Creating a Cover

Creating a Cover

While there are a couple of pre-built covers in this package ready to print --see the cover_waterlilies.pdf file in the covers/ directory-- I have provided a simple OpenOffice.org (OOo) template to create your own personalised cover. Why OpenOffice.org? I chose this application because it's Open Source (read: free), it's cross-platform (Windows, Mac and Linux), it pumps out excellent PDF files natively, and it has a good drawing engine -- even if version 1.x is still a little clunky for layout.

Note: the provided template will probably work with the new 2.0 version of OpenOffice.org --whenever it's released-- but it hasn't been tested yet. When OOo 2 is out, I will test the template and provide more information on my website.

To create your own cover using the OpenOffice.org Draw template, do the following:

  1. In Photoshop or another graphical application (The GIMP is free to download and use), resize or crop your photograph for the template. I'd recommend dimensions of 1500 pixels high by 1000 pixels wide. You can certainly use larger or smaller images, but try to keep the 2:3 ratio.
  2. If you don't have OpenOffice.org 1.1.4, it's a free --albeit hefty-- download from their website. Mac users may prefer another flavour of the application suite called NeoOffice/J.
  3. Open the file coverkit_ooo1.sxd (for 5.5x8.5 paper) or coverkit_ooo1_a5.sxd (for A5). (See the bottom of this page for direct links to download these files.) Once open, you will notice two tabs at the base of the screen. Cover Large has a placeholder for a large image, and Cover Small has a placeholder for a small image. Choose whichever layout you prefer.
  4. From the menu, Insert -> Graphics... . Choose your photograph.
  5. The photograph may be very large. Click on a handle at the corner, and while keeping the SHIFT key down (which keeps the correct ratio), resize the image to fit the placeholder. You can move the image by
    clicking on in and dragging. There are also guide lines in the template to help you snap the image to the right size. (If you're new to graphic applications, you may wish to get someone to help you with this step.)
  6. If you are using the Cover Large template, your picture will be atop the logo. Select the logo, and then right-click. Choose Arrange -> Bring to Front. The logo should now be overlapping the top of your image.
  7. Although you are of course under no obligation, I would prefer you keep the "attribution" footer at the base of the image. It lets other people know where to find this kit, it reinforces my copyright (and hard work), and it makes me feel very important. ;-)
  8. File -> Save As... . Give it a name. You're done.
  9. You can either print this file directly, or use OOo's excellent PDF export facility to create a file to share with others. (If you've created something you think is worth sharing, consider submitting the template or the image to our site.)
  10. You may wish to print the Profile template on the other side of the cover, fill it out, and laminate the page before punching the holes.

If you're familiar with other graphical applications and would prefer to use those, I have included a few logo files in the logos/ directory for your convenience, including a Windows Meta File that should scale nicely to whatever size you need. As you have probably noticed, the cover is very easy to create from scratch. (Set your paper size to 5.5"x8.5" and the margins to 0.25".)

AttachmentSize
coverkit_ooo1.sxd23.72 KB
coverkit_ooo1_a5.sxd25.07 KB
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