Desktop publishing is a skilled undertaking. Not only does it require technical knowledge of relevant software, but it also calls for a certain degree of creativity and imagination. It’s not a combination that many of those tasked with producing brochures, leaflets, presentations and the like possess, hence the existence of professional desktop publishing services that clients can buy in as and when they need some expertise.
If your company is new to desktop publishing, buying in expertise can be an easy and efficient way forward. There are various ways to do this, from hiring individual freelancers on sites such as Upwork to engaging a company like Tomedes that can provide an overarching service.
When hiring desktop publishers, a key part of the process is looking at samples of work that they have undertaken previously. Every individual has their own style, which is often mirrored in the work that they produce. As such, if you like the examples you’re shown, you’re off to a good start. If you don’t, it’s best to move along and speak to some other desktop publishers.
If you have pre-existing publications, you’ll also need to find a desktop publishing expert who uses the right software. Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress, Microsoft Publisher, CorelDRAW and many more design packages exist, so be sure to find someone with the relevant expertise. Using an agency is often an advantage here, as they will have a network of creative individuals already in place, spanning a wide range of desktop publishing platforms. (An agency also provides greater flexibility to cover any periods of illness, for the same reason.)
Once you’ve appointed your desktop publishing expert, it’s time to let the creative juices flow. If you have a style guide, be sure to provide that at the start of the job. Likewise any previous publications that you wish to imitate in terms of layout, branding, etc. You’ll also need to provide electronic copies of things like logos, stock images and so forth, along with detailed guidance on which colours your company uses and why.
If your business hasn’t used desktop publishing services before, then let your designer know what you have in mind in terms of colour schemes, imagery and so on. That way they can set about creating drafts that will be in line with what you have imagined.
Reviewing those early drafts is an important project milestone, so be as detailed as possible about what you like and what you don’t – and why. The more feedback the designer has, the more they will be able to tweak the draft document to suit your requirements.
If you plan to produce documents in more than one language, be sure to work with a desktop publishing expert who speaks both languages. Using an agency that provides translation services as well as desktop publishing services has clear advantages in such cases.
When producing documents in more than one language, bear in mind that different languages use different numbers of words to say the same thing. This means that the layout of each language may need to be tweaked slightly to ensure that the text fits the space that the designer has allocated for it. Imagery may also need to be amended to suit different audiences, so that all graphics are culturally appropriate.
If you don’t already have style and branding guidelines, it may be worth working alongside your chosen designer to create these. Once you have them, future desktop publishing projects will be easier to get off the ground.
Desktop publishing requires skill and creativity. When it’s done well, the resulting designs can do much to influence the way that people feel about your brand. As such, don’t rush the process unduly – be sure to give it the time it deserves.
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