What are the most annoying technical challenges doing Layout Design?

Would love to know what your main pain points are? Specifically in:

  1. Laying out each page, after you’ve designed the main spreads.
  2. How do you organize the text changes with the client after you’ve sent the design over (do you face these text edits often)?
  3. If there’s actually something else that bothers you most in the process, please shoot :).

I’ve been working on a product to get the layout design a bit easier for us. But I’m still in the very early stages. So I thought I’d turn to you for questions.

Thanks a ton,
Leart

Laying out each page, after you’ve designed the main spreads.

I enjoy the design and layout process.

How do you organize the text changes with the client after you’ve sent the design over (do you face these text edits often)?

Annotated PDFs.

If there’s actually something else that bothers you most in the process, please shoot :).

I feel like I’m missing something with your questions, but, no, I have no pain points when it comes to layout.

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Good luck with that. Good layout design combines art, science, instinct, and most often a sizable and inescapable dose of hard work. People have been trying to make it “easier” for decades, but that pain can actually be an indispensable element in the process. If I had a dime for every time a Marketing slug proposed I should “just make a template we can populate later,” I’d be lounging on my island now instead of typing this.

So does your product finalize the copy in advance?

There are always emergencies, unforeseen changes and editing for length, but a process in which writers routinely change their minds and fiddle with things right up until the time it’s printed is a recipe for expensive, wasteful mediocrity.

I typically have a discussion with every client (where it’s relevant) about workflow and how they can minimize their costs by sticking to the plan or totally exhaust their budget by not doing so. They usually get the point.

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As Steve-O said: There is no pain point. Every problem is a solution waiting to happen, especially the Ka-ching type.

I can’t think of any. I use up to 20 different master pages when I design a catalog, and that covers every possible style of layout on the project. Then it’s just a matter of applying the master to the correct page.

Depends on the project/client. I prefer to use a Indesign/Incopy workflow and let the clients make all their own text changes. Next choice is Indesign/Wordsflow which lets us make bilateral text changes through linked Word files in the cloud. Third preference is to import their PDF comments and let ID make the changes. They usually request up to 12 rounds of proofs when they go this way though, so I try to discourage it in favor of the first 2 proofing methods.

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Staples just called. They want their Easy Button back.

I print stuff that would be made with whatever magic layout tool you are proposing. If it has code to deliver a shock through the keyboard when a designer thinks they don’t need bleed, I might be interested.

Hi all,

Thank you so much for all the replies.
These really help a lot.

I hadn’t actually heard of Wordsflow before. Seems super helpful!

Just to clarify, the tool I’m working on is actually on trying to get the client to make copy changes while seeing the final design, without having copy hiding in text boxes, or, needing us to do every change and send back the files. Obviously, to do so, there’s a lot of “automation” to be put in place so that everything remains in their place without needing us to have a look again for widows, overlaid elements etc.

If there’s anything else that comes in mind that might be helpful, please let me know.

Thanks.

It sounds like you are describing the features of InCopy.

With an Indesign/Incopy workflow the designer creates the ID file then outputs an Incopy version to the cloud, in a location such as dropbox. The client has their own version of InCopy and uses that to open the file in the cloud and make changes. The client has the option of viewing the layout of the document, with all the assigned formatting and graphics. They can see everything the designer sees. It’s a full graphic proof. Then the designer periodically relinks the Incopy file in the cloud to the ID file on their computer to update the master file with the clients changes. The designer makes additional text and graphic changes and updates the Incopy file in the cloud. And repeat until done.

What kind of client are you referring to? If you’re in a professional publishing environment, there are tools and procedures for these kinds of problems (inCopy being one of them). If you’re working with a new client who knows nothing about publishing, that’s not a viable solution. Between these two extremes lie all kinds of different scenarios. Every publishing situation is different — there is no one-size-fits-all solution.

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