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Old 02-12-2008, 11:47 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Anbeduma View Post
I would love answers, guidance or direction regarding the following information:

1) What exactly is desktop publishing?
It began as a collection of software programs designed to make it possible to prepare text and images for printing on desktop computers — rather than the proprietary computerized systems costing tens of thousands of dollars that were being used for typesetting, image-editing, etc. And rather than the hand-work done by graphic designers.

Today DTP software attracts all sorts of users, including typesetters and designers, but also many others, some of them producing their own books, newsletters, ads, packaging, etc. Quite a few writers and self-publishers. Others work for customers. Many end up having to create web sites or ads to supplement the printed material. Anything goes, really.

2) What range of services is generally offered?
Almost anything you can do that your customers cannot: set type, edit color images, produce brochures or ads. Resell printing services. Design logos. Create illustrations. Of course, first you need to know how to do those things.

3) What is a good (maybe for a starter) software program?
What platform do you use? There are few low-end DTP programs for the Mac; for Windows, Serif PagePlus is well liked. (Link is to a long thread on this forum.) It seems to have most of the functions of the high-end software, are a much lower price. Most commercial work is done with Adobe InDesign or QuarkXPress.

4) Photography program?
You mean image-editing? Photoshop is most used commercially. For Windows users, there are others from Corel and other companies. Most of the books and articles with tips and tricks do refer to Photoshop, however.

5) Any recommendations as to reading material?
Many. A basic text on principles of page layout and design. A good book on type and typography. If you want to become a color photo wiz, then a good book and/or class on that.

Sorry if I seem coy — we need to develop a good current list on these topics. When it comes to the basics — design and typography, in particular — older books are better. They do not refer to computers but to principles of the work; then you hit the computer to find out how to accomplish what you need to do.

But for more technical topics — particularly image-editing and prepress topics — the new books have better information. Designers, typesetters, and other mere mortals never had much to do with these topics, and the people who did know kind of passed it along on the job.

This thread should produce some specific recommendations for you.

6) Any recommendations as to websites to peruse?
Well, this one, for starters. This is essentially what we do best. Not that we have all the information you will need — far from it — but this forum and its members can help you find it and understand it.

You will also get recommendations here to other sites.

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