DESKTOP PUBLISHING – AN OVERVIEW – originally Written May 1st 1997 update

SIMPLE DEFINITION

Desktop Publishing is the assembling of words and pictures on a page using a personal computer.

(BIGGER AND BETTER) DEFINITION

Desktop Publishing describes the process of using a microcomputer topublish documents. The word desktop implies that the whole process of publishing, from writing the text and creation of illustrations, throughthe task of page layout to printing the document in multiple copies, cantake place within the one desktop computer system.

desktop publishing

The development of highly sophisticated Page Layout Software (such asPagemaker 5.0) which can be used to bring together text, illustrations and scanned images as well as the development ofdesktop high resolution printers, has brought publishing capabilities tothe PC used.

FEATURES OF DESKTOP PUBLISHING
The use ofPage Layout Software allows the user to see on the screen an exact view of how the page will look when printed. This feature is calledWYSIWYG and standards for What you see is what you get.

Page layout Software uses thepage as its basic unit whereas word processing software treats text/graphics as continuous stream.

Desktop Publishing is possible due to the following new technologies:

 

The Microcomputer (personal Computer)
Word Processing

Page Layout Software

Laser Printers

Graphics

Scanners

desktop publishing

APPLICATIONS OF DESKTOP PUBLISHING

These are some of the things that you can do in desktop publishing.
*Advertisements

*Stationery – forms, letterhead

* Newsletters

*Catalogues

*Brochures

*Books

*Magazines

*Technical Documentation

*Operations Manuels

*Signs, Fliers, Posters

Desktop Book Publishing – In detail
DESKTOP PUBLISHING *2

BOOK PUBLISHING

Hundreds of years ago, books were produces in small numbers by usinga large number of scribes (people who could write) to copy, by hand versions of books.
The advent of the (press ) revolutionised the process of broadcasting information in the form of printed books. By the twentieth century the process had become very efficient, but the processes which take placeprior to the actual printing of the document were still very laborious andtherefore the cost still quite high.

Following are the steps (some of which are optional) needed to createa pubication or book:

WRITING THE DOCUMENT

Word processing programs are used. The use of a typewriter would result in wasting large amounts of time. A book would be entered, edited as required and stored on computer disk as a collection of short documents.

EDITING

The text of books should be read in (draft ) form. Most of the changesare made at this point. Editing text is made far easier with the use ofcomputer based tools.(Microsoft Word or Aldus Pagemaker.)

Desktop Publishing

CREATING DRAWN ILLUSTRATIONS

Computer – based drawing programs can be used to create drawings/diagrams.

CREATING HALF – TONE ILLUSTRATIONS

Half – tone are the pictures that most people would describe as Photographs. A half – tone is a photograph taken of an image through a screen, which has very fine holes in it. The half – tone photograph appears as an image formed of dots. All photographicimages seen in newspapers and magazines are half – tones. Current computer technology can scan photographs into a computer system by sampling the image, dot by dot, at very high resolution (the dots are very small and very close together). Sophisticated softwareis used to convert the photograph into a halftone screen, which canbe printed directly on photographic paper or film, by high resolution laser printer (described as an imagesetter).

DESIGN

During this phase, the overall format for the layout of the book is decided.The number of columns, the use of white space, the typefaces and sytles to be used should be determined and documented.

PAGE LAYOUT

This stage involves using computer – based tools to position the text andgraphics according to the design.

CAMERA READY ART

Some publishers produce hard copy of the document. A typesetting bureau may then make photographic films by photographing the hard copy. The films are used to make printing plates for the printing press. An alternative is to produce photographic films directly from the files which can be output fromthe page layout program (eg:Aldus Pagemaker.) Most of the sophisticated page layout programs can produce computer files which are used then tocreate the colour separated films.

PROOFS

The films are used to make a single proof copy of the publication. The proof copies are checked by the publisher prior to printing.

PRINTING

The films are used to make printing plates which are mounted on a printingpress. The next step involves printing either hundres or thousands of copies.The printed sheets of paper are then folded, trimmed to size, and bound in volumes.

QUICK NOTES ON TYPOGRAPHY – THE PRINCIPLES OF TYPOGRAPHY

(FAMILY) All of the variations of a single type face of fonts, printing, the different weights, widths, slants and styles – constitute a type family. Some families have more styles than others, providing for considerable type contrast within a document without the need to change typefaces. In additionto a couple of the Helvetica styles shown below, the family includes Compressed, Thin, Ultra light and Heavy variations. Some other familieswith many variations are Bodoni, Futura, Univers and Stone.

Helvetica

Helvetica Italic

In designing, measuring and identifying font, print: type, a precise vocabulary is essetial. The basics are called, Serif, Counter, baseline, Ascender, descender, Point size, Cap height and x – height.

* Size points in fonts are: 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18,19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 30, 33, 36, 40, 44, 48, 52, 56, 60, 66, 72, 100

SOME SOFTWARE PACKAGES USED IN DESKTOP PUBLISHING

*Aldus Pagemaker, Corel Draw, Quark Express and Adobe Photoshop.

*These steps can all be supported and made more efficient by computer – based tools. The ability to perform these steps on relatively cheap microcomputers has brought the capacity to publish to a wider group. The term Desktop Publishing is used to describe the use of a microcomputer to publish documents. The word Desktop implies that the whole process of publishing, from the writing of text and creation of illustrations through the task of page layout to printing the document in multiple copies can take place within the one desktop computer system.