Re: focus so deeply on DTP.

Subject: Re: focus so deeply on DTP.
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 19:04:00 PST

>What makes you think that a production department cannot do the job as well
>as you? This is exactly why I think dilution of job skills is bad; the
>production people have, in many writer's eyes, suddenly become unskilled,
>unnecessary, and not able to do the job as well as the writer.

It depends on what "the job" is. If I were to write a book without
illustrations or tables, I'm sure a team of skilled book designers and
compositors would come up with much more appealing pages than I can.

But my work has many illustrations (designed by me) and tables (designed
by me), and it's more practical for me to design them to fit the target
document than to draw them without regard to realities of production,
and then find out that they don't fit onto the page. It's by working
in the target format that I make my decisions about whether to present
things as tables or lists, or whether to split a big diagram into two
smaller diagrams.

By composing complete documents inside high-end DTP packages, I leave
the putative production department with very little to do. Book designers,
editors, graphic artists for the impressive bits, and technical illustrators
for the really hard diagrams, sure -- but these are all well outside
the day-to-day grind.

I have worked with and managed extremely capable DTP people, and they
spent very little time working on my documents. After we got more writers
on board, the need for DTP people plummeted. Our DTP people were mostly
engaged in taking the illiterate, ugly dreck that came out of the
engineering and marketing departments and making it look professional --
no easy job. But when the professional writers moved in, the DTP
people moved out.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon * High-Tech Technical Writing
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (503) 453-5841
"I regret that I have but one * for my country." -- Nathan Hale

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