Ten things we learnt at the InDesign Conference

Indesign conference
The InDesign Conference 2016 took place last week in Washington D.C. A three day conference for over 450 InDesign users, experts, consultants, speakers and trainers. Our man Ken Jones was there and reports back.

1. Ben Schott is a one man publishing house. He researches, writes, designs and typesets his series of Miscellanies and Almanacs and articles. He is also a great speaker combining facts and opinions with intelligent humour.
2. Tweak Cloud opens up InDesign files to the web. Making it possible for InDesign users to upload professionally designed InDesign files to an online portal which then allows clients to make live changes  and output print PDFs.
3. Chartwell is a cool OpenType typeface for creating graphs from live text e.g bar graphs, pie charts in InDesign all from live data.
4. Adobe InCopy, as well as a copying editing tool that works alongside InDesign, can be used as an InDesign file viewer, think of it like Adobe Reader, and has now been reduced to $5 per month.
5. Powerful text formatting and typographical controls can be achieved with a combination of GREP find/change and paragraph styling. BookMachine article necessary I think!
6. Pagination is an online service that takes preprepared InDesign layouts and merges with Excel or live data to make instantly updated print PDFs.
7. GreenLight from Circular Software (ahem, my company) works with InDesign and PDF to let everyone involved in your workflow know that all your files are correct, complete and consistent.
8. Adobe Muse is developing into an impressively mature product. Muse is aimed at InDesign users wanting to create web pages and sites. It now caters for responsive designs and external editing of content too.
9. Page Proof allows for secure online markup and sign off of PDFs and other digital content including video and audio.
10. Most InDesign users seem to be Democrats, judging by the opinions voiced on Weds 10th – the last day of the conference and the day after the election!

Ken Jones is a publishing software expert with over ten years experience as Technical Production Manager, software trainer and developer at DK and Penguin Group UK. Ken’s company ‘Circular Software’ provides software tools and services for a range of illustrated book publishing customers including Hachette, Macmillan, Penguin Random House, Thames & Hudson and Nosy Crow. Contact Ken via twitter @circularken or www.circularsoftware.com

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  1. 1. re: Tweak Cloud, The last thing I or any designers I work for would ever want is for our clients to make changes to our InDesign files over the web. They are not professional designers and the minute you let them start moving things around and make terrible design choices and fall in love with them because they got to “be creative” and fell in love with it. Just because software makes something possible does not mean you should do it!

    2. re: Chartwell – it’s only useful for EXTREMELY simple graphs. It’s a tiny circle bandaid for the huge, gaping wound that is Adobe’s terrible graphing tool in Illustrator that has not been improved since 1988.

    3. I do agree that MUSE is underrated. I love it and used it for my website.

    4. Learnt? Seriously? Haven’t we had enough of the dumbing down of America? Can we please use real words?

    1. Hi Matt and thanks for commenting on the post.

      1. I agree that letting clients loose on your InDesign documents could see screen res gifs and various shades of comic sans creeping in to your design masterpieces. That is why Tweak Cloud lets the InDesign user set restrictions. No-one can move or change anything unless you allow it. But allowing the marketing dept to tinker with the book blurb on your next book jacket in their own time might save your deadlines and sanity? It’s better than you have assumed so might be worth a bit more investigation before you write it off.
      2. I haven’t tried Chartwell yet, just thought it was neat and, as I hadn’t been aware of the idea before, that I would share it. Sounds like it’s not for you though.
      3. Glad we can agree on something 🙂
      4. I downt no how two spell well so I asked my computa. It seems ‘learnt’ is actually a correct word for use in America but more common in British English https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/usage/learnt-vs-learned which is where I am writing from. I hope that calms you down. 😛

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