How to Create a Design File without Adobe

Is there a way to make a design file without Adobe?

While we prefer you to use one of our Adobe design templates, there are other options for setting up your artwork.

We can place artwork for you!

If you have a high-resolution logo or design element that's 300 dpi or higher and just need to have it placed on our cover, we’re happy to set that up for you! Depending on how the file was built, we might also be able to convert your artwork to a specific color. We’re not able to provide typesetting or build design elements, but if you’ve got the pieces, we can place them. Just send us a mockup and/or provide specific instructions on where you’d like the elements to be placed.

You can use Canva for free, and we have templates to share! is a free and easy-to-use online design tool. Please use our Canva design templates to get started making your Scout Book! Just click on the appropriate link below and follow our useful tips for setting up and outputting your files for print.

Pocket (3.5 x 5) - Cover Template | Pages Template

Mega (5 x 7) - Cover Template | Pages Template

Canva Tips for Setting Up Files:

  • Start by "showing rulers and guides" found in the "File" menu. If you need a guide for the center, click the horizontal or vertical ruler and drag a guide to the center. 
  • The Cover Template is set up as the flat size for the front and back cover.  You can "+ Add Page" if you'd like to include artwork on the inside cover as well. 
  • If the artwork bleeds (touches the edge), please let your artwork extend at least 1/8" beyond the edges. You won't see it beyond the trim lines, but it will appear when you output the files. 
  • We recommend keeping any sensitive artwork at least 1/8" inside the edge to compensate for some slight shifting expected during production. 
  • Start designing! You can add text, images, graphics, etc.

Canva Tips for Outputting Files:

  • Visit this link for a visual of the steps.
  • Step 1: Click SHARE (found at the top right)
  • Step 2: Click DOWNLOAD
  • Step 3: Choose PDF PRINT from the dropdown menu
  • Step 4: Check CROP MARKS + BLEEDS, choose CMYK for the Color Profile, click DOWNLOAD
  • Step 5: When your PDF is downloaded, you can either upload during checkout or simply attach and email it to us at [email protected], and we'll connect it with your order.

You can create a file using other tools as long as you can output your files as “print-ready” high-resolution artwork.

Here’s how you should set up your files using other programs.

Set Up: Set up your cover file separate from the pages. The cover layout should be flat including the front and back cover on each side, whereas the pages should be set up as single pages. Don’t include any Kraft/Brown layer in the file to mimic the cover.

Bleeds: If you’d like your artwork to touch the edge of the page (or cover), be sure to include at least 0.125” of a bleed. This is when the artwork extends outside of the trim edge. The bleed prevents any gaps as some slight shifting is expected during the production process.

Sensitive Artwork: Since we can expect some slight shifting during the production of your books, we recommend keeping any sensitive artwork at least 0.125” to 0.25” from the inside edge of the page (or cover).


For the covers, it’s best to set up the artwork flat. On the outside cover, the front cover will be on the right, and the back cover on the left. For the inside cover, the opposite is true.

For the pages, it’s better to send them as single pages rather than spreads. Keep in mind that Page 1 starts on the right side, just like any book. See below for specific dimensions!

Pocket Covers (submit as flat front and back cover)

Final size without bleeds - 7 x 5 in

Final size with bleeds - 7.25 x 5.25 in

Pocket Pages (submit as single pages)

Final size without bleeds - 3.5 x 5 in

Final size with bleeds - 3.25 x 5.25 in

Mega Covers (submit as flat front and back cover)

Final size without bleeds - 10 x 7 in

Final size with bleeds - 10.25 x 7.25 in

Mega Pages (submit as single pages)

Final size without bleeds - 5 x 7 in

Final size with bleeds - 5.25 x 7.25

Other file info questions…

Can you check the file so I know if I’m doing it right?

We are happy to check out your files at any point in your design process. Feel free to email us your files at [email protected], and we’d be happy to take a look!

What file format do you need?

We prefer high-resolution (300 dpi or higher) PDF files with trim/crop marks and any bleeds included. Vector files work better than raster/image files for print quality, but we can work with image files as long as they are high-resolution.

How do I send my artwork to you when I place my order?

When you place your order online, you will receive an order confirmation email with a link to upload your artwork to your account. Or you can email it to us at [email protected]. Either way works for us!

Will I get to see a proof of my artwork?

Yes! We provide a digital proof for every order we receive (even reorders). Our digital proofs include your artwork imposed on our Kraft covers.