Category Archives: Cookbook Design

Top Cookbook Covers of 2018


At FamilyCookbookProject.com, we offer 55 different professionally designed covers to help editors create their perfect cookbook. We thought it might be interesting to see what was the most popular covers printed over the past 12 months. Here are covers chosen on print orders in 2018.  Note, Garden 1 is the default and sometimes people with full custom covers have that and it’s hidden, but they did not actually choose it.

The most popular cookbook cover last year was Recipe Tree, accounting for almost a quarter of all printed covers. This is followed by Custom Covers when editors use their own design skills to create a personalized cover.

To see all of our available professionally designed cookbook covers, go to the Layout and Design Center in your editor’s account and select Cookbook Covers.

Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher at Family Cookbook Project which helps individuals and fundraising groups create cherished personalized cookbooks using the power of the Internet. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

How To Make A Bridal Shower Cookbook

HeartsOnStickstxtHere is a great idea next you need to plan a bridal shower for a friend or family member – a bridal cookbook!

One thing every new bride to be needs is great recipes to feed her family. Both families as well as friends can help get this started by contributing recipes as part of a bridal shower!

Here’s how to do it:

When you send out your bridal shower invitations, include a link to your family cookbook project cookbook, use the Invitation Tool and add everyone’s email. This will send everyone a link that will allow them to contribute their recipes. Set a deadline for entering recipes about three weeks from when the invitations are sent. Remember people will also wait until the deadline!

Get both of the mother’s to contribute the most recipes if possible. This way both the bride and groom with have lots of recipes that they grew up with in their cookbook. Using Family Cookbook Project’s Custom Categories Tool, you can even create a special category for each mom’s recipes.

As the recipes are being entered, start planning how the cookbook will look.

Cover – Family Cookbook Project offers several cookbook covers specifically for bridal cookbooks or wedding cookbooks. You also can create a custom cover with the name of the cookbook and a photo of the couple.

Write an introduction – The best bridal cookbooks will have an introduction written by the individuals giving the bridal shower. An introduction can be used wish the couple well wishes and to talk about the importance of family.

Add Photos – Photos can help bring your cookbook to life. You can add photos of the lucky couple on top of recipes, or create custom pages to highlight photos of the bride and groom as they were growing up and while they were dating.

Finally, it is time to print your cookbook. Make sure you give yourself enough time to order your cookbooks and have them printed, at least 3-4 weeks if possible. Be sure to order enough copies for each attendee as well as several extra copies for family members that can not attend the event.

For the event, make some of the dishes from bridal cookbook and serve them at the event. Include a place card with the dish name and include the page number from the cookbook. Finally, if you are looking for a great wedding favor, try creating a Wedding Cookbook for your family and friends!

Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Anatomy of a Great Recipe

One of the keys to a great family cookbook is to have great recipes that your family and friends have come to love. Here are some simple tips to help you capture the magic of the food you make.

1. Use catchy titles. Using a catchy title will make your recipe sound more interesting. It is more interesting to people when they see the title “Gooey Triple Chocolate Cake” rather than just “Chocolate Cake”. When you are writing a title for a recipe, try to think of not only what the final dish will be, but what makes it special as well. 

2. Include photos. Using images in your recipes can allow the person reading your cookbook to see what the final dish will look like and give then a guidepost to follow. Next time you make one of your special dishes, snap a quick photo and add it to your recipe the next time you log in.

3. Be specific with your Ingredients. For many cooks, include a can of crushed tomatoes in your recipe and they know exactly what you mean or maybe not. Tell them to include a 12oz can of crushed tomatoes and everyone will know exactly what your recipe needs.

4. Use step by step instructions. You might have made this recipe a thousand times, but someone new will need detailed directions for how to do it. Remember to include pan sizes, cooking times, the order that ingredients are added and how to tell when a dish is done. Also adding how many servings a recipe can make will help with meal planning. 

5. Add personal notes. One of the things that make a family cooks so important is that it helps to capture the family traditions. Include a note with each recipe about how you first were introduced to the recipe and when it is typically served in your household. It makes the recipe more interesting and more meaningful to later generations.


Chip Lowell is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Using Photos with Recipes

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and with recipes that is especially true. 

It’s wonderful to read a list of ingredients and see the potential in a recipe, but to look at the finished product can make your mouth water!

The Family Cookbook Project highly recommends adding a photo to every recipe you can in your online cookbook. It helps people to see what to expect when they follow your recipe and gives them a standard to meet when comparing their finished dish to the original.

With the advent of digital camera built into cell phones, you don’t have to be a professional photographer to take good food photos. 

