Begin at the end

You may be tempted at this point to simply begin by starting your layout – you have your photos and text, and above all, you have Scribus for making your layout. Why not just dive in and begin? The reason is that in order to get the best results (and waste less time in the long run) you want to consider the entire project, its workflow leading to the PDF creation, and even the printing.

There are a number of technical settings and decisions at the beginning which will greatly affect the success of your project. Having to undo and then redo is wasteful of your time and effort, and in some cases difficult. For example, if you plan on printing the final product on your local printer (the one connected to your computer), this presents limitations on paper size, and secondarily such issues as bleed, binding widths, and the sort of paper you might choose.

In case you see some terms in this section which you don't understand, these will be explained later, and there is a glossary at the end.

Talk to your printer

Of course, we're not talking about that piece of machinery attached to your computer, but here we mean the person at the print shop where you may have your PDF printed. Although many will think about this only after they have completed their project and created the PDF, be forewarned that you may only find at that time that some important choices about color, the format, or the choice of paper could cause you to go back and make some essential alterations. Consider your printer a resource on the physical creation of your work.

Fold some paper

Just as we did in the chapter Hands on, make a simple physical model of your project. By folding the paper as in your final brochure you can easily determine the spaces you have to work with and how they interact with each other. Notice how we used the guides to help us define the spaces available.

If you are making some sort of book, the type of binding is determined by the number of pages. A large book will have to have some type of square backed binding.

Make a timetable

Even if you are solely responsible for content and layout, factor in the printing process time as you look ahead to your deadline. For a short run (small number of copies), a digital printing process is probably a good choice, but for a large run, you might be more interested in offset printing. In that case, there is more work involved in the pre-press work, as well as setting up the machine and scheduling when it will be printed.

Finally, some other issues are important as well, such as the type and availability of the paper you wish to use, how this affects the final look of the project, and even the weight of your book, plus packaging if it must be shipped – essential to know if you will be distributing by mail.

So now you can see many variables outside of the design which impact considerations for the project as a whole. Especially when you consider some deadline you may have, backtracking can be either very expensive or impossible.