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Q&A: How to Design the Cover of Your Photobook America Imagewrap Photo Book



(This post is republished from my Facebook Fan page.  If you’re not already a fan, please “like” Photobookgirl’s Facebook page!)

Facebook fan, Benny had a question about how to lay out the cover of his Photobook America Imagewrap photo book.  I’ve also had this question a couple times emailed to me, so I figured I’d post a note about it on here and perhaps do a blog post later.  The imagewrap type of cover is the one where you can put your own photos and title your spine of the book (versus a leather or linen cover).  Using your own images on the cover is my personal favorite out of all the cover choices, so if you’ve been following my blog you’ll see that I tend to choose this option more frequently than others.

(B/t/w although this is discussing Photobook America specifically, these guidelines can be similarly applied to other photo book companies as well, though there may be some variations as to what each company will allow you to do.)

So, you know what the question was, I’ve copied and pasted our conversation from my Facebook Wall.


  • Benny B: Hello Photo Book Girl, well I am half way there on the first book. Really picking up the pace now by understanding the software a little better. Which brings me to this question. Regarding the cover, none of our photos do not get the warning for low picture quality. I saw the explanation that some had gotten the warning but it turned out fine. I am using the 11 x 11 square and i was thinking of one photo on the front and a different one on the back. Then I wanted the title to be on the spline. Is that possible? If so do you have a link to do this? I am using Photobook America. Thanks. Like · · Yesterday at 11:31am
  • Photo Book Girl Hi Benny, I have been able to do this without an issue. The cover and back should be the first page of your book and you’d design it no different from any of the interior pages. Just drag and drop into the containers.?11 hours ago · Like
  • Benny B. I see that. What will the outside of the spline look like? Will it have one of the photos from the front or back? What if I do not want either photo there but just a solid color. I would want the solid color to be there if it was possible to put the title of the photo book on the outside spline. In this case it would be “Norwegian Gem October 2009”.2 hours ago · Like
  • Photo Book Girl I’ll post a screenshot of the my Hawaii book cover for you. I’ll post it in the “Notes” section of my Facebook page.9 seconds ago · Like

Each section of the cover can be treated separately, or you can treat it as all one entire layout.  Below Above is a screenshot of the Photobook America software.  (Sorry if it’s hard to see, but this is the biggest I can get it on Facebook.) For this book, I chose a single image to cover all three areas (back, spine, front).  So in the software, you are viewing it as if the cover of the book were removed from and laid flat.  You can also see that I added a text box to title the spine.

1) The easiest way is to do the cover the way I have done it here with one single image taking up all three sides. Why? because if you use three separate images, it can be very difficult for the company to line up all three images properly.  Remember that your eventual book size (the width of the spine especially) is affected by how many interior pages are in the book.  If you think about it, a 20 page book takes up less space on your bookshelf than a 100 page book.  So, the amount of space you have on the actual physical spine can vary and I don’t think it’s easy for this to be emulated in the software.  So you need to build in your own cushion to be safe.

2) Don’t make your title on the spine too big, just in case it gets cut off.  Make sure it’s readable (most likely at least 10 pt. font) – The actual size will depend on the font as I’m sure you’ve noticed that the size can vary depending on the font, but don’t have it take up the whole height of the spine, or else it may wander to the front or back of the book.

3) Also make sure the vertical spacing on the spine is not too extreme – just like with designing the pages, don’t have important elements get too close to the cut off guides.

Note that each company may work this differently, but this is a good general rule of thumb across companies.  You could take a risk and see, but if it’s going to disappoint you if it doesn’t line up, then I wouldn’t risk it.

But let’s say you’re a risk taker and like to live on the edge. (ha ha…) If you do want to do two separate images, and then a solid spine, you can, but you have to create three separate photo containers (one for front, back and spine) and then drag and drop your images into that and try to line up as much as possible.  That could get tricky as I note above though, cause they may not line up perfectly in the end and it will look like you made a mistake unless you want to play it off as a conscious design choice.

If you want to see how my book printed out, check out my Photobook America reviews for actual images.  That way you can compare what I saw in the software and what I ended up with.  I can’t guarantee that my result will be 100% your result, but if you allow yourself the proper cushion and follow the above guidelines, you should have a good end product.  I also have images of the book in the Photos section of my Facebook page.  Hope that helps!

P.S. It may not be 100% clear how to actually title the spine.  Here’s basic steps:

1) Click on the add text box icon (or from pull down menu under “Insert”);

2) Double click on the box to add your title;

3) Click and hold down the green dot on the box container and turn it so it rotates 90 degrees clockwise;

4) Center it horizontally on the area marked out for the spine;

5) Stay well within the boundaries shown by the guides.

I did notice that the representation of the spine area seems a lot thinner than in the last two books I did, so I don’t know if the company has changed their software recently to discourage putting text on the spine, but I did not get a message saying that I shouldn’t title the spine (as was posted by a reader in the comments section of one of my Photobook America posts.)  I was able to add my title.  If I find out anything differently, I will update this post.

Best of luck on all your projects!




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  1. Jenna
    Posted June 16, 2015 at 1:18 pm | #

    How are you getting the bubble edges for your photos? I don’t see that option anywhere for shutterfly, my publisher, mixbook, etc- but all your table of contents, cover pages have a nice rounded picture insets. Can you share how to do this?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted June 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm | #

      Hi Jenna,

      I don’t believe it’s available in Shutterfly or MyPublisher, but pretty sure it is for Mixbook. For sure Photobook America has it, MyPhotoCreations, BrideBox AdoramaPix too. I actually do most of my design with external software – it’s the most efficient and convenient for me. I use Lumapix Fotofusion. I have reviews of external software on my site if you want to check that out. 🙂

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