Here are some pointers to help improve your recipe photos:

Use Natural Light Make sure that the light is right – shoot the food either next to a bright window or under a pendant light in the restaurant. Don’t use your camera’s flash! Set your dish near a window and turn off any artificial lights that might be on nearby. Try to photograph with the light at your back or to the side of a dish, so that the shadows are to the side or behind it. 

Hold Still Taking photos inside, even with ample natural light, often means you have to hold the camera very still to keep it from registering hand shake. If you have a tripod, that’s ideal. If you don’t, you can duplicate the tripod effect by resting your elbows on the table or counter and using them to stabilize the camera. Moving the camera when taking a photo will only lead to blurry unusable photos. 

Get close to the food! – Don’t stand back three feet and get the food with the stove, the dirty dishes, and all the condiments around it. Move in and get up close and personal, and let the pan…or the plate…or the cutting board fill the frame.  

Stage the shot – The food isn’t the only thing in the photo. Using plates, silverware and linens in complementary colors can help your dish come alive. Shoot food on a beautiful plate or on a table with texture and character. The more appetizing the ingredients, the better your photo will be. Plates that contain colored vegetables and/or meat, preferably in light-colored sauces, are often the most appealing to the eye in photos. Also Don’t be Afraid of a mess. A few crumbs or a smear of dressing can be beautiful, if you let them. 

Focus on the food –  If you are using a DSLR, stop down your lens to f/1.8 or f/2.0 that limits your depth of field to one part of the image only, blurring out everything around the subject, simulating a shot taken with a macro lens. If you are using an iPhone, there are apps, such as Camera+ or VSCO Cam, that will create the same effect. Remember, you want the food to be the main focus, not the background. 

Try different angles –  Get up over the food and shoot straight down on it. When shooting overheads, if appropriate, try filling up the frame with what’s already on the table such as cups, wine glasses, utensils and moving hands. You can also  think in three dimensions, You might not usually serve brownies piled in a vertical column, but stacking any flat food, like pancakes, cookies, or even onion rings, is a great way to show off texture and make the photo more appealing. You can also add dimension to your food photos by showing the dish right after the that first bite is taken, or the second and third. These are little details that make a viewer feel like they’ve sat down and are enjoying the meal. 

Get Close to Ugly Foods  – Some foods, no matter how good they taste, just don’t make good photos. But the closer you get to your subject, the more the visual story becomes about texture and color, rather than pure mouth-watering beauty.Avoid foods that are white and gloppy, such as congealed gravy on white pasty mashed potatoes. 

Size Matters –  Make sure your camera settings are set for a good sized photo. Small photos look blurry when they are enlarged on line. A photo viewed online only has to be 72 dpi (dots per inch, the measure for quality), but if you are going to print your photo, you want it to be at least 300 dpi. 600 pixels wide (a measurement for size) is a good target for minimum photo size.

Using other’s photos – It is important to note that the Internet makes it easy to find photos of recipes already taken. While this might be much easier, the photo still is the property of whomever holds the rights. Don’t always assume that because a photo is on the Internet you can simply use it for your recipe. Make sure you ask permission from the owner before you use it.

Bill Rice takes more than 20,000 photos a year and is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

How Many Recipes Does My Cookbook Need?

Cookbook-CoversOne question every cookbook editor wants to know is how many recipes should my cookbook have? Too many and printing costs are higher, not enough and the cookbook is not as valuable. What’s a family cookbook editor to do?

Looking at the thousands of cookbooks we have printed over the past decade, there is no real number of recipes that make up a good cookbook  – you have what you have.  We have printed cookbooks with just 15 great recipes and as many as 1200!  However, that 1200 recipe book was 750 pages – HUGE!

The average size seems to be around 150 recipes and that is why we use that number in our cost calculator.

When a great cookbook has less recipes, often the editor includes other content to augment the food offerings. Photos of each dish, a section of family photos, a family tree or family stories about people remembered can really add value to a smaller cookbook.

Larger cookbooks can be impressive simply by the number of recipes it contains. However, since printing cost is directly related to the number of pages that need to be printed, it is important to be mindful of your design choices when choosing your layout options.

At the end of the day, your cookbook is exactly that – your cookbook. You need to balance the number and quality of the recipes included with the needs of your family.

Bill Rice is the Co-Publisher at Family Cookbook Project which helps individuals and fundraising groups create cherished personalized cookbooks using the power of the Internet. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest.

Lowering the cost of printing your cookbook

When it comes to printing your family cookbook, page count is the largest determining factor on what the cost per book will be.

To lower the number of pages that need to be printed, you don’t always have to just delete recipes. Here are some simple formatting charges you can make to affect your page count.

