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.

Turn Your Summer Pics into a Photo Book with Apple Aperture

Looking for something to do with all those great photos you’ve taken this summer of trips, pool parties, nature hikes and more?  Why not create a photo book keepsake to share with friends and family so you can relive the great memories for years to come.

Apple Aperture is a great tool for keeping photos organized, polishing them up and even creating MagCloud-ready photo books.  We’ve added new Software-Specific Instruction Packets for Aperture to our Getting Started page for all of our product sizes. These downloadable folders contain MagCloud-specific templates and instructions for Aperture 3.0 and newer.

Below are a few tips to get you started.

Organize Your Photos

The first step is selecting the photos you want to use for your book.  Aperture makes it easy to weed through the large volume of photos you’ve taken this past summer with the Smart Album feature.  Create a new smart album using ratings (i.e. all your fave photos who you gave 3 or more stars too), and/or keywords (i.e. summer, Hawaii trip, beach) to select your favorite photos for inclusion in your book.

Tip for Instagram Users:

While Instagram doesn’t allow you to send directly to Aperture the smart folks over at ApertureExpert.com have outlined a simple way to use Flickr as a go between to bring your Instagram photos directly Aperture.  One thing to note for MagCloud-ready publications is that the photos Instagram sends to Flickr are low resolution and may not print well so we recommend after you’ve created your Instagram album in Aperture to transfer the pictures from your mobile device to your Mac via iCloud or cable sync, and replace one by one the Flickr pictures with your higher resolution images from your Camera Roll.

Oh and if the whole Instagram importing and resolution workarounds seem like too much check out the Aperture Instagram Presets created by photographer Casey Mac and create your own Instagram like photos directly in Aperture.

Create Your Book with a MagCloud Photo Book Theme

Once you’ve organized your photos it’s time to select what size book you want to create.  We’ve created Aperture themes and instructions for each MagCloud product from Digest to Tabloid; simply download the files from our Getting Started page.

Installing the Aperture Book Theme

  1. Open a new Finder window and select “Go to Folder…” from the Go menu
  2. In the text field that appears, type: ~/Library/Application Support/Aperture/Book Themes
  3. Click Go
  4. Drag the “8 x 8 Square or Pamphlet” folder from the unzipped folder into this new Book Themes window

Creating a MagCloud-Ready Book

Now the fun part…creating your book!

Select Your Theme

  1. Open Aperture (if not already opened)
  2. Click the New icon in the upper left corner, then select Book from the drop-down menu
  3. Enter a Book Name for your book
  4. Select “Custom” from the Book Type drop-down menu
  5. Select the MagCloud theme you loaded (i.e. “8 x 8 Square or Pamphlet”)
  6. Click Choose Theme to create your book
Build Your Book

Aperture makes it easy to layout your book simply by organizing your photos in the book editor by date, rating, label, file name etc. and then selecting “Autoflow Unplaced Images”.  Of course your can reorder and move images from one page to the next at any time.

You can also customize your book by changing layout (i.e. 2 Up to 4 Up), adding text, selecting background colors etc.

Tips for Creating An Awesome MagCloud Book
  • Perfect bound publications can be anywhere from 8 to 384 pages long, but the total page count needs to be a multiple of 2.
  • Saddle stitch bound publications can be anywhere from 8 to 100 pages long, but the total page count needs to be a multiple of 4.
  • You can add and delete pages using the + and – buttons under the page display.
  • When adding text, don’t go beyond the theme margins (the edge of the image in the 1-up layout). The margins are set to the edge of the safe zone, and any text placed outside this area is in danger of being trimmed off in the print version.
  • If you have a lot of large photos in your publication, or if it is a lot of pages, it’s possible that your final PDF will be over MagCloud’s 300MB upload limit. If this happens, there are a few things you can do to reduce the file size after you export the PDF from Aperture. See the instructions you downloaded with your Aperture theme for how to reduce image size with Apple Preview or Adobe Acrobat Pro.

Export Your Book as a PDF

Once you’ve got your book looking exactly how you want it, its time to export it as a MagCloud-ready PDF file.

  1. After you have finished designing your book, click Print Book in the upper right-hand corner
  2. Select your “Color Profile” from the drop-down menu. In this case I’ve selected sRGB as my color profile to embed.
  3. Click the “PDF” button and select “Save as PDF…” from the drop-down menu
  4. Enter a name for your PDF and select where you want it to be saved on your computer
  5. Click Save

The PDF of your book is now ready to be uploaded to magcloud.com.

What types of MagCloud publications will you use Aperture to create?  Let us know in the comments section below.

Member Communication Made Easy (Well, Easier…)

Whether you have a non-profit, church group, student association, small business, or sports team, getting your message out to your members, supporters, and investors can be a large task. Staying on schedule and under budget can be tough, and creating a print newsletter that looks good is only a fraction of the challenge. Then you have to worry about mailing lists, postage and distribution… and you have to do this annually? Quarterly? Monthly?! Yikes. My head hurts just thinking about it…

Well, now you can worry less, because you have MagCloud–and we’re working to make it easier for you. With Ship to Group functionality we can take on the heavy-lifting of drop-shipping to your mailing list and you won’t have to deal with pesky paper-cuts or trips to the post office. Digital distribution gives you the option to share a PDF with your users who prefer to stay up-to-date with their iPad or other digital device. And you can get it all done without having to leave your desk or get out of your PJs (no judgement here).

