Print to web to PDF

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Fifteen years ago, I was a print designer. I created utterly glamourous things like wholesale food flyers and 2-color advertising for clients who really liked red and black. I cut my teeth on Windows 3.1, Corel Draw, and PageMaker. I knew WordPerfect inside out.

I didn't have a lot of room to be innovative, so I made a point to be technically skilled. Before the days of computer-assisted image resizing I could use a proportion wheel in my sleep. Printers liked working with me because I understood how to format graphics for print and I always gave them files that output correctly.

Then came the web. It was a whole new paradigm in preparing graphics. Where print wants lots of pixels and consequently big files, putting images on the web means low resolution and smaller file sizes. I figured it out quickly and soon I was doing most of my design and graphics preparation for Internet publications.

This month I find myself working on a project that's smack dab in the middle of print and web. I'm doing the layout for a book that will be presented as a PDF on CD-ROM. It's neither print nor web, but something in between.

Considering that it might possibly be printed out by the readers, I've created margins to allow for single sided printing with hole-punching and to accommodate either A4 or US Letter paper.

But it's more likely that this will be read from the computer so the images, mainly b/w photos scanned from various news sources, are 72 dpi screen resolution.

Acrobat encourages you to 'downsample' images during the PDF conversion to make the file size of the finished document smaller, so I've taken matters into my own hands. I want to control the results as much as possible. With nearly 500 pages and over 350 images in a single PDF, I've got stay sharp and find ways to reduce the file size so that it can be opened in a reasonable amount of time.

Oh, by the way, the colors for this book? Red and black. Some things never change.

1 Comment

good luck with it. I just finished two similar projects -- CDROMs presented as PDFs -- and while I think it's a great, certainly affordable way to distribute your content, working with PDFs can be a real pain if you're not careful. More than once, I doubled my workload because wasn't paying attention and had to recreate all the PDFs. Something that may be of help is the ability to apply a template to a PDF, great for adding navigation elements. Let me know if you have any questions and good luck. Sounds interesting.

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  • todd: good luck with it. I just finished two similar projects read more