Ycademy Online Seminar October 2015

Do you need a professional book design program?

At Web Design with Passion we love to design and publish books, brochures, calendars and anything our customers need to present themselves, or to enhance their brand recognition – not only on the web but also offline in printed format. Any professional will agree that the best program to do that is ADOBE InDesign.

Web Design by Bianca Gubalke

Of course, Adobe programs are not cheap and you may ask yourself, whether you really need a professional book design program – especially if you already have Adobe Photoshop?

Well, here’s the scoop: As the latest Adobe developments clearly zoom in on the mobile market – think mobile synchronisation – and also target the explosive wave of productions by authors and self-publishers who want to publish across all digital platforms (Amazon, Kindle, Nook, B&N, Apple… etc) without going the time-consuming traditional publishing route, it was time for us to focus again on this fabulous program at this month’s Ycademy Seminar. Back to basics it was . . . for a continued learning curve.

It included a lot of information on . . .:

Publishing with Blurb

We published photo books and wedding albums in book form and as wedding websites quite successfully in the past; not to speak of the joy of creating them! Based on our research at the time – end 2011 to be exact – one of the best possibilities to do this in terms of time-efficiency and value for money was BLURB. Blurb was far ahead of their time in making a plugin available on Adobe InDesign, which connected the designer directly with the Blurb cockpit so to speak. Once the book was ready in In Design, meaning all (clearly defined) errors corrected, it was converted into a (then relatively tricky…) PDF following Blurb guidelines (esp. important the colour conversion), from which Blurb then printed the finished product. A good way to go – a good experience for all of us who went that path.

As we have noticed that Blurb has consistently improved its performance and user-friendliness, and now not only offers us the possibility to turn our ideas into professional print books and brochures or magazines, but also into ebooks for Kindle and iPads – it was time to look at it closer again.

Where should I print my book?

Being an author and book designer myself – even before digital times – I know very well how cost is adding up, and how carefully our print projects have to be planned. I will certainly write about this topic in the near future when my lengthy research into the many possibilities we have today will have allowed me to draw some conclusions, however, depending on where you live, publishing with Blurb is definitely a way to consider, especially if you use high-quality photos and format your book in Adobe InDesign yourself (or pay a designer to do so for you).

However, if you live in a country like South Africa, I have a clear answer for you already now: unfortunately, these days one has to think twice. Within just 2 – 3 years, the situation has drastically changed for us:

  1. The exchange rate of around 1 : 14 makes it almost impossible for us to print overseas, especially when calculating transport cost – which may well add up to more than the printing costs, and this just for a small amount of books. If we plan to sell the book at a reasonable price that is.
  2. Our printers down here are working hard to catch up with market demands, and – especially when bearing my point above in mind – the better option today is to find a good printer here. Now that’s easier said than done, and some ‘insiders’ seem to be reluctant to pass on their tips. But as I’m going through the printing process right now, I may have more information for those of you who are interested, soon. Please write to me if you’re concerned; I’m happy to pass on good advice. It’s the way of the self-publisher – in the spirit of ubuntu.
    But there was still more at the Seminar . . . :


A calendar 2016 as a Christmas gift

As Christmas is already around the corner, it’s the ideal time to learn how to design a beautiful calendar for 2016. Calendars with high quality photos are always very welcome as personal gifts for family and friends, as a corporate gift, or as a free give-away on a theme-related website.

Topics are easily found: photos of a toddler growing up, a trip to the South Pole, sports events, my favourite recipes, my cat, my horse… my pink hamster! Or any given topic – you know what I mean. We all have them, especially as everyone runs around taking pictures all day long on iphones, smart phones and ipads.

So why not create something that ‘lasts’?

If you think about it: everything ‘digital’ is somehow lost, and I don’t mean in the Cloud. No – think back: those of us who have a family album can go back in time. . . even generations later. If we don’t create something ‘lasting’ – meaning in print – all memories will be lost. Forever. Whether that’s appropriate or not is a philosophical question we don’t want to even start discussing here, but the fact is: if you print your most cherished photos and memorable moments, they aren’t lost. You can go back to them like on a timeline. It may just mean something special to you one day. . . a day when even social media won’t exist anymore. Who knows; time moves so fast, new developments explode, and this may happen sooner than we think.

Although you may not have attended the Ycademy Seminar, I hope this inspired your creative muscle and gave you some ideas . . .