Go to Editor Tools>Publishing Tool>Cookbook Options and Design.  Under Recipe Layout, choose any or all of these options to save space:

  • Choose Arial or Times Roman, Two Column Small for the smallest type faces
  • UNcheck Print my recipes in non-continued format
  • UNcheck Force recipe photos to be on same page as recipe
  • CHECK Print Directions and Comments as single paragraphs
  • Under Recipe Sorting, choose Print my recipes in book order – shortest to longest

Another thing to do is look at your recipes that are more than one page long. We show you multi page recipes in the “recipes by category” index. There is a “*” next to the edit button of long recipes. Consider removing some of these recipes by unchecking the box by the recipe title and see the impact on page count.







Bill Rice is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Why Blank Pages Are Important In Your Family Cookbook

One of the questions we get a lot as Cookbook Publishers is “how do I remove the blank pages in my cookbook?”

It seems that when people preview their family cookbook on FamilyCookbookProject.com, they see the cover, then a blank page, then the title page, then another blank page, and so on. They want those blank pages eliminated to lower the cost of printing.

In publishing, especially cookbook publishing, a cookbook needs to be laid out in a specific way in order for the most important pages to be on the right side when the book is opened. Think about it, Whenever you open a book, the title page is the first thing you see and it is always on the right page of a two page spread. Same goes for the Introduction, Table of Contents and the section dividers.

On FamilyCookbookProject.com, if you create a preview cookbook PDF, you want to open it in your Adobe Reader program and select the option to view “Facing Pages” or “Double-up” (look under the View menu), you’ll see how the pages back up to each other.

Now with that said, there is no reason why those pages have to be blank. The inside front cover can have a family photo photo or bio of the cookbook editor. The same goes for other blank pages as well. If your introduction is one page and after it is a blank page, consider writing more, adding a photo or even making the text larger to fill up that extra space.

One benefit form using FamilyCookbookProject.com is that we provide a complete set of handy kitchen information that can be used on the back of the recipe category dividers with the touch of a button.

Bill Rice takes more than 20,000 photos a year and is Co-Publisher of the Great Family Cookbook Project, a website that helps families and individuals collect and share food memories. Follow us on Facebook and Pinterest!

Family Cookbook Project adds three new cover choices

BackToSchool4txtIn an effort to continually build its library of professionally designed covers for its editors to choose from, Family Cookbook Project has added three new cookbook covers.

Back to School – Kids: This cookbook cover is perfect for a daycare, elementary school or other cookbook involving young children. The images are fun whimsical cartoon characters having a good time.

 

BackToSchool3txt

 

Back to School – Supplies: Another school related cookbook cover, this cookbook cover features schools supplies such as a globe, artist paint brush, calculator, apple, etc.

 

RedWhiteBluetxt

 

 

 

Red, White and Blue: Looking for a patriotic cookbook, this may be your cover! A blue background with red stripes and white stars provide a colorful cover for any cookbook need.

Family Cookbook Project is working on additional covers that will be available in the coming months. If you have a cover that you think we should add to our collection, please let us know!

3 Ring Binding Now Available from Family Cookbook Project

IMG_8389A family cookbook is a living thing. New recipes are always being tried and added. Many people like to have a three-ring binder for their cookbooks so that adding recipes is quick and easy.

We are excited to offer 3-ring binders as an option for our Family Cookbook Project members. A 3-ring binder will be the same great size as our traditional cookbooks but also have the name of the cookbook on the spine. The binder itself is quite a bit larger than just the pages – about an inch all around or so. The binding opens to allow you to add additional recipes as you go. The one difference between the two binding styles is you can’t have inside front or back cover content with the new 3-ring binders.

IMG_8391In the Book Options and Design tool, you can choose from our standard coil binding in black or white or the new 3-ring binder options. The cost for the 3-ring binding is slightly higher than the coil binding because of the cost of printing.

At Family Cookbook Project we are always looking for new ways to make your cookbooks better for you. We have other exciting announcements coming so stay tuned!

 

Cookbook Cover Selection Tool

covertoolHow do you select a great cover for your family cookbook? You use our Cookbook Cover Selection Tool. Part of the cookbook design section, this tool displays images of each professionally designed cookbook cover that users can select with a single click.

The covers are divided into categories, including: Family, Farm, Food, Fundraising, General, Holiday, Kitchen, Religious, School, Wedding. There is also an option to see all of the covers at the same time. New categories and covers are already in the works and will be announced shortly.

Users also have the option to create their own custom cookbook cover and upload that to the Family Cookbook Project Website.

To view the Cookbook Cover Selection Tool, log in to your editor’s account and select “Book Options and Design”. Here you will see the cover categories displayed with a “+” next to it. Click on the category label to expand the section and see the covers associated with that category. It’s that simple.

In addition to cookbook covers, divider options and recipe layout options have been upgraded to use the same technology to display options in a convenient, easy to use arrangement.