Designing a Cover for Softcover with Hardcover Upgrade Option

TreeRing gives schools the option to have softcover be the default cover, but allows parents/students to upgrade to a hardcover when they purchase their yearbook.

This is a cool feature, but creates a bit of a design challenge.  The softcover front + back + spine is a bit smaller than a hardcover, therefore, TreeRing makes a "best fit" so that one cover can work for two different dimensions with no stretching and as little trimming as possible.  However, the laws of physics still apply ;)

3 Tips for Designing a SOFTCOVER with HARDCOVER UPGRADE

  1. Design the cover for the Hardcover layout dimensions (see this article for specific spine size dimensions for your number of pages)
  2. Make sure any text on the spine fits on the narrower softcover spine
  3. Make sure there is enough content to cover the wider hardcover and no important content is lost on the narrower softcover
  4. MOST IMPORTANT:  Use the Hardcover Preview Feature to make sure your design displays correctly in both formats

Here's an example of a 60 page book in Hardcover preview:

Here's the same cover in Softcover preview:

1) The spine is smaller in softcover - the orange colored spine area which was perfectly matched up on the hardcover is now wrapping around onto the front and back cover.  The orange area will change depending on the number of pages in your book.  
2) The width is smaller in softcover - the green border at the front cover right edge and back cover left edge is gone.  This width difference can be from 0.28" to 0.43" depending on the page count of your book.

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