information about packages; and finally, plenty of space for rich color photographs to jump off the pages. Because I can design the whole issue myself, it is the perfect product to give a sense of my personality and style — hopefully enough to inspire people to want to learn more!

I am proud to share this gorgeous, stand-out marketing piece with potential clients; in the first few showings alone, the response has been overwhelming! I’m so excited to be working with MagCloud and I already can’t wait to create my next magazines!

Jennifer Koskinen, Owner/Photographer, Merritt Design Photo

Visit Jennifer’s website to learn more about here work or preview her work on MagCloud.

How to Personalize Your MagCloud Page

If you’re using MagCloud to create collateral for your business, portfolios for photography, catalogs for your retail store, a unique magazine, or other content to promote your brand, then shouldn’t your MagCloud page reinforce your brand too?

It’s easy to make your MagCloud profile and publication pages work for you by taking a few minutes to flesh out your publisher profile and create header images that reinforce your brand throughout your pages.

Your Publisher Page

No matter what sort of business you’re into, when customers discover your content on MagCloud, you want them to be able to connect with you directly. Your profile page includes an option to link directly to a website of your choosing, and with some simple html you can also include hyperlinks, images and emphasize text within your profile description.

To get started, you’ll need to log into your account and go to your publisher profile editor.


Link to a website: <a href=”URL”>link</a>

In our Jane Doe example, we used some of MagCloud’s allowed HTML tags to include more links in Jane’s profile. To add a link to your website without having to include the whole website URL, you can simply insert a block of text like below:

Curious about more recent work, or what I’m up to?
Check out my <a href=”http://yourwebaddress.com”>blog</a&gt;.

It will show up in your profile like this:

Bold Text: <b>text</b>

To create bold text, you just need to add <b> before your selection and </b> after. We did this with our Jane example like this:

Hi! I’m Jane, and here on MagCloud you can find all of my portfolios, pricing guides, photography workbooks and collateral for my photography business <b>NotYourAverageJane</b>.

Which then looks like this:

Emphasize/italicize Text: <em>emphasis</em>

To add the title of Jane’s autobiography in italics we used the code for emphasis. Simply put <em> before the text you want italicized and </em> after the text to close the emphasis:

Want to find out more about me, and my life behind the lens? Be sure to check out my 200-page autobiography <em>Don’t Call Me Jane</em> available for purchase here on MagCloud.

Which will appear like this:

Image Link: <img src=”URL”>

You can also insert images or logos into your profile by linking to the image within the text using <img src=”URL”>. This requires that the image is the size you want it to appear in the profile, and that it already has an associated URL. It’s best if this image is pulled from your own website (like your logo) or if you have loaded a special sized image onto your own flickr or other photo host that allows linking directly to the image. If you link to a resource that you don’t control, you might run into broken links if the image is ever moved. For Jane’s example we linked the social media icons that she already had on her blog. This example actually includes two pieces of html, one for the icon image, and then the following text which links to the associated LinkedIn URL:

You can also find me on
<img src=”http://notyouraveragejane/images/LinkedIn_IN_Icon_25px.jpg&#8221; />
<a href=”http://linkedin.com”>LinkedIn</a&gt;

Which will appear like this:

Your Collection Page

For every group of documents you create, you get to have a “collection page” which can have it’s own branded banner and unique URL. This is great if you have a selection of related documents that you want to be able to promote as a group. A great example of this is MagCloud publisher, Golfweek, which has created collections of Souvenir Golf Programs and Golfweek Special Editions. Each collection reinforces the Golfweek brand and furthers their messaging but keeps relevant content together. Check out their banners below:

Customizing with Banners

Want to create your own branded banners? To setup the custom banner for a collection, you must first create the graphic that you plan to use. The banner specs require an image with a maximum size of 790 x 90px, in either JPG, GIF, or PNG formats. You can create this image in any software application of your choosing that can output to one of these formats. You can also upload a smaller image–it’s up to you.

Uploading Your Banner

Once you have your image ready to go, you’ll want to navigate to your collection page. You can get here by visiting your profile page (yourusername.magcloud.com) or by going to one of your publications via magcloud.com/publish. On the right-hand side of the page, you will see an “Add a Custom Banner Image” button.

Once you have clicked the button, you will be prompted to find the image file on your harddrive, and upload it to MagCloud.

The image you upload will be visible on the associated collection page,

and on each of the individual publication pages within that collection.

Have you used custom banners or any of these HTML tricks in your publisher/publication descriptions?
If so, please share them below in the comments section to inspire others.

Our Product Family Keeps Growing

Today we launched two new products into the MagCloud family–Digest Landscape and Flyer.

Digest Landscape is compact and ultra-portable at 8.5″ wide x 5.5″ tall. It’s perfect for portfolios, brochures, catalogs, books and more.  Simply upload an 8.5″ wide x 5.5″ tall PDF and we’ll trim it down by 0.125″ on the top and bottom and 0.25″ on the outside edge to a final size of 8.25″ wide x 5.25″ tall so it’s ready for our professional printing presses.  We’ve also updated our website preview app so users will be able to preview your publication in all it’s landscape glory.

Our double-sided, single sheet Flyer product is ideal for brief messages or content that changes often such as sales promotions, menus, product data sheets, event schedules and more. Simply upload an 8.5″ wide x 11″ tall PDF and we’ll get it ready for printing by trimming it down by 0.125″ on all sides to a final size of 8.25″ wide x 10.75″ tall.  We print Flyer publications as a single sheet with a front and back side, so if you only upload one page don’t worry we’ll automatically add a blank page for the back side.  The Flyer product does require a minimum print order of 10 copies which will be bundled into one shipping order.

We hope you enjoy these new products and would love to hear how you plan to use them in our comments section below.