InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are the defacto standards for desktop publishing. But having the software and learning to use it doesn't make a professional desktop publisher, designer or photographer. You have to know some of the principles of what makes a good page, and how to incorporate copy and graphics effectively. Having an inherent sense of what a balanced, visually appealing page is, is important. InDesign, Illustrator and Photoshop are great tools. But they're just that —...Read More ▼
Whether for drafting company brochures or printing new business cards, publishing software is an essential tool for many business owners. There's a lot to consider when deciding which program to purchase. For some businesses, page layout software that's focused more on enterprise-level operation and pairing with third-party companies, like printing services, can be the best option. For smaller, at-home projects that need a professional appearance but don't demand control over the publishing intricacies that page layout software provides, desktop publishing software may be a better choice.
Regardless of which is best for your business, it's crucial to consider what features your company needs. While most software includes tools for managing text and building professional documents, individual features vary greatly.
Why Buy Desktop Publishing Software?
Publishing software allows your business to produce professional-grade documents at a fraction of the cost of commercial printing. Restaurants that need to print menus, businesses looking to produce an e-book, and a writer looking to self-publish a novel can all benefit from either desktop publishing or page layout software.
Publishing content in a professional manner establishes a good face for your business. A publishing system that is flexible and has a lot of features allows you to adjust your print materials to fit your business, regardless of how its style or feel changes over time. Most software comes with the ability to edit and filter images, create elegant text styles, or layer elements to create visual effects. With the proper support systems, workers can learn how to effectively and efficiently create documents and edit content.
Besides presenting your company in a professional manner, publishing software can serve as a more efficient way to create content. Every business owner has used a word processor like Microsoft Word, but those same projects may be better off in publishing software like InDesign. A typical example is flyers. It's easy to hop on a word processor and create a flyer for your business. But with publishing software, you can use more features and create a better, attention-grabbing flyer for your business.
The page layout software will likely be more expensive than the desktop publishing software because of the multitude of features. While you can purchase some of these programs for a one-time fee, others are available on a subscription basis. Depending on the magnitude of your project and how long you'll need to use the software, it may be worth it to either invest in a service for a one-time fee or opt for a subscription-based service. The advantage to subscription services is that they often provide update options, so you will always have the latest software.
Features to Look For
There are a few important features to look for when considering publishing software. Besides the different sharing and publishing options, publishing software should come with a full selection of tools for design and page layout.
- Layout tools – Make sure you find a program that is user-friendly and fits your skills as a designer. Some programs have a steep learning curve, so it's important to find one with layout and organization tools that are easy to pick up. For more experienced designers, the ability to do things like group objects and arrange layers can be a crucial aspect of a program. Also, you should be able to quickly reconfigure paragraphs and toggle the snap-to-grid alignment.
- Design tools – Just about all of these programs should have tools to adjust graphics, add filters to photos or edit images. The best programs, however, allow you to go even further by designing things like smartphone apps, e-books and QR codes.
- Text options – You should be able to do things like create drop caps, type text along a customized path and treat letters as individual shapes. Some programs even allow you to create visual effects. While text options are important, they take a back seat to layout and graphic tools for these programs.
Common Desktop Publishing Software Questions & Answers
If you are laying out a project for print you need to use a combination of software. Adobe CC includes InDesign. InDesign on its own is a okay program. It works best with Photoshop and Illustrator. It is a layout program. Illustrator is great for vector graphics and a specific kind of illustration. Logos and branding work great in Illustrator. Photoshop is for photo retouching and getting creative with pixel based images. Photoshop is also a illustration tool. Now when you have your...Read More ▼
When I was starting up my business I invested a bit of money with a graphic designer to create my logo and some graphics elements that I used for both my business cards and website. Then, for my business cards, I printed them using Vista Print but with my custom graphics (cost is reasonable and I was able to create the business card myself quite easily, even though I'm not a designer). I'd say it depends on your what your business is, but for me, as a marketing and PR agency, the investment in...Read More ▼
I look for relationship, reliability, flexibility, and timeliness to delivery - long before price. Cheapest price does not always mean business. What are your core values, what is important to you to provide to your customers, etc...I ask this because, for example...as a consultant, coach - with tons of us out there, I could deliver on my core values and go inexpensive..but that is devaluing my work, and customers will see that - therefore it works against me - it certainly doesn't work for...Read More ▼
I like to highlight this: 1. Clarify startup business ideas - to sell 3D printers or to use 3D printers to provide services or to rent 3D printers or to run other business but using 3D printers to enhance the results. 2. I suppose you wanted to use 3D printers to provide services - this is the most capital intensive model. Different targeted customers required different types of 3D printers and material investment will be onerous if the mixture of customers are not correct. 3. 3D business...Read More ▼
List of 16Desktop Publishing Software Buying Guide
Adobe FrameMaker 11 is page layout software that gives you greater control over technical documents.
Adobe InDesign is Mac publishing software with the tools to unleash your creative spirit.
CorelDraw Graphics Suite X6 goes beyond traditional publishing to make it powerful page layout software.
MultiAd Creator Professional is page layout software with strong customer support.
You can create beautiful print or online projects with Lucidpress.
PageFocus Pro is basic page layout software that includes many of the tools you will need for self-publishing.
PagePlus X7 is easy-to-use page layout software with the benefits of powerful design applications without a steep learning curve.
PageStream - Desktop Publishing
Utilize dozens of editing tools to create all types of content with PageStream.
PrintMaster is a desktop publisher for Mac that helps you create projects of all shapes and sizes.
Printworks is a Mac publishing application designed for users of all skill levels to create a variety of content.
Microsoft Publisher is an easy-to-learn page layout application that gives you countless tools for manipulating text and images.
QuarkXPress - Desktop Publishing
QuarkXPress 9.5 is one of the few page layout software applications with videos support features.
Swift Publisher is Mac publishing software that helps you create professional projects like cards and flyers with ease.
The Print Shop
The Print Shop is Mac publishing software that combines images and design tools in one application to help you create beautiful projects.
The Print Shop Professional
The Print Shop 3.0 Professional is easy-to-use page layout software that has plenty of templates and graphics to create any type of publication.