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Five Steps to a Perfect Publication

written by: Niki Fears•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/24/2009

You don't have to be a graphic designer to create professional-looking documents, but it helps to know what they know. Here arefFive simple steps you can folow to help you design perfect desktop publishing projects.

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    When it comes to creating professional looking documents, such as business reports, newsletters, and invitations. Here are five key steps to help you make the perfect publication for any project.

    1. Clean Copy:

    Even the most well designed publication can take a hit from sloppy, error ridden copy. So before you add your text to any publication be sure to run it through a spell check and pay close attention to the headers, since that is what people often notice first, and to the vital information such as locations and email since getting your publication out to the world will not be very useful if your email address or event location is incorrect.

    2. Organized Content:

    Keeping the information that you are providing in an organized and easy to read fashion will greatly enhance the appearance and effectiveness of your publication. For example, if you are creating a brochure listing the services and benefits of your business, then putting those items in a list under “Services” will give the brochure a more professional look while also making it easy for someone to find that information when they are just scanning over the brochure. Using standard or small graphical bullets for the list can also enhance the look and feel of the piece.

    3. Use Color Schemes Instead of Single Colored Text:

    Using multiple colors in your document can give your publication a fresh look and break up the monotony of reading plain black text all of the way through. That does not mean that you want your publications to look like a rainbow exploded, but a subtle blend of colors and shades can make a huge improvement in a drab publication. For example, instead of just having your text all in one color, you could make your title or largest heading in a lighter blue, sub-headings could be in a shade of medium blue, while the smaller text is a darker, navy type of blue. This makes finding different sections a snap and creates a more interesting look to your publication. Just be sure to use colors that can be easily read when printed. You can also use the same technique when printing in black and white by using various shades of gray.

    4. Use Coordinating and Well Placed Graphics:

    Graphics are another essential component of great publications but that does not mean that you have to simply spread graphics around randomly. Carefully placing your graphics is the key to making your publication looked polished. One of the best ways to decide what sort of graphic that you need to use is to think about what the text is saying and what your purpose is. For example, if you are designing a section of your brochure that is detailing your location and contact information this may be the perfect place to insert a graphical map and perhaps a picture of your business itself to make it easy to spot. A florist, when describing their services for weddings, may choose to include graphics of a bouquet or other wedding flowers or, even better, a photograph of one of their own pieces. Not only does this help your potential customer to visually connect with your business it also gives you a chance to show off some of your best work.

    5. Print and Paper Quality:

    Your final step in creating the perfect publication is the printing process. Your project may be the example of perfection when you are sitting in front of your computer; however, that may not always translate properly to hard copy. Regardless of the size of your project, you should always print a test copy before proceeding. And, whenever possible, your test copy should be done with the same sort of paper that you will be using for the final copy. This is especially important when using a size of paper that is non-standard, that is colored, or that has graphical features that make precise alignment important. This way you can double check your coloring and alignment to insure your project is a success. It will also give you a chance to scan for any errors as well. Also be sure that you are using paper that is compatible with your printer and suitable for your project.

    If you keep these simple steps in mind when creating your desktop publishing project you will achieve perfect publications that you can be proud of.