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Designing albums & books


Some of you already have a favourite design software and probably want to use it instead of our software. Therefore, we would like to provide you with guidelines regarding the designs we accept from third party software. However, even if you do use our software, we encourage you to read a few things about margins, bleeds and placing image content on a page or cover.

Here are a few common applications you might use to design books:

InDesign® – please export to PDF files in sRGB colour space, include the colour profile, do not include printer’s marks, and export to single pages (do not tick ‘spreads’ box in the export menu). When creating a new document enter the EXACT dimensions for pages as specified in our guide and tick the “facing pages” option. Set the bleed value to 0.

Lightroom® – the new Lightroom (version 4 and above) has a book design module, which can be used for simple designs and export them to pdf.

FotoFusion® – you can buy it here. This app is really helpful in designing books or albums. the extreme version enables PDF export. The standard version only allows for jpeg export, but these can be later used together with the auto-fill function of our free software, so that you can take advantage of the automated upload and order process.

Photoshop® – you can use Photoshop to design individual pages in jpeg file format (but it is not the optimal solution).

Page/book dimensions in the design file

Total dimensions which are to be used for designing KrukBooks are given in the table below. Please use these in your design software. To avoid calculation errors, please use the specified total dimensions and set the bleed to 0 mm, and move the crop marks 2mm away from the document’s working area.  You can set the inside bleed to 5 mm ( for FlatBook Classic it should be 0 mm).

Bleed (in general)

Every printed book is slightly smaller in its dimensions (width and height of a printed page) than the total dimensions given in the file from which the book is printed. This is because of the bookbinding process, or actually a part of it – trimming – in this particular case. Trimming can occur within the bleed area of a page (between the bleed line and the edge of the document) so you should treat this area as something to be cut off from the design when it is printed. The tricky part is to realize that the physical line along which a page is trimmed may be placed within the bleed area, but not necessarily exactly along the bleed line marked in the design file (cutting large blocks of stacked paper requires certain tolerances in every print house…) What this means for your album design can be grouped into two basic scenarios:

1. you want your image to go all the way to the edge of the printed page in the final product – in this case you need to fill the bleed area of your page with image content, which basically means you have to align the image border with the edge of the document, so that the bleed line is in the area covered by your image

2. you want to leave some space between the border of you image and the edge of the printed page –  in this case you should move your image away from the bleed line to account for the tolerances of the trimming process. KrukBook Album Maker provides useful guides marking an optimal safe area away from the bleed line which can help you position your image within a page. If you use your own software we recommend using at least 15 mm of safety margin between your content and edge of the document (and for a fine art passe partout look we recommend at least 35 mm)

Inside bleed – it is the bleed area on the side of the page which is adjacent to the spine of the book. For books which are sewn at the spine you might want to make the inside bleed a bit bigger, as the part of the page will be inserted “into” the spine
(one notable exception is our FlatBook Classic, which does not require inside bleed area)

KrukBook Album Maker – bleed – with examples

KrukBook Album Maker features helpful guides to assist you with the design of your album. We have marked the bleed line with a dotted line 5 mm away from the edge. You should treat the area between the dotted line and the edge as the area to be cut off in print. You should not place any important objects within or near this area. If you want your image to have a nice frame around it, you should keep a safe margin and move the image away from the dotted line (see example 1). If you want your image to reach the edge of the printed page (called full bleed), you should make sure your the edge of your image is aligned with the edge of the document and that the image cover the bleed area (see example 2):

Examples of correct image composition relative to the bleed line.

Examples of wrong placement of images with respect to the bleed line.

The image touches the bleed line – after the trimming process, there might be a narrow bit of paper left, showing white background. This is a typical design error.


Accepted files (from third party software)

PDF – the design is a one file, even number of pages, no printer’s marks, no crop marks (unless specifically requested for unusual designs). Single pages, not spreads. Remember that the first page of the design file is always the right hand side page of the book.

JPG – (or jpeg) individual pages. (one page per file)


File numbering

If you upload JPG files, please remember to upload all the files, including empty pages. The first page is always the page on your right hand side, after opening the cover. The second page of the design (the second JPG file), is the page which is printed “on the back” of the first one and it is always situated on your left hand side, visible when you turn the first page.

The cover should be described as “cover”, and if it consists of two files, they should be marked as “cover_front” and “cover_back”. All JPG files must be named according to this template: xxx.jpg, where xxx is a three digit number of consecutive pages: 001.jpg, 002.jpg, 003.jpg, and so on. Again – remember that the first page (001.jpg) file is ALWAYS the page on your right.

Files not adhering to these guidelines will not be accepted.

Colour Space

Please use RGB, with sRGB profile.

Please do NOT use CMYK, greyscale or the adobe RGB profile.


We believe that a proper cover is an essential part of a well designed book. A bad cover will spoil the whole viewer experience of your album. Please read our requirements for cover designs to make the most out of your cover.

Please include the spine marks, which must be included within the document area. Cover design files without the required marks will not be accepted.

Cover designs must contain crop marks and additionally spine marks (line height: 3mm). The marks must be visible regardless of the graphic design or image content. If you are preparing them manually, the best way to do it is to place two lines (1 px wide) – one black and one white – right next to each other and use these as a crop mark.

The dimensions of a cover should be calculated in the following way

Photo Cover:

total width: 15 mm bleed + (back) cover width + spine + (front )front cover width + 15 mm bleed
total height: 15 mm bleed + cover height + 15 mm bleed
front and back cover widths are the same – the distinction is there only for clarification.
example for 330x280mm:


Bleed areas in our cover designs are used to wrap the printed image around the edge of the book cover (physically). Therefore, the cover image must cover all bleed areas (must extend 15 mm past all bleed lines). Otherwise, there might be blank areas visible in places where the image is wrapped around the edge of the cover (visible on the inside, when the book is open).
You should also remember not to place important image content within or near the bleed areas. WE recommend a safety margin for important elements (such as writings and important image elements) of at least 20 mm away from the bleed line, that is at least 35 mm away from the edge of the work area of your document.

SPINE width varies depending on the number of pages and type of paper. You will find the appropriate spine width in the client panel:

Dust Jacket:

total width: 100 mm + (10 mm bleed + back cover width) + spine + (front cover width + 10 mm bleed) + 100 mm
total height: 5 mm bleed + cover height + 5 mm bleed
front and back cover widths are the same – the distinction is there only for clarification.
example: 330×280 mm:

ATTENTION: Whatever you place on the flap is up to you. I might be an image, or you could leave this space empty. If you want to put an image on the flap, remember to check where the flap wraps around the book cover (usually within or near the bleed area of the front or back ) so that you do not put any important objects or image content there (i.e. faces might look really odd when placed there). And remember about the 5 mm bleed area for the height dimension.

SPINE width varies depending on the number of pages and type of paper. You will find the appropriate spine width in the client panel:


Title Page

We believe that a title page should be an integral part of your album design, and in fact, we think it is just as important as the cover.

You could use the title page quite simply to repeat the title of your book and/or you could place your company logo there or perhaps other elements reinforcing your brand. You could also use it as a short intro to your book with an interesting composition of photos giving the viewer a rough idea what the book is about.

Some like to add a kind of imprint (also called a masthead in the US) on the second page, along with information about the author of images and info about the design and print house. Such info may be used for marketing as well as purely aesthetic purposes. It might also be valuable for future generations. Just take your favourite book off the bookshelf and take a look at its design. We encourage  everyone to draw inspiration from good and proven sources.