October, 2011

newsletter #3 look good in word Ha! yes!

It can happen, honest

Here’s the problem: I design letterheads for people, and they send off pretty letters, which is good, but they also use them for various presentations, which is also…good. Well, sort of good. Ideally, these presentations would each be designed to their own specifications, but who wants to make a Design Project out of every bid, prospectus, and report?

If only you could get a template designed in Word, the program of the Regular Folk. But Word is designed with basic functionality in mind and does not have the bells and whistles one finds in page layout programs. But it has some, cleverly hidden from all but an elite few.

We designers are an ancient, proud and noble race that only use Word to access text clients send us. Beyond that, we wouldn’t even wipe our bottoms with it; we don’t know how. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could just design away, then have it magically appear in a form that Wordies can use?

Enter Chrissie, Goddess of Word

The answer is “yes.” In the sample at left, I designed the report, then sent a PDF, graphic files, and specifications to the talented Chrissie. I used Institute 3 as an example in the last newsletter, so why stop picking on them now? For this, the letterhead was the starting point. A color area was added for the header. Just to be difficult, Mitchell requested the option of pull-out fun facts appearing as needed. That turned out to be in the empty left edge. I’d been saving that area as quiet, open space. This abuse of open land is like when the University plows under their golf course for more buildings. But what the heck; I don’t golf.

Then there needs to be a page 2 (or more). This automatically shifts to a different layout when you go into the second page. And it always ends with a disclaimer slug at the bottom. Now Mitchell can send a note on his letterhead, and with it, his report on something that works perfectly with the letterhead, yet has its own functionality within that look.

Your PDFs are lying to you

PDFs are great. I can send color proofs, as well as final art to printers, simply and easily. Is it possible I led a happy, fruitful life without them? No, I didn’t.

Sometimes, though, you’ll see a PDF in your email and say, hey, what’s with the thin white lines? When files use any sort of transparency—like one item casts a shadow over another, or a Photoshop file with no background is sitting on something colored—Acrobat deals with it by breaking the graphics into tiles. You see the separations in the form of white lines. It’s not grout. If you think it looks wrong, try opening the PDF file. If you still see white lines, blow it up as much as you can. If the lines haven’t gotten any thicker (or they’ve disappeared), everything is fine. The lines won’t print. Just put a paper bag on your head until you stop hyperventilating.