Creating a Cover

While there are a couple of pre-built covers in this package ready to print (see the diyp_cover files in the Cover Package), we realise that part of creating a custom planner means selecting a cover that's meaningful to you: a picture of your child, a photograph you took during a vacation, a logo for your company, a particularly good sketch you made of your dog, a painting with a quote from your favourite writer, or an inspiring image that reminds you of what you are and what you do.

To this end, we have provided a simple OpenOffice.org (OOo) template to create your own personalised cover. Why OpenOffice.org? We chose this application because it's Open Source (read: free), it's cross-platform (Windows, Mac and Linux), it creates excellent PDF files natively, and it has a rather powerful and intuitive drawing program.

Note: the provided template was designed for OpenOffice.org 2.0.x. If you have an older version of the OpenOffice.org suite, it may not work. The new version is worthwhile obtaining anyway, since its drawing program is much improved since the 1.x versions.

Although exact instructions will vary from application to application, version to version, you should be able to create your own cover using the OpenOffice.org 2 Draw template by following these simple steps:

  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 using 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, it's a free (albeit hefty) download from their website.

  3. In the Cover Package, you'll find either coverkit_ooo2_cl.odg (for 5.5" x 8.5" paper) or coverkit_ooo2_a5.odg (for A5.). Open this file, and you will notice three thumbnails at the left of the screen. Large Picture Cover has a placeholder for a large image, Small Picture Cover has a placeholder for a small image, and Blank Cover has no placeholder. Click on whichever layout you prefer for your image.

  4. There should be some dotted lines spanning your layout vertically and horizontally. This are guidelines to help you position your photograph. If they aren't there, unhide them by selecting from the menu: View -> Guides -> Display Guides. A checkmark should then appear by this item, and the guidelines should appear in the layout.

  5. From the menu, select Insert -> Picture -> From File.... Choose your photograph.

  6. Your photograph may be very large. Hover your cursor over a corner handle, and it will turn into a "corner resize" cursor. Click, 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 it and dragging. The guidelines will also help you position the image. (If you're new to graphic applications, you may wish to get someone to help you with this step.)

  7. If you are using the Large Picture Cover layout, your picture will probably be on top of 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.

  8. 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 the D*I*Y Planner copyright (and hard work), and it makes the designer feel very important. ;-)

  9. From the menu, select File -> Save As.... Give it a name. Congratulations, you're done!

  10. You can either print this file directly, or use OOo's excellent PDF export facility to create a file to share with others. To export the PDF, simply select File -> Export as PDF... and then give it a name to save. (If you've created something you think is worth sharing, please consider submitting the template or the image to our site.).

  11. 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 and adding it to your planner.

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