Gift-giving, solved. Three personalized gift books you can make (and how to make them)
To kick off the holiday season, we’ve chosen three of our favorite personalized book types and pulled together some how-tos and tips that show you exactly how to make them. If you’ve got some photos, some ideas, and some loved ones you want to thrill this year, you can be done with your gift-giving in a weekend. Seriously. All you need is a little inspiration, some content, and Blurb’s free book-making tools.
To make a cookbook, we recommend using BookSmart, our downloadable book-making tool. It’s the simplest way to mix images (of food) and words (about food). Gather your recipes, get a few tips on how to photograph food, and get going. Here’s exactly how you’ll do it:
- Download BookSmart. You’ll be working right on your computer, so you can work on your book even if you’re not online.
- Choose your book size. We’ve found that Standard Portrait and Standard Landscape are perfect for cookbooks, but feel free to explore all our book sizes.
- Choose “Cookbook” as your starting point. This will give you the best layouts for making a gorgeous food book.
- Start laying out your content. You’ll start with 20 pages in our standard recipe layout, but you can add many more. And you’ll find plenty of other layout choices in the “Choose page layout” panel on the upper left.
- Add more pages. This, of course, is an optional step. If 20 pages is all you need, you’re set. But chances are you’ve got more than a few recipes and photos. Make as big a book as you like (up to 440 pages) by clicking “Add Pages” in the top toolbar.
- Spellcheck and preview your book. Always take the time to do a comprehensive spellcheck and use BookSmart’s preview mode to check for errors (nobody wants a gift full of typos). Once you’re satisfied everything’s perfect, just click Order—and you’re done.
Annual family photo book
A photo gift book is an instant classic. And it’s the type of gift that everyone loves getting. Mom wants pictures of her grandkids, your girlfriend (or boyfriend, or spouse, or whatever you’re calling that special one in your life these days) wants pictures of the two of you, and your friends want pictures of themselves. Personalized gifts with photos are universal crowd-pleasers.
You can use any of our book-making tools to make a unique custom photo gift book, but here are two of our favorite ways to do it. The first is for photo pros, the second is for, you know, the rest of us.
You can go high-end and work right within Adobe® Lightroom® if you use that software to manage your photos. Blurb and Adobe have built a “Book” module right into the program’s workflow; you can make a gorgeous photo gift book and do all of your photo editing with one application. Here are our three top tips for making your book in Lightroom.
If you want a quicker and easier way to make a beautiful book, you can do it online with our Designer Collection of simple, elegant photo book layouts.
For a sleek look (with startlingly little effort), just launch the Designer Collection and follow the prompts. We’re not talking tacky photo album like you might find elsewhere; these are stylish photo books that would look at home in a bookstore. Just choose from six beautiful themes, flow your photos in, and end up with a 7 x 7 photo book that looks like you paid a professional designer to make it. Here’s a step by step how-to, complete with screenshots. You’ll be done in no time, with a gift that looks like you spent a lot of time making it.
The thing we love about personalized notebooks is their immediacy. For many creative types, the notebook is an essential outlet for expression. It’s something they carry with them all day, every day—the mechanism for capturing those lightning bolts of inspiration. It’s the repository for their most important thoughts. Here’s our resident Photographer at Large (a creative type if there ever was one), Dan Milnor, on the format.
And they couldn’t be easier to make. Once you’re in BookSmart, all you need to do is drop in your photos and give it a title. You can make either a Pocket or Trade size book and choose from hardcover or soft. The creatives in your life will love the book (and you) for as long as it takes them to fill it up. And that’s when you make the next one.