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Just Started - First Attempt

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Frank1952:
I've been creating magazines for several years in a number of different DTP apps, but this is the first time I've tried out Scribus. It was a very short learning curve and I'm very happy with the way the application works. Here is my first attempt of a cover. Maybe I'll come back and post some of the inside page layouts.

GarryP:
Nicely done Frank1952.

I have some minor comments if I may:

1. I like the way you've let the picture do most of the talking. The text is needed to give the potential reader an idea of what's inside but it's good that it doesn't get in the way of the image. A photo art magazine is all about the photos so why clutter the cover with unnecessary text? I think you've got it right.

2. At first I didn't like the colour of the logotype - I thought it was too "striking" - but after looking at it a bit more I'm coming round to liking it more. My thought process was something like: "Ooh, that's a bit bold isn't it? But hang on, that picture is nice and, yes, it somehow looks right to me now." Maybe it's something to do with the focus of the image, I don't know.

3. The text of "Special Feature" isn't quite vertically centred within the semi-transparent area. I don't know if that was deliberate or just because it can be difficult doing it manually in Scribus. One "trick" you can use - if you know that the text isn't going to change - is to convert the text to outlines and use the alignment tools to centre it. Not a great fix but it works.

4. Finally, and this is a very picky comment but, I'm not sure if some tweaking of the letter spacings might be needed. It could be a feature of the font you're using or it could just be me but in some areas, such as the "FE" in "FEATURE", the letters seem too close to each other. To me, the E seems to look a tiny bit smaller than the F which could be due to their close proximity and the way they're designed. It's not a massive thing but it was something that caught my eye very early on and I can't stop seeing it now (an optical illusion perhaps?).

Anyway, it's a very nice cover and I'm looking forward to seeing some of the inside layouts.

Frank1952:
Hi Garry,

Thanks for taking the time out to pass on your thoughts - all very valid.

This design was just put together as a quick run through of the basics of using the app, so things like kerning didn't get a look in on this first attempt, but I understand your points entirely.

The colours? Well, coming from a background of design and publishing, I just relied on the old method of picking a general colour for the masthead from a key colour in the underlying photo. It usually works but, as you rightly point out, it can create a somewhat bright result. The attached show what I mean. It's the same cover but with different images and different colours for the masthead and feature list - both colours culled from the image itself.

Anyway. I'm looking forward to seeing everything the app can do, so I'll be playing with it a lot more. If I hit any problems or issues, I'll be sure to come knocking here for some help.

Frank1952:
I've now had a chance to fiddle with things like baseline grids and text wrapping. All works superbly well. A sample page spread attached.

GarryP:
Nice again. I like the simple but effective way you've used a white text outline. Sometimes the simple stuff just works well.

One note on text wrapping (and you probably already know this but it's worth saying for anyone who doesn't already know), it's a reasonable rule to follow that you should generally make sure that the shape you're wrapping in or around is simple and doesn't go from concave to convex or have any "niches".

I don't know what you're used to in other software but Scribus can't handle complex shapes nicely when wrapping text. It tries its best but sometimes the result can look a bit odd.

In the attached screenshot the "m" of "Lorem" (first line, on the left) has been "orphaned" to the right of the the shape and (on the right) the "m" of "dignissim" (fourth line at the right) has been "orphaned" to the left of the text frame. Little things like this can be easily missed, especially when you're using someone else's text and you don't read it properly.

For most purposes Scribus does what's needed but it's worth knowing that some situations can cause it a bit of trouble.

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