RE: Graphic design

Subject: RE: Graphic design
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "'Joanne Wittenbrook'" <jwittenbrook -at- ameritech -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 8 Apr 2007 14:18:05 -0400

Joanne Wittnebrook wrote:
The job of the writer is to write. If the manufacturer is providing the
layout/art it is their job to worry about making it print ready.

Hi Joanne,

I totally disagree. The concept that a "writer is to write" is old school
and ignores the evolution of technical writing in the past ten years or

Few writers today have the luxury of only "being a writer." I also think the
more you know about the entire publication process, the more valuable you
are to your company and to your team. I am presently working on a contract
where one member of the staff wants the "writers to just write" so another
contractor will be employed to do the entire layout and prepress. The result
is added inefficiencies and increased difficulty moving from old
print-driven methods of technical documentation to newer single-source
methods that output print in addition to video, CD-ROM, and web-based

As for print production, writers no longer have to know all the
manufacturing steps required for good color separation. All they need to do
now is understand how to prepare a good PDF. Most printers expect PDF inputs
and they use them to the four-color separations. Understanding how to make a
good PDF is a simple matter of spending a few hours with your printer. (It's
not rocket science.)

I have worked as the lone writer most of my career (which includes graphic
arts, magazine publishing and professional photography) and most of that
career found my job description to be one thing, but the job requirements to
include a lot more. I've also found that most art directors try to keep
technical writers from getting involved in graphics and layout because of a
misconception that tech writers only write.

It's been a long time since I've been involved in a project where "writers
only write." Writers today also design web sites, develop interactive
training programs, create Flash and video programs, and the list goes on....

Al Geist
Technical Writing, Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design and Award Winning
Voice/Msg: 802-658-3140
Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
URL: (Online portfolio and resume)
See also:
URL: (Fine art photographic prints for home or
office and beautiful note cards for all occasions.)


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Graphic design: From: Joanne Wittenbrook

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