Labor Day and the unofficial end of summer is right around the corner. Which means it’s time to think about your 2020 calendars!
Okay, maybe you’ve got some other things on your mind right now. School and getting in one last weekend at the beach; the usual. I can understand. But the holidays and 2020 will be here before you know it. This is also the perfect time of the year to plan amazing gifts to give during the holiday season.
I don’t mean buying a new Bluetooth speaker or iPhone. No no, I’m talking about creating something. Specifically, a calendar. Obviously.
Calendars Make Great Gifts
If your family is even a little like mine, I bet you get a calendar (maybe even two) every year during the holidays. We all need calendars, even with smartphones offering the functionality of a calendar at our fingertips; hanging a calendar on the wall is still common. For a lot of us, the physical calendar is more useful and important than the digital one. For others, the two work in tandem with a wall calendar giving you that quick look at your day, week, or month to come while your digital calendar chirps reminders at you.
Well, if that’s you or anyone you’re thinking of giving a gift this year, I suggest going a step beyond buying a calendar and creating a unique one! Because anyone can grab a cute dog or cat calendar from some mass production printer with a bunch of stock photos. But only you can create one with your own pets (or any other cute/memorable/fun picture).
If you are someone who has used Lulu to make calendars in the past, I’m betting you’re familiar with our Studio Wizard. This tool has served Lulu users well for many years, making it easy to create a calendar and even list it on the Lulu Bookstore for sale. But today I will look at a different way to make a calendar with Lulu; the Lulu xPress Calendar designer.
I should note here before we go any deeper into Lulu xPress and Calendars; our new xPress wizard does not link to the Lulu Bookstore currently. Making a calendar on Lulu xPress is a great way to make gifts, but if you plan to sell your calendar on Lulu’s Bookstore, you’ll want to use the Studio Wizard.
Lulu xPress + Calendars
We made a fair amount of noise about Lulu xPress last year. You can read a little more about the new platform and our ecommerce app:
Lulu xPress showcases our new book creation interface and our updated product options and pricing. In the next few months we’ll be talking a lot more about these new products and interface, but for today, let’s focus on one aspect of our new interface: the calendar creator.
Making Calendars Faster and Better
While the Studio Wizard is a good way to organize and create a calendar, there are several issues with this tool. The most pressing being that it uses old technology quickly becoming incompatible with modern web browsers. Our Lulu xPress Calendar designer is a simpler process for anyone who wants to quickly upload images and make a calendar. And for our more dedicated designers, we offer a PDF upload option.
Full stop on that for a moment.
We now offer, for the first time, the option to make a calendar using Lulu without a drag-and-drop designer. Your calendar can be entirely unique. Ever thought of making your monthly grid out of triangles? Go for it! So long as the file is sized correctly and saved as a PDF, you can make a calendar out of it!
But that’s not what we’re focusing on today.
No, I want to help everyone who has a bunch of pictures from the year and a bunch of people to give gifts to this holiday season. Is that you? Well then, a Lulu xPress Calendar is the gift you need!
Your Calendar, Your Way
When you use Lulu xPress to make your calendar, we make the process as simple as possible. Before we dive into actually making the calendar, let’s quickly hit on what you need to prepare beforehand:
- 14 Images, JPEG or PNG, sized at least 1650 x 1275 pixels (ideally around 3300 x 2550 pixels), at 300 pixels per inch (ppi) resolution
That’s it! 2 Images for the front and back cover, and 12 more for the months. Of course, you can do an 18 and 24-month calendar too, if you’ve got more pictures than you know what to do with. Once the images are ready and sized correctly, head over to Lulu xPress, sign in or create an account, and start making that calendar!
You’re going to be amazed at how simple this is:
Prepare to make a calendar in four steps
- Pick a Date Range
12, 18, or 24-month options
- Add Holidays
We provide standard national and international holidays based on your region
- Add Unique Holidays
You can create unique holidays like birthdays and anniversaries
- Upload Your Images
Add the images for your calendar pages and arrange them
Lulu xPress uses an image for the front and back, so you might want to customize those images a bit. This is the only part of the process that might take a little more work, but there’s a simple solution: Canva.
What I did was pick out a couple of images I wanted to use and went to Canva. Using a free account, I made a couple of custom images (at 3300 x 2550 pixels) in Canva, uploaded the images I wanted to use, and made the front and back cover:
Since we built the Lulu xPress Calendar designer for image uploading, finish the image completely before you design the calendar. But with Canva (or any quality image editor) it’s simple to design and customize. I cannot emphasize strongly enough how great Canva is for this kind of simple image editing. All told, I spent less than thirty minutes creating my two cover images with Canva and resizing the other 12 images in Photoshop.
With the covers uploaded, I added my 12 other images for each month. This is super easy; I just selected all 12 files and drag/dropped them into the browser. Once they’re added, you can rearrange the images into the order you like. And, of course, it’s simple to upload a replacement by clicking the little trash can and uploading a new image.
The last step, I picked a template for the date grid. Currently, we offer 4 date grids, but in the future, you can be sure more will be added.
And that’s it! Lulu xPress has a great preview tool so you can see what the calendar will look like. Now you can order a copy or two (or three!). And the calendar is saved in your account, so it’s easy to order more. Or update with a new photo or an extra holiday.
Lulu xPress Video Guide
Our amazing videographer and creative team built this quick video to show even more clearly how simple the Lulu xPress Calendar designer is:
Ready for the New Year
Okay, maybe just ‘ready for the fall’ will do for now. No matter how you want to look at it, diving in and creating next year’s calendar is a great way to prepare for the holidays. And with Lulu xPress offering a simplified calendar designer, it’s never been easier!
As a final note, with our Lulu xPress designer being such a new option, we’re still happily taking feedback and requests from our users. So, if you use Lulu xPress to make your calendar this year and there’s something missing, something that seems a little off, or something you really wish we would add, just tell us!
Paul is the Senior Copywriter at Lulu, writing weekly blog posts and helping guide content for the company’s marketing. When he’s not deeply entrenched in the publishing and print-on-demand world, he likes to hike the scenic North Carolina landscape, read, sample the fanciest micro-brewed beer, and collect fountain pens. Paul is a dog person, but considers himself cat tolerant.