Design & Layout tips for better prints

A Rare Printer and the 3 Amazing Free Software you should use.

Hi, I am Francis Chuah – a long time photographer, designer and printer who is never satisfied with the status quo of anything.

This in-born attitude of “there must be a better way” has led me to these 3 relatively unknown gems which I use in my everyday work and I feel I should share with you.

This trio of community based, open-source software will make you wonder why anyone would pay hefty sums to be locked in to propriety software.

They are absolutely free and are all you need for ALL professional design and layout work. You will be amazed at what you can do with the power and sophistication they provide as well as the community support you have readily available to you.

In these pages I will be mainly discussing features pertinent to print production – to give you the tools to produce professional class pdf files for your printer including the understanding of page layout, the beauty of white space, bleed and more obscure stuff like “overprinting” etc.

This is the equivalent to Adobe Illustrator, CorelDraw and Affinity Designer. It is up there among the very best with incredible tools to get complex work done in a snap.

No product is perfect. For instance I wish it had some of the keyboard shortcuts we get in CorelDraw but then it can do some things you would labour with the others.

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This is the equivalent to Adobe In-Design and Affinity Publisher. It is great for books, catalogues and multi-page brochures.

It is very different to Word and OpenOffice in that it is not a word processor. It is a frames based product which has the great advantage of precise placement of all objects be they text, graphs or images which will not unexpectedly reposition when you edit some text. It is a true DTP (desk top publishing) software.

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What can I say about this wonderful image manipulating software? It has been my faithful tool through my many years as a photographer and it does everything so very well. I am not an artist but I can see how a more creative person can paint up amazing works with the array of tools it comes with.

My needs are simple and I appreciate the fact that it does everything so very well.

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A few quick tips for better prints.

Although the main focus of this tutorial blog is on the use of the 3 software tools, I will also be discussing basic design and layout issues that seem to confuse some of our customers.

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Open-source software (OSS)

OSS is a wonderful result of selfless individuals and collaborative groups sharing their programming codes for all to freely share, modify and use.

It is a great concept that produces truly solid applications because they are scrutinised by fellow software experts from around the globe.

A very important feature of OSS is their use of open system file formats that can be shared by many applications and your files do not become unusable if you should decide move on to a better product.

Here is a great link from year dot of Open Source. Please watch the video.