Re. Writers and page layout

Subject: Re. Writers and page layout
From: Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 11:24:06 LCL

I'll weigh in on the "don't send it to the DTP people and
forget about it" side. I've worked with the whole spectrum
of graphics people, from incompetent to astonishingly
skillful, and there's one constant: they don't read what
you've written. No time, no subject expertise, no desire.

Without reading the text, it's rarely possible to do an
adequate job of layout, at least not without very clear
instructions about the function of each component of the
text. For some jobs, where the format is so standard that
there's nothing to explain (e.g., many of our current
scientific reports), you don't have much to explain or
discuss, but even then, someone (guess who!) has to
proofread the final design for missing superscripts,
subscripts, incorrect tab spacing, weird line breaks,
orphaned hyphens, incorrectly formatted text, etc.

My most effective designs have always resulted from a close
collaboration with the page layout folks, in which we
discussed and compromised on the design. My closest brushes
with disaster have always come when I lacked the time to
provide clear instructions and had to fix something (or
several somethings) at the camera-ready art stage. Stay
involved to whatever extent is required, right until the
text goes to press!

--Geoff Hart @8^{)}
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca

Disclaimer: If I didn't commit it in print in one of our
reports, it don't represent FERIC's opinion.

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