Ten Tips to Make an Amazing Blurb Book with Adobe InDesign

Already working in Adobe InDesign and want a seamless workflow for your next Blurb book project? Follow these ten tips for setting up and creating your projects to make it easier and help you remain focused on what you do best… create!

First download the Blurb Plug-in for Adobe InDesign for your version of InDesign and install. Once correctly installed, you will find the plug-in at the bottom of the File Menu, which keeps track of all your Blurb projects. Here are some things to know as you are creating your marvelous books with InDesign.

Do not modify the templates created for your project.
Do not adjust anything with the dimensions of the document once you create an initial template from the plug-in. The print-on-demand workflow is very specific, and any changes to document size will cause either a problem, or unsatisfying results with your book.

Color set-up recommendation.
If you are serious about the color reproduction of your design, I recommend following the Color Setting recommendations we have here.

Do NOT use the Registration Color Swatch in your design.
Adobe should have removed this default color swatch from the Swatch Menu years ago, but it still is there and should never be used with Blurb books. It causes too much ink to be printed and can actually make your submission rejected by our print devices. If you would like to use a Rich Black in your design, please create a new Rich Black Swatch consisting of the following mix:
Cyan – 60%, Magenta – 50%, Yellow – 50%, Black – 100%.

Do not to use Spot Colors in your design.
Spot colors do not always convert to expected results when printed. Convert your Spot Colors to CMYK, then you can be assured of colors reproducing correctly.

Do not use overly complex vector imagery.
One of the things that I have seen cause issues in the past here at Blurb, is using very complicated vector imagery, usually created in CAD applications or complex Adobe Illustrator files. Rasterizing these images in Photoshop will resolve this. If you are unsure whether your images may be too complex, a simple test of exporting the InDesign document containing the images using the Blurb PDF Export preset, and then viewing in Adobe Acrobat/Reader. If you notice a delay as Acrobat/Reader draws these images on your screen, it is a good bet that when trying to render these images at a much higher resolution on a printer, could cause an issue.

Create your Cover Template AFTER your inside Pages design is complete.
Though inside page dimensions will always remain constant, the Cover document will change depending on the Paper Type and Page Count of your book. Different Paper Types have different thicknesses, and obviously a book with more pages will have a different spine width. Once you have decided on Paper Type and you know your final page count, then return to the plug-in, and create your Cover template.

Note the Instruction Layer.
Be aware of the Safety, Trim and Bleed lines on the Instruction layer of your template. Keep all important text or elements within the Safety Area. Be sure to extend any images you want to go to the edge of the Trim all the way out to the Bleed line.

Order a Proof Copy.
If you are intending to order a large quantity of books, we recommend ordering first a single copy to review. Many things can be missed while reviewing online, and a single proof copy to review is insurance that everything will print as you intend.
It may add a little time to your workflow, but the assurance that a large order is going to print correctly is peace of mind.

Upload your project directly through the Blurb InDesign Plug-in.
Though Blurb offers a PDF upload for projects, use the Plug-in to upload your book to Blurb. We have created specific preflight and correction features that are only available when you upload directly within the Plug-in. You will get better results and fewer obstacles/surprises by uploading within the Plug-in.

Learn more about Adobe InDesign and the Blurb Plug-in.

Joe Crocenzi is the Senior Product Manager for the Adobe and PDF products here at Blurb. He has worked with Adobe products for over 20 years. He created the InDesign Plug-in and worked with Adobe as they implemented the Book Module with Adobe Lightroom.


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