What cloud-based “design” software can be used to create brochures that need to include photos, text, and other design elements, but still renders a 300 dpi PDF for professionally printing?
Is it possible to export/print a 300 dpi PDF of a brochure designed in Google Slides? (with no pixelation; as if it is of InDesign > PDF quality.) If so, how?
In an effort to create better workflows, my colleagues want me to design brochures in cloud-based software like Google Slides or even Google Docs. They find the process of communicating edits through cloud-based platforms easier than emailing the PDFs I render from InDesign back and forth. They want to be able to either make edits directly in the brochure themselves, or just quickly tag me if the edits are more involved. That is the ultimate goal.
I want to make it easy on everyone, but I’m not sure what software I can use that allows multiple people to directly edit materials with ease (either cloud-based or desktop). The people I am working with are not allowed an Adobe License. So, is there any other cloud-based software anyone could recommend where multiple users can edit “live” whilst still producing high resolution printed materials?
Also, I might be showing my ignorance here, but I always thought online “design” software wouldn’t render high res output when trying to professionally printing materials like brochures with photos, text, and shapes etc? But then I was thinking of companies like VistaPrint…and they def print high res stuff while also allowing you to design online…right?
Anyways, I’m looking for some guidance on recommendations of cloud-based “design” software in general, and if anyone has had success on printing high res from Google Slides. I have tried increasing the page size in Google Slides to double, and even triple the final size needed, but I’m still left with slight pixelation / fuzziness around text and within photos. (I have also multiplied the final page size by 300 (dpi) and setting the “px” page dims to that… with no luck at a clean final output.)
Any other hacks someone could share with me? I’m wondering how everyone else communicates their assets and subsequent edits with their clients/colleagues. I didn’t think emailing pdfs, having users mark it up with comment bubbles and edits, then emailing it back, would be so hard, but here we are…
People that ask for that are looking for control, and at the end of the day it would be like setting up a powerpoint file which allows them to have “full” access and control. They will essentially design it themselves. For example, they will add clipart, change fonts, use neon colors, copy and paste copyrighted images off the web into the design, etc. They need to understand that you, as a designer, with your set of unique skills and expertise need to make the final decisions on what works, what looks right, keeping to brand standards, etc. IMO, once you create a system that gives your non-designer co-workers full control and access to the file, everything goes downhill pretty quickly.
If the back and forth is too much, consider using Adobe’s built in “share for review” feature which is cloud based and cuts back on the back and forth by providing a web based preview that they can markup and add comments.
If you are all on the same network, you could look into Adobe InCopy, but that is only if you are predominantly using InDesign. InCopy allows for colleagues to make text edits as well as add comments. 8 or 9 years ago my team considered using InCopy, but at the end of the day decided against it. So, I’m not sure how much has changed, perhaps InCopy is cloud based now.
I’d just be restating what @CraigB said, so I’ll skip it and say that I agree for the reasons he already stated.
InCopy enables editors to edit text without messing with the general design. I’ve used it at a couple of jobs, and it works well. However, you said they weren’t allowed to use Adobe software for some reason, so if that’s the case, InCopy won’t work.
I’d never use Google Docs or any word processor for serious design work. Unfortunately, I don’t know anything about Google Slides, but it’s not a serious design tool.
I don’t know the work you do, but if this were me, I’d push back on it if the changes they make are anything other than text edits and corrections. As Craig mentioned, they’re just looking to control what you’ve done directly in order to bypass you. They will also take whatever you’ve done and scramble it to the point of causing more problems than it solves. Maybe that isn’t an issue for you, but if it is, tell them you checked and asked around and that there are no good solutions.
I definitely agree with @Just-B and @CraigB. If my colleagues asked me for that I’d push back.
If they truly want to stick with professional work than they just need to understand the options and limits (with purpose) available so you as the designer are the only one editing the file and able to produce a final, proper print ready file.
