Re: Layout and Design

Subject: Re: Layout and Design
From: ".iearas." <yara -at- SHAMAN -dot- LYCAEUM -dot- ORG>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 1998 09:45:32 -0700

On Thu, 19 Mar 1998, John Hughes wrote:

> 1. Can anyone tell me what the best packages are for desktop
> publishing? What do I need? (When you give advice consider printing
> shop needs - I use Microsoft Publisher. It's ok, but a bit

Pagemaker or Quark, it doesn't really matter. just don't try to learn them
while simultaneously putting out your next issue. take some time to learn
how they work. i know there's a really solid book on teaching yourself
PageMaker with exercises and a cd--it's a slim book, 8 1/2"x11", white
with a nice graphic on the cover. (all my books are at home so i'll look
up titles later.) make sure you have enough fonts to work with. and some
sort of art program. depending on the size of your magazine and what your
printer requests in terms of transfer medium, you may need some kind of
transportable storage device (like a Zip drive, SyuQuest, etc.).

> > 2. (A simplistic question coming here) With these packages, is it
> possible to just put everything onto a disk and send it to the printers,
> or will additional artwork always be required?

the way i have always done it is to put everything on disk as electronic
files (plain or postscripted) plus all necessary fonts and art *and*
provided printed materials so they were aware of how it theoretically
should look. if they don't have a printed version to check against, they
can't be sure they're doing it right. it just saves time and stress. you
should definitely talk with your intended printer about what kinds of
files they expect to be working with and what medium they can accept them

> 3. Can anyone recommend a good, approachable book on layout and design
> (particularly for magazines)?

there are several decent books, depending on the kind of magazine it is.
head for the graphic design/publishing section of the bookstore. if you're
completely new and don't understand a lot of the terminology (like gutters
and picas, etc) pick up a copy of "Pocket Pal: A Graphic Arts Production
Handbook" from International Paper. as for good books, stay away from
poorly produced books, books you personally don't like the look of--you
won't get the kind of layout advice you want if you don't have respect for
the design of their own book. if the magazine is color, try to pick up 2
books--one for desinging in color and one for designing in black and
white. most magazines have at least a few center pages and sometimes
artistic pages that are solely b&w, and the design guidelines for that are
a bit different than for color. if it does have color, find a book that
has a Pantone chart in it--you'll need that to tell the printers what
color you want. i have tried to stay away from design books that are tied
to a specific software, books that only examine one medium (i.e,
newsletters--every publication is a sum of individual parts, not just one
giant design), books without lots of good-looking visual examples. i'll
post what i have on my shelf at home tomorrow.

above all, just remember this: less is more. the simpler you keep
everything, the more your content stands out. and that's really what you
want people to notice.

good luck!


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