Experience with Blurb Magazine as portfolio
After you finish the design, you click to upload and the first thing that happens is your files go through a preflight that produces pdf file of pages, and one for cover. You view the pdf's and make sure it all looks good -- the gutter between pages is clearly marked. If you have problems you go back and fix them. If it's okay you click that it's okay and wait a few hours for the files to upload.
I agree that having to learn InDesign to make a promo mag is a lot of work. Fortunately I have friends who are art directors. However, I can't ask a friend to design 70 spreads for a 140 page mag. So I did all those myself using Labprints software, output to PSD files, then flattened, adjusted, and sized up to 300dpi. Sounds like a lot of work, it is. I record a Photoshop action set on the 70 files for resizing and such. I save as jpg at 10 quality. This way my art director friend can simply drop the 11.25 by 17.25 spreads into place -- I name them in order 1-70 and also prepare the front and rear endsheet spreads. For the cover design I drew that on paper, shot it, and my a.d. friend executed the design -- this was actually the biggest help -- I wrote the copy and my wife proofed and copy-edited it -- then my friend set the type so to speak -- a skilled a.d. can make the type look so much better -- so it's a good step. I only knew I wanted to make my copy brief, and I wanted it to appear in a box with my self-portrait reflection in metal on the right side.
Now the big annoyance with Blurb is their refusal to supply info on how to insert a color or do anything with the spine. I assume it will be white. If you read the info requests between myself and Blurb you'd need a stiff drink. The rep told me to call InDesign for suggestions, even though it's a Blurb plug in. Don't get me started.
The rumor is that by end of year they may be a Blurb Booksmart option to making a magazine. I don't see why not.
I've made Blurb Books and have a good idea if an image is too dark or light. But they use different printers and not much QC. If the printed mag looks good I'll make 25 more to send out. Today I received nice translucent 8.75 x 11.25 envelopes -- hopefully mag will fit properly. Just trying to get this promo out the door. The better and quicker the better.
If you have spreads in your design, then pass on the pdf version for $4.99 as it doesn't display spreads at 2 pages -- instead you only view one at a time, and that's pointless. Also, the mag is perfect bound -- pages are glued to cover's spine -- I expect this will make the gutter area less pleasing -- I tried to take this into account and even imagined myself looking at the spread with the missing info.
Before ordering your Blurb product be sure to Google discount promo codes / coupons. Until 3/31 SPRING2013 code will save you 25%
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