You have a story that matters, but how do you bring it to life? Jilster is a free online platform for you to create anything from magazines, books, posters, and photo collages together for any occasion. If you’re looking to learn how to use Jilster and our makerspace this article is for you. Our mission is to empower you to capture and share stories that matter, but how do you start your story? 

Jilster’s templates support a timesaving method for you to create a good design for your story. In addition, they are fully customizable, where you can change the text, colours, images, and elements to fit your creation and story. 

In this article, you will learn: 

  • How to start your story with a new creation.
  • How to use the templates in your creation
  • Quick tips and tricks for new functionalities and elements
  • How to change the background of your creation 
  • How to add text, images, and more

We recommend watching the video, Makerspace in 10 min to see and understand your way around the makerspace. So let’s get started.

When you log into the makerspace, you are brought to an overview of all your creations. Here you can continue editing, make a new design, duplicate a creation or even place an order. To make a new creation, click the “make a design” button. You then choose whether you want to start with a magazine or a book. The difference between the two has to do with the minimum amount of pages provided. For example, a magazine creation is set to 16 pages in total and a book is set to a minimum of 32 pages.

1. Creation overview

When you begin a new creation, whether a magazine or book, you start with a collection of blank pages. To create a page, use your mouse/trackpad to hover over the page and click the start button. 

Within your creation overview, you can do the following: 

  • Edit the title 
  • Preview your creation/ pageflip 
  • Place an order
  • Change the view of your creation – document view vs. page view
  • Invite your team
  • Adjust page order, add/delete pages  
  • Start a page 

Edit the titel

Settings

  • Adjust page order, add/delete pages
  • Show page numbers
  • Adjust maker view
  • Share your creation

Document view

View pages in your creation vertically, in which you can view spreads. 

Page view

View pages in your creation vertically, in which you can view spreads. 

Invite your team

There are 2 invitation types to choose from: CHIEFMAKER (who will be invited to fully edit, approve, release pages and invite makers – basically the same control as yourself) or as a MAKER (who can only edit & submit assigned pages). 
Here is a scenario example: Let’s say you are a teacher and you want to invite your students to customise their page in the yearbook. However, you do not want them to view or edit the entire document. So in this case, send the invitation out as a Maker. But let’s say another teacher or parent is a part of the team and needs complete access to the entire document, then the invitation would be sent as Chiefmaker.

2. Choose a template

Jilster has a variety of templates that are all free for you to use to help guide and inspire you during the process of your creation. Whether you are making a magazine or book as a farewell group 8, colleague, birthday, anniversary, wedding, company highlight or any other life-changing event, the templates can help you get started. When you click on the cover of a particular template, the template will open up and see all the pages within the magazine or book. We recommend browsing through the templates to see and use different page designs and try to make a variety of other creations. Or you can even use the templates to create your own template for future use. Then, when you find a page you like, click on the page and select change to place the page. By doing so, your current design/page will be overwritten by the content of the template page.

3. Choose a background

The background of your page could be an image or a colour. When you click background on the left side of the toolbar, you can adjust the following. If you want to change the background to a specific colour, click colour on the top, and either type in the hex colour code or select from the colour palette.

4. Choose text

Text in your creation is a crucial part of your story and design. When you click the text button, you are presented with 4 formats of text: Add a title, add subtitle, add subsection and add main text. The text formats go from large to small to help you with the visual hierarchy and visual flow of your page layout. For example, where the visual hierarchy is used to rank design elements and influence the order, you want your audience to view them. 

Colour 

When you add text on to the page, it will automatically be in the colour black, so make sure your page background is not black in order to edit the added text. Or change the colour of the text to continue. Of course, you can always change the text to a specific colour by changing the colour code to the one you wish. 

Font

To change the font, use the drop-down menu and scroll through the selection of fonts. If you are looking for a specific font, such as Monsteratt, you can type in the name easily without scrolling. 

Size

To change the font size, use the drop-down to select the size of the font. You could also type in the number you want for your font size.

Text style

Under text style, you can adjust the text to the style you prefer. For example, you can make the text bold, italic, underlined and with a line through it. 

Align

You can decide how you would like to align your text, whether it’s to the left, centered, right, or full.

Columns

If you want columns, you quickly click on how many columns from 2 – 4. Using columns will help you break up the layout of a page full of text and can help you fit more text on a page or provide better readability.