Otherwise, if professional is not their concern, they can ask the company to pay for a Canva account…. but you’re still asking for too many hands to be involved with that option.
Personally I love the idea of InCopy. I didn’t know it existed until now!
Sending PDFs by email? Are we back in the 90s? Is it “Hammertime”? Someone fetch my parachute pants!!
You have an outdated workflow. Share for Review is the way to go. Your proofers don’t need any Adobe software or even a user account to make their comments. And they can see the comments made by the other proofers in real time, so people don’t make redundant comments.
At the online Adobe conference a few months ago I saw a quick preview of a feature they said they were going to release sometime this year. You create your docs in ID, Share for Review, then your proofing team has the ability to make small text edits back in your ID doc. No Adobe sub necessary on the part of your proofers. It looks like they are trying to merge some of the Indesign/Incopy workflow capabilities into Indesign alone. Incopy might be on its way out.
I have a long-time client who insists on just that — emailed PDFs. She likes to print them out and pass them around to the relevant people in her office.
They all scribble (mostly illegible) notes on the printouts. Then she shoots photos of the marked-up printouts with her phone’s camera before texting them back to me. She told me it would be easier if she could FAX them to me, but I quashed that idea as soon as she mentioned it. I haven’t dealt with faxes since, probably, 1995.
I’ve tried introducing her to more streamlined ways of handling all this, but she balks and blames it on the people in her office liking to see, hold, and write on printouts. I finally gave up. I just add a few hundred extra dollars to their projects for the time I spend dealing with this stupid way of doing things and all the back-and-forth emails and text messages of me asking her to decipher the scribbles on what she sends back.
As the saying goes, “You can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.”
While you have a point on how emailing PDFs back and forth is archaic, the larger picture I need advice on is how to design materials so that my teammates can directly edit these materials, or even start filling out the content portion of the brochures themselves…kind of like a template. I believe “Share for Review” is a way for users to only make comments on docs, similar to how commenting in a PDF works, as opposed to directly editing materials.
The reason why they mentioned Google Slides/Docs is because they can make changes in Google Slides themselves, start filling in the content information while they wait for me to design background images etc, or simply tag me if the edit is more involved.
I super appreciate everyone providing me with solutions on how to make the “back and forth” editing process easier. I will look into those solutions. I also 100% understand everything everyone is saying about WHY it is a horrible idea to allow users to directly edit materials. I am with you. I am more or less writing to this forum to show proof that their version of “collaborative design” is not only inefficient, but also not possible.
So let me try framing it this way:
Is it possible to export high res, professional print-ready documents with bleeds from Google Slides?
* If yes, please share how because I have tried exporting as a pdf from Google slides, putting it in Ps and re-exporting it high res; placing in InDesign and exporting it high res with bleeds, trying to export as SVG…and all the photos and artwork are still rendering with poor resolution.
What cloud-based collaborative design software can I use that would allow for more than one designer to work on the same materials, while still also resulting in high res, professional, print-ready documents
Again, if the general consensus is that it is not possible, or that software like that doesn’t really exist, then I guess that’s the answer…?
I really do appreciate everyone’s feedback. I’m very frustrated that I don’t seem to know the answer / have a solution to appease everyone.
So, this may or may not help you. But on on project a few years back we had a lot of back and forth and a lot of changes for a relatively simple document (4-6 page document shard as a digital PDF).
Because there were frequent changes, we predefined all Paragraph styles and then matched and used the same styles in Word and InDesign. By doing so, when we placed copy into InDesign from the word doc the styles already mapped and matched to the design in InDesign which allowed us to flow and copy and paste the content quickly once it was approved.
I will also say that Adobe InCopy allows for multiple people to check in and check out a content file (text only) that you can use as you design.
I also think you somewhat answered your own question. Let them collaborate using Google Docs or what not, and once they tell you it is final and good to go, then you can run with it and then use Share for Review. If their changes are extensive you can say “go back and update the Google Doc” and then tell them to let you know once approved.
