Guidelines for using the My Skoobi notebook design tools.

Basic Design Tips - Watch the Video

Step 1: Uploading Your Images

You can upload up to 10 images into your palette, and use those images to design your notebook covers.  You can change them easily, uploading different ones as you wish. Just select "Go Back To My Palette" at any point in the design process if you want to go back and switch your images.

To delete an image in your palette just click the little "x" in the upper right corner of the image.

File type and resolution: Choose image files that are high resolution (300 dpi for scanned images is recommended).  You can use JPEG, GIF, or PNG files.

When you have your images uploaded to your palette and proceed to Step 2, you'll be able to drag and drop the images into the design template, changing their size and position until you like what you see.

Step 2 - Designing Your Notebook Cover

Getting started: At the top of the design page in Step 2 is a blue tool bar: this is where you select the trim size (6"x9" or 8.5" x 11"), cover layout, and orientation for the book you're designing.  You can change these elements at any time.

If you choose "landscape" orientation for your notebook, that means the book will be turned sideways so the long end is at the bottom and the spine is along the top instead of the left side.  This is a typical sketchbook orientation and should only be used for blank pages, unless you don't mind if the lines inside the book are printed to portrait orientation even though the cover is not.

To add your images to the template, simply drag and drop the images from your palette (on the left side of the screen) into the book-making workspace in the middle of the screen.

Using Insets If you selected a template with "insets", that means you'll be able to feature two images on each of the front and back covers, with one of the images inset smaller into the cover.  For best results, put the art into the insets first, before you put  art or colour into the background.

Designing covers using square artwork: Notebook covers are rectangular and it can be a challenge to retain the integrity of the original artwork when you change it to a rectangle.  There are a couple of easy ways to work with this:

1) Place the original square artwork into the square inset on the back cover of the notebook, and select an appropriate colour for the back cover background. Then when you place the work on the front cover, even though it will be rectangular the original full work will be visible on the back cover.

2) Enlarge the original artwork so that a detail is used for the entire surface of the cover.  Then, inset the uncropped artwork. (This works best for high resolution images - if your image is poor resolution, it won't retain clarity when enlarged).

To set a background colour, just click on the area you want to apply the colour to, and then click on the colour that you want from the colour grid on the lower left side of the screen.  It's easy to try different colours by clicking on them until you have the one that you like the best.

The safety or trim edge is .25": don’t put important details within 1 cm (1/2”) of the edge of the cover all the way around. Details too close to the edge may get cut off in printing.  As a guideline, you can use the little black trim lines that appear at the four corners of the book templates in Step 2.  You can also select "Preview PDF" in Step 3 to look at the actual file as it will be printed.

Book spine: In the templates where there is a different image on the front and back cover, the front cover image extends across the spine of the book.  The back cover image does not extend over the spine.  On the templates, you can see the spine indicators at the top and bottom to use as a guideline.

You can add text to your covers while working in the templates by clicking on the blue circle icon with the white pen.  A window will open: simply enter your text into the window.  Generally, we recommend three short lines of copy (for example, your name, website, the name of your work).  You can change the font, size, and colour of the text to make it readable against the background, and you can center or align the text to the right or left of the text box.  When you're done, click the "x" in the top right corner of the text box.

Spell Check is up to you: the best thing to do is select the "View the PDF" link in Step 3 and look at the print file -- to be extra sure, print it out.

The My Skoobi logo and your unique notebook ID number are in the lower right corner of the back cover.  Make sure you don't put anything important here, as it may not be visible when printed.  You'll be able to preview this in Step 3.

Step 3: Selecting Interiors and Quantity

In this step you can see your cover in the actual printer's PDF by clicking on the preview link below the book image.

Checking the PDF is an important opportunity to proof-read your text and see exactly what your cover will look like!  Check your spelling.

Selecting Interior type: To the right of your notebook preview are the four different book interiors available to you.  You can choose any interiors to go inside your cover: each interior will be printed and bound separately using the cover you have made.

Selecting Quantity: Simply indicate the quantity of notebooks you want using the arrow keys below each interior option. Leave the quantity set at zero for those you are not ordering.  The prices for all the interiors are the same.

Quantity Discounts: My Skoobi has a built-in discount. As soon as there are at least 20 notebooks in your order (any combination of size, interior, and artwork) you will receive $1 off the cost of every book.  If there are 60 or more books in your order, your discount increases to $2 of every book!

We're always here to help.

If you suffer from aspirations and artistic abilities that exceed your design skills, we have a cure. Just email us at and we'll get you started. It's painless, we promise.

Questions? See our FAQ page.