Desktop publishing (dtp) covers so many subject areas, that no single site could cover it all. Tech writers should know about, and have experience doing, a variety of desktop publishing -- books, manuals, magazines, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, flyers, advertisements . . . the list goes on. Some believe that desktop publishing includes online manuals, multimedia CD-ROMs, and Web Publishing, and in a very true way, they're right. Virtually all can be created and manipulated on a desktop computer, and some of what we might say about desktop publishing of paper products could extend to Web publishing or CD-ROM publishing.
   I'd like to make the distinction between desktop publishing and other kinds of publishing based on the media used. The media used in each instance offers unique advantages and disadvantages of communication that should be recognized and addressed. For instance, people tend to scan large paper pages, like newspaper pages, in a backwards "s" pattern, but people reading web pages are drawn first to the "noisiest" spots on the page -- like blinking text or animated gifs.
   Based on that distinction, this page will focus mainly on paper-media publishing. Check out Web Publishing to learn more about dtp in a webbed environment

Good desktop publishing starts with a good design. (Actually, most good things start with good design, eh?) Design is the organization of ideas and materials on the page or screen, and includes type, graphics, empty space, and a host of other elements that help organize the visual and textual rhetoric of the document, and focus the reader's attention. Good design, in other words, is not only aesthetically pleasing, but functional. It should be attractive and help the page achieve its purpose.
Check out some of the links below for more tips on design.

    Design by the Moon Diana Aguayo's design education site is a great place to start. Don't overlook "Steps to Design" and "Elements of Design."
    Design for Reading, an article by Gordon Wolff in Whiskey Creek Document Design, an e-journal out of Australia. Outstanding!
    Ready for something different? The Store offers step-by-step design projects that will help you learn more about dtp design. You'll also find collections of clip art, dtp templates, style sheets, and such here as well. Drop by, and tell Chuck Green I sent you.
    The mother of all dtp sites, however is There you'll find the greatest collection of materials, tips, and links than at any other site on the 'net.

Bill Klein's Homepage UMSL English Dept. UM-St. Louis - - Revised 10/23/98
Copyright & Copy; 1998 William D. Klein