Line height

Use line-height to set the distance between lines of text. It defines the amount of space above and below your text. Of course, there is no perfect line-height, but we suggest you use this tool to help with the readability of your creation.

Letter spacing

Letter spacing is the space behind the letters. It is fun to play with this tool while designing your creation.

5. Elements

Clipart & Shapes

Under elements, you can find all different kinds of clipart and decorative elements such as these flowers or photo frames that you can use in creation. You can also find a collection of shapes and lines in the elements category, in which when you click the shape you want, it will automatically place on your page.

Adjusting the element’s colour

When you want to change the shape’s colour, click on the shape on your page and change the colour. If you want an outline of the shape, first add a border – decide the outline colour and width and then go back to colour and click remove.

Adjusting element’s size

To adjust the size of the clip art or shape, click and hold one of the white dots and pull it in the direction you want it and this will make your shape larger. When you want to make the shape smaller do the same thing but just click, hold and bring it inward.

Transparency

You can also play with the shape’s transparency by moving the toggle to the right or by typing in the number of the level of transparency you would like to achieve.

6. Uploads

Image upload

Image upload
Now in order to customise the template, you first have to upload your own images. Go to the folders button on the left side of the toolbar. You can either drag and drop or click to select the images or files you want into this folder. To do this correctly, when you are dragging and dropping images, make sure you place the images in the box, and you should see the box highlighted. If you prefer to click and select images, click the upload box and see a pop-up of your desktop. Then, click on the images you want to upload and click open.

7. Image tools

Once the image is on the page, you can edit the image any way you like. First, to make the image larger, click and hold one of the white dots and follow the arrows to pull it in your desired direction. Next, there is a toolbar on the top of the page that says filters, crop, border, shadow, transform, and transparency. This is the toolbar you will use to edit objects on the page – such as images, clipart, and shapes. 

Filters

To edit the image colour, there are filters you can try, such as grayscale, sepia, or technicolour. Feel free to test them all out or use no filter at all. Under the filters, you also have brightness, contrast, hue, saturation, and blur tools to edit an image further. Just move the toggle dot to the right to turn the brightness up. When you want to turn the brightness down, move the toggle to the left to make it a little darker. The same goes for all the other editing tools.

Crop

Next, you have the crop button with an outlined box, that you can adjust to crop the image as you desire, and then once you select the part of the image you want to crop, click apply.

8. Editing tools/top toolbar

Border

To add a border, click border on the top bar, and you can adjust the width or thickness by moving the toggle to the right. You can also change the border to any colour you want. If you do not want a border, click the remove button.

Shadow (add new screenshot from .dev)

Adding elements such as light and shadow can add qualities like depth, dimension, perspective, realism and visual interest to your design. There are various shadow options, following the direction and placement of the shadow. To strengthen the shadow, move the toggle in whichever direction you want. You can also edit the transparency and blur effect of the shadow. 

Transform

Next, we have the transform button. To get more accurate results, you can use the transform tool to make the image a specific size by typing in the dimensions from x and y coordinates to the width and height of the image. This tool is helpful to make your creation consistent and especially handy when you want to make a spread in your magazine.

9. Page tool guide

When you select any element on the page, you will see this mini tool guide with 4 icons.

Trash Bin

Going from top to bottom, you first have the trash bin, which deletes the page’s element, text, or image.

Duplicate Button

Next, you have the duplicate button, where you can duplicate whatever you have on the page. You can even group and copy multiple items at a time by holding down and pressing the enter button on your keyboard while selecting everything you want to group. For example, click and select the title, press enter, click the date, the star shape, and an image, and press the duplicate button. You can duplicate as many times as you please.

Layers

Under the duplicate button, you have the layers button to change the order of objects in your design. For instance, if you want to move a shape behind your text, you will click this button and select the arrow facing down to the left to move it backward. And if you want to move it to the front of the page, you will click the up arrow on the right.

Flip

The last tool is the flip feature, where you can flip objects on your page. Click on flip horizontal to flip it sideways or flip vertical to flip it upside down. Most visual theory implies that our eye enters the frame from the left, so flipping an image can help influence where the eye is drawn.

10. Undo/redo arrows

There are these two arrows on the top of the page, one going backward and the other going forward. This is the button you will use to either trace your steps backward, such as undo your last move. Or, if you want to redo your last move, click the button forward.