So since it’s the start of a new year, what better way to turn over a new leaf with your organization, than to turn a glossy page? Your publication can look professional and still be affordable if you publish through MagCloud and we’re going to help you get started right now.

To make the process easier, we created a classic newsletter template designed for printing as a 4-page MagCloud publication (which comes to just 60¢/copy if you order 20 or more copies). It’s easy to edit and available in three software formats. Check out the original and a variation of the template on the left, and then get started creating your own in Adobe InDesign (CS3 or newer), Microsoft Word or Apple Pages. *Please note, you may have to “right-click” or “ctrl+click” to start the download.

Starting with a template is a great trick for speeding up the design process (don’t tell anyone I told you, but a lot of professional designers do it themselves) and many well-designed templates have style sheets built in that make it easy to change fonts and styles with just a few clicks of the mouse. So with a few simple typeface changes, tweaks to color, and some new imagery, you can easily transform this basic template into a newsletter that fits your organization’s image. We used Neutra typefaces and swapped in orange for our example, but how you customize it is up to you.

Want to try a different design?
Depending on your software of choice, you can also find great resources built into some applications or as free downloads in their online resources.

Apple Pages has built-in templates that can be great starting points, just be sure to check your margins and settings because these layouts may need a bit of adjusting so that they are properly centered on the page after printing/trimming. For more detailed help with this task check out the “Add guides to pages and adjust layout for trim” section of last year’s blog post.

Microsoft also has free templates available for Word and Publisher online at office.microsoft.com.

If you’re willing to splurge and buy a template, from an online source like stocklayouts.com, be aware that most of these templates are not designed to MagCloud specs and will need to be adjusted to 8.5″ x 11″ pages in order to output a properly-sized, MagCloud-ready PDF. So before you spend the money, be sure you select a file format for software you are comfortable with, and that you are prepared to make the necessary changes to set the file up to match our PDF specifications.

More Resources
Still needing more inspiration? Check out some of our past blog posts for newsletter content and design tips, or great sample publications. And as always you can find all of MagCloud’s design Tips and Tricks and all of our free templates in our Design Resources section of the blog.

Have you found other great templates or resources to use when creating your MagCloud publications? Then please share them below in the comments section.

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.

 

Get With the Program

Planning for an event can sometimes be, well, eventful. There are always changing schedules to deal with, speakers canceling at the last minute, and 11th hour edits to the program. Making it to press in time (sometimes weeks before the event) with all of these adjustments can be nearly impossible. So, why not lighten your load and use MagCloud?

With fast print turn-around times (as fast as 3-business days for some orders) and great digital options, you could have your next event’s program done quickly, printed beautifully and even offer a digital option to attendees who would rather have their program on their mobile device.

Whether you are planning an internal training day for 10, a corporate meeting for 100 or a conference for 1,000+, MagCloud makes it easy to publish a program with just a few clicks of the mouse and have prints delivered straight to the event location. How easy is that?!

Need shipping that fits your budget? Use the MagCloud pricing calculator to figure out what level of shipping option works best for you.

To help you get started, we have 3 basic templates for Adobe InDesign (CS3 and later) Microsoft Word, and Apple iWork Pages. You can also find templates for sale online from many sites, but be cautious that many of them will require some tweaking to output for print through MagCloud. Please see our How to Guides for details on MagCloud-ready settings.

Ready to design on your own? Get inspired by other publishers’ event and sports programs and agendas on MagCloud:

  

 

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.

Give Your Microsoft Publisher Documents the Pro Treatment

Take your Microsoft Publisher documents to a new level with professional quality print and digital distribution.

Create professional looking print and digital publications you can send to clients, colleagues, friends and family with Microsoft Publisher and HP MagCloud.

Order 1 or 1000 copies and we will print and ship them anywhere in the world. You can even make your publication available in digital format for easy viewing on any computer or mobile device.

Simply export your Microsoft Publisher file to PDF, upload it to MagCloud and we’ll take care of printing, distribution and shipping so you can focus on the important stuff…creating great content.

Need a little help creating your publication and getting it ready for professional printing?  We offer step-by-step instructions and templates specifically for Microsoft Publisher users to get you started.

Brochure Template 1
Brochure Template 2
Brochure Template 3
Brochure Template 4
Catalog/Portfolio Template 1
Catalog/Portfolio Template 2
Catalog/Portfolio Template 3

So whether you are creating a business portfolio, company brochure, customer newsletter or product catalog, Microsoft Publisher and HP MagCloud will take your publication from concept to printed publication with just a few clicks of the mouse.

Let us know in the comments section how you are using Microsoft Publisher and MagCloud.