I feel your pain, but at the end of the day some of it is training people, IMO. For example tell them, I need X days once copy is final and approved. Minor changes and revisions after that are okay, but extensive revisions will result in “starting over” where you need X days again.
That’s pretty much a description of InCopy. However, InCopy is mostly made for longer document text, but you ought to check into it to see if it will work. Although I’ve never used it, there are cloud services that support using InCopy, if a local solution doesn’t work. For example, there’s GoProof, (1 more link) which also has a proprietary system of some kind for what you’re asking about, but I know nothing about it.
The trouble is, this all involves licensing fees of one sort or another. If your team members want a system like you’ve described, let them try to talk whatever higher-ups into it who are preventing them from having Adobe licenses or whatever. If they want it, give them the options and let them fight for it. I can’t see anything that Google offers as being the answer, though.
Performing massive edits once layout begins is a time consuming, expensive way of working. The traditional publishing workflow is: writers and editors do their job before it goes to layout. When it moves to layout the discussion should only be about aesthetics.
Use the right tool for the job. Google slides is not a tool for prepping designs for commercial print.
The professional solution would be Indesign+Incopy.
You use Indesign, the editors use Incopy. You put your ID file in the cloud, Dropbox, Google, whatever. The editors open it with Incopy and can see the layout and edit text in the text frames you designate. They may make changes that affect text flow, so you will need to go in and deal with that. When you are done you use ID to output for print.
If your editors DON’T need to see layout and their role is strictly ongoing text edits, you could skip Incopy and use Wordsflow by EM Software. You would have ID installed on your computer, along with the Wordsflow plug in. You use Wordsflow to link to Word docs in the cloud, in a shared space. Dropbox, Google, whatever. The only software the editors need is Word. They use that to make changes to the Word docs. Those link to the appropriate text frames in your ID doc. You don’t need to reimport or re-place the files. If they need to see the layout you do Share for Review, then they can use that as the basis to make more changes to the Word docs. Then when everyone is done, you output the ID for print.
While Share for Review is handy - it’s far from a finished product and how much effort Adobe put into this is dependent on whether the main stakeholders want to pay any more to make this feature better, otherwise, like all the other things added to Adobe it is left to the wayside to rot and be forgot.
There are suggestions already made - InCopy being your best workflow and very good cost point.
You do have other options that are very expensive.
Actually someone else has already gathered the options so this is easier.
My main issue with all encompassing editor that anyone can make edits is that it’s problematic.
How do you track who made what changes? Who is responsible for the edits and mistakes?
What you need to look for is a hierarchy system.
You upload the file to be edited
It is reviewed by a Manager or someone in Charge to ensure it’s acceptable version
It’s distributed by their team to the editors who have a sub-level of permissions
Those edits are submitted internally and approved by the hierarchy - i.e., the sub-team, to a manager, who then maybe even approves all edits to the ‘Owner’ of the files
Only then the owner can send the files back to you completed.
This absolves you of errors. As it will be fully reviewed.
That sub-hierarchy-team can be internal/external or a mixture.
But you need it. So that only 1 person submits the final files to you.
Other systems to look at would something like I’ve used before
it was Workfront ProofHQ but it appears to be bought over by Adobe which I’m quite surprised by https://www.workfront.com/proofhq
But it works very well - you upload a PDF to a platform.
Then people can comment and ask queries in real time.
I used to put together a catalog for an electronics company which had about 1000 items listed per page with prices that changed every year. It was a pain getting hand written changes every year.
We submitted this proposal and they got a subteam to input the prices - the manager approved their comments - and then once a section was approved for corrections - they were reuploaded as a new proof and that section was signed off.
It worked flawlessly and cut the project time by more than half.
My first reaction is a big no. There is no bleed option and everything is at screen resolution so maybe if your slide dimensions include bleed and you make it 24 times finished size (so when you reduce it down, the dpi approaches 300). Even then, everything is in RGB and your text will probably be rasterised.