Using Blurb BookSmart® and Creating Your Cover in Adobe® Photoshop®

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Blurb BookSmart is our easy-to-use, free-to-download book making software. And while it offers great templates, some people prefer to have a bit more creative control without necessarily going all the way to using our PDF to Book workflow and our plug-in for Adobe® InDesign®. According to Mark Jenkins, Blurb’s creative director, there’s a lot you can do just making your layouts with Adobe Photoshop and dropping them in to BookSmart. Read on for his step-by-step description of how he used both BookSmart and Photoshop to make Botanica, one of his Blurb photo books:

image1 Using Blurb BookSmart® and Creating Your Cover in Adobe® Photoshop®

I wanted to keep the cover design of my book very simple with a full bleed image and ghosted back type. I decided to use Adobe Photoshop to get the look I wanted and opened my image within it. Next, I chose the font Minion Pro to convey a classic quality.

image2 Using Blurb BookSmart® and Creating Your Cover in Adobe® Photoshop®

My photographs are monochromatic, but they have a warm color tone. To enhance this, once in Photoshop I chose a deep gold color (#b7782d) for the book title. In the pull-down menu of the layers palette, I set the type layer to multiply and screened it back to 60 percent using the palette slider. I wanted my name to be secondary and more subtle than the title, so I used a light gray screened back to 40 percent.

image31 Using Blurb BookSmart® and Creating Your Cover in Adobe® Photoshop®

Once the cover was designed, I saved it as a jpeg in the sRGB color space and then brought the art into BookSmart. Because the book title is a part of the art, there’s no need to add that information in the cover text boxes provided by the BookSmart template. However, you should keep in mind that you still need to add the title and author name to the book spine directly in BookSmart.

image4 Using Blurb BookSmart® and Creating Your Cover in Adobe® Photoshop®

For the inside pages of the book, I wanted to use a custom page numbering system, so once again, I turned to Photoshop. I laid out all of my images in one large Photoshop file with each page spread on a separate layer. Because I was making a large square book, the size of my file was 12.25” x 24.25” at 300 DPI. The extra .25” allows for bleed off all the page edges.

image5 Using Blurb BookSmart® and Creating Your Cover in Adobe® Photoshop®

To frame the page numbers, I created small rectangles on the edges of the spreads. Once I was happy and ready to commit to the image sequencing, I simply saved each page spread as a separate jpeg. Once the images were exported, I imported the images into BookSmart and added them as two-page spreads. Because I prepared the book pages ahead in Photoshop, I had complete creative control over the book’s design.

image6 Using Blurb BookSmart® and Creating Your Cover in Adobe® Photoshop®

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6 Comments

  1. Been doing this for years – glad to see I am not the only one. Thanks

      July 20, 2011 – 7:58 am   Permalink
  2. GREAT tip!

    I use Photoshop all the time, but I was wondering (for people who don’t have PS) if this could be done with Adobe’s “Photoshop Elements”. Or does “Elements” not have layers?

    Thanks,
    Dave

      July 20, 2011 – 8:19 am   Permalink
  3. Great post, thank you, I’ll be using this for my next book.

      July 20, 2011 – 12:48 pm   Permalink
  4. Hi Dave,
    I’m not an “Elements” expert but a quick web search showed that it does have layers. Contact our Customer Support team if you have further questions and I’m sure they’ll do their best to help you out.
    best,
    Eileen H.

      July 20, 2011 – 2:03 pm   Permalink
  5. So appreciate you sharing this onlilne. Love photoshop and Blurb is the best. Will also use this tip in my next book.

    By Barb Lynette
      July 20, 2011 – 3:38 pm   Permalink
  6. I use PS Elements and am going to try this out ~ can’t see any reason for the techniques not to work :) thanks so much for sharing. I’d resisted booksmart so far as I have so many layouts already created in PSE and didn’t want to spend time duplicating my work.

    By hannah k
      July 21, 2011 – 1:01 am   Permalink

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