Design Basics: 8 x 8 Soft-bound Storybooks


Whether designing from a template or completely from scratch, there are a few things you need to know about when creating a custom 8 x 8 Soft-bound Storybook. The tips in this article will help you understand the Design Guide in Studio and what to expect in your published project. 



The Design Guide:

When you first open Studio to work on your project, the Design Guide is visible on any page and can be a bit overwhelming. It is important to read and understand the tips and guide areas for each product type. If you have read and understand the tips laid out in the Design Guide, you can hide the tip bubbles by clicking the Design Guide button in the upper right-hand corner of the Studio window.


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On the left is a view of the Design Guide on the Front Cover of a soft-bound storybook and on the right is a view of the Design Guide on an interior, left-hand page. You will notice some differences in what is shown on each type of page.


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The Safe Area is designated by a purple dashed line around the edge of the design space in Studio. It falls about 1/8 inch to the inside of the edges of a project. Projects look better when words, photos and borders aren't sitting right on the edge of the paper. To avoid this, keep text, photos, and borders well to the INSIDE of the safe area. On the left is the Safe Area as shown on the Front Cover, on the right is the Safe Area as shown on an interior page. 



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The Crop Marks indicate where the page will be cut. However, cutting is not 100% precise. That's why we have the Safe Area and the Bleed Area. These provide us with some necessary allowances in the cutting process. On the left is the Crop Area as shown on the Front Cover, on the right is the Crop Area as shown on an interior page. 


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Projects are printed on paper larger than the final cut area. That's why we have marks for the Bleed Area. The Bleed Area on your project is represented by the gray border surrounding the page. Your background paper, background art or anything that you want to come completely to the edge of your cut project needs to extend all the way through the bleed area. Otherwise, you might end up with white edges. _On the left is the Bleed Area as shown on the Front Cover, on the right is the Bleed Area as shown on an interior page. _Notice that the Bleed Area on the cover of a soft-bound storybook is different than that of the Bleed Area on an interior page.





This tip bubble lets you know that, depending on the size of your monitor, you are likely not viewing your soft-bound storybook at its full size while designing in Studio. To make sure that your design elements are not too large or too small, it is good to adjust the zoom tool at the top center of the page to 100% every so often. Just grab the triangle on the slider bar and slide it to zoom in or out until you reach 100%. 



This tip bubble is to point out that you may view your storybook pages as a two page spread by clicking the "Preview" button in the top, left-hand area of your Studio window. 




To add, duplicate, remove, or rearrange pages in your soft-bound storybook, you will click the "Manage Pages" button in the upper, right-hand corner of your Studio window. This will open the Manage Pages tool. For more information, click  here or go to



The Spine and Binding Area: 



While designing a Soft-bound Storybook, you will notice a large area sectioned off on the side of every interior page. This area is the Binding Area of the book. If you have never seen one of our Soft-bound Storybooks in real life, the above photo shows what the binding looks like on the outside of the book while the book is closed.




This photo shows what the binding/gutter area of a Soft-bound Storybook looks like while open. Unlike our hard-bound storybook products, the pages of our 8 x 8 Soft-bound Storybooks are bound to their cover using a high-quality glue-like substance. The binding is cured over a period of days, to ensure maximum durability. 



This is what the Spine Area looks like on the Front Cover of your book while designing in Studio. If you are accustomed to designing one of our hard-bound storybooks, you will notice that there is no Spine Text Area. Our Soft-bound Storybooks do not have a designated Spine Area, so it is not recommended that you try to place text exactly on the spine edge of the book, as you can with a hard-bound storybook. 


The Binding Area, or Gutter, on the inside of your Soft-bound Storybook is the area where two facing pages meet in the center of the book. This is what the Gutter looks like as part of the Design Guide in Studio: 


It is important to know how far you may design into the Binding Area. For more information, click  here or go to



The Copyright Page: 

The very last page of your Soft-bound Storybook is the Copyright page. In the page listing, it is often labeled as "C." The Copyright page can be designed, just like any other page in your Storybook, except for a small white strip at the bottom of the page. This is the copyright area, where the Heritage Makers logo will be printed, along with a small production barcode, the book's project ID, and the Heritage Makers website (or the personal website of your personal publishing consultant or distributor). The copyright page and Heritage Makers logo cannot be removed from your Storybook project. 


This is how the Copyright area appears while designing in Studio. this is to give you an idea of where the white stripe will appear in your finished book. 




This is how the Copyright area will appear in your finished Soft-bound Storybook. The information that is displayed in this area is specific to each book. 

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