UFO Believer Magazine

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I am one who believes that some Unidentified Flying Objects may actually originate from other planets, and I have heard every possible argument against the idea and heard every possibly belittlement of the idea ad-infinitum.  So...I decided to create a magazine for those of us who believe the same thing.  Not for debate, but just to talk about a common belief.  I chose Scribus to create this magazine because I think Scribus is a fantastic piece of software created for all the right reasons.

Below is a link to my website where you can download the first PDF or read online, which is not as good, to be honest, as I have not figured out how to show double page spreads that way.  There are also some links to interesting websites.  Let me know what you think.

Scribus 1.6.0 Stable
Windows 11


hi steven

i didn't read the magazine – just took a look at it:

  • you should work on a consistent layout
  • the cover looks like a wild collection of independent elements (way too many font faces) and a pattern independent colors and element placements.
  • the inside contains four different standard layouts (out of five double pages...)
  • less is sometimes more! – i would really prefer a recognizable style running through the whole magazine.


I agree with utnik. There's probably too much going on with different layouts, fonts and styles.

Better to keep it simple; it usually makes things look nicer. Look at any paid-for magazine and they generally use a small set of guidelines to drive their output.

One extra comment about the cover: It's not very inviting as I feel like it's shouting at me. It's a bit like looking at a street protest where everyone has their own differently coloured and written banners.

An image search for "air & space magazine cover" will show you some good examples of magazine covers that might fit well here. One big image to hook the reader and a few bits of text to draw them further in.

One suggestion would be to get permission to use something like this picture http://www.deviantart.com/art/Die-Glocke-The-Bell-121651192 for the cover, crop it down a bit so the bell is near the bottom-centre, then put a more simplified logotype at the top with some featured text down one or more sides, probably in plain white.

Start with something basic like that and build it up if you need to but only if you need to. If something doesn't pull its weight don't keep it in.


All very good points and I appreciate you taking the time to critique my work.  As for the cover, however, on this particular issue, it was exactly what I was looking to achieve.  I have gone totally conservative on future covers.  I am at work right now, so I do not have access to images.

As to the inside layouts, it may be down to the fact that my design education was not only horribly incomplete, but I have not used it in over 30 years.  That being said, I did independent studying on line to get a feel for proper magazine layout techniques and so forth.  Looking at grid structures, etc.  And there was no one way to do it, is what I came up with at every place I turned.

At magazinedesigning.com I found this:

Columns are essential tools to standardize your layout. They will help you in getting order and structure of your magazine, but do resist to imprison your thinking into standard format because rigidity dulls the creativity. To avoid that trap you can play with column width and shapes. You should treat each story as a separate unit and mix the number of columns in each story. One story can be laid out on a two column grid while the other can be laid out in three, four or more column grid.

So, I decided to let each article 'feel' right to me as I laid it out.  It may not be industry, but each one felt right for what it was to me.  This is only a for fun project and not actually intended for print.  I'm just having a good time with Scribus.
Scribus 1.6.0 Stable
Windows 11


If the result you got for the cover was what you wanted then I have no complaints at all. It's your magazine and I'm not in the position of being able to say anything is wrong.

magazinedesigning.com is a good place to look for articles and inspiration. It's well written and has interesting things to say that anyone looking at making their own magazine should have a look at it. Sometimes the advice can be conflicting but that's just the nature of something as diverse as publishing.

I totally agree with the quote about not restricting yourself to rigid layouts. I've lost count of the number of times I've read a newsletter (or similar) and seen the last three or four words of a paragraph orphaned off to an otherwise blank column just because the designer didn't bother, for instance, changing the column widths. A tiny tweak of a column width can put things right without the reader even noticing there's something different.

As for the use of different layouts then, again, if that's what you wanted then it's not for me to say otherwise.

If you'd allow me to give some specific advice I'd like to offer some minor changes that I think might help with future issues (I'll concentrate on the page 7/8 article):

1. Look for words that are by themselves and try and put them back together with their "parent" sentence. For instance, at the bottom of the first column on page 7 there's the word "On" all alone when it should be with the "October 23..." sentence. Try using a non-breaking space to keep the words together. ("Chupa-chupas" on page 8 is another example, but the other way round.)

2. Look for single lines of text and try and put them back together with their "parent" paragraph. For instance, the line at the bottom of page 7 column 2 "Over a period..." would look much better if it was with the rest of the paragraph on page 8. Try using a column/frame break to fix this.

3. Try and keep the top and bottom of image frames aligned with the corresponding top and bottoms of the text. That doesn't quite sound right but it's difficult to explain. By way of an example, look at the bottom-left image on page 7. The top-right corner of the image goes across a paragraph break and looks a bit awkward. If the top of the image was moved down a bit so that it matched the top of the "F" in "From" it would look neater. There's no golden rule on this so try different things and see what looks best. Maybe moving the image (or both images) up the page so it's more vertically centered would make a big difference?

4. Try and make sure that the padding around image frames - ones where the image fills the frame - is uniform on all sides. For example on page 7 there's a bigger gap between the image and the text above the image than there is at the right-hand side. Uniform padding normally looks nicer.

5. Try and make the gaps between columns a little bigger. At the moment you've got it at around the same width as a capital "M" but it would look better being at least two "M"s. This goes for the inside margin also (the text on the two pages is too close).

If you've tried to do all of this you might find that the text doesn't fit onto the pages anymore. In that case you can try slightly tweaking the font size, baseline grid, or using hyphenation to get it to fit.

Then, if there's still stuff wrong, you can look at editing the text slightly and see if some small changes make a big difference. Also, try using manual line breaks to see if you can get it looking better, automatic line breaks are not always in the best place.

All in all, good page design comes down to getting the overall look right and then a whole lot of minor tweaks to make it all look really good.

My second-best bit of advice would be to keep practising. Professional magazines look that good because the people working on them have had years - or even decades - of experience, and you can't get that overnight.

And (I think) my best bit of advice is to keep having fun experimenting with the software and see what you can make. If you're enjoying using it then you're likely to uncover more features which will come in useful.

I'm looking forward to seeing the next issue.


While it may be useful to use different styles for different content, I think it should be based on need.

So, if your first article is 2 column and the second one 3 column, you do not have to make the third article 4 or 5 column, you can revert to 2 column or 3 column also for that one. It depends on the article itself, not what has been used for the other articles.

Some types of content need longer lines, because otherwise the content looks "broken" and "split up". Other types of content can be read in narrow columns without problems.


All terrific suggestions.  They are fantastic.  I have taken a number of steps.

1) Changed the font (as I have wanted to for awhile anyway)
2) Changed to ragged right
3) Tightened the baseline grid.  It creates a much better overall page tone
4) Tweaked the glyph extensions and kerning (different in several places as well as individual paragraphs as needed)
5) Aligned images with the baseline grid more accurately
6) Did some rewriting as well as hard returns where needed to rejoin widows and orphans.
7) Widened the space between the columns

I believe, although not perfect, it has made a marked improvement.

Please, download and take another look: http://www.freewebs.com/stevenrf/UFO_Believers_Test_4.pdf

I am also going to attach the cover image of the second issue.  It was almost complete, but I believe I have some serious 'tweaking' to do...

[attachment deleted by admin]
Scribus 1.6.0 Stable
Windows 11


That's a definite improvement.

The body text looks much better and is far easier to read. Even just a simple change such as the font can make such a difference to readability.

The average reader probably won't notice all of the things you've done to improve things but they'll, at least, get the feeling that what they're reading has been nicely put together. (Small problems can fix in the reader's mind and get in the way of the content.)

For the cover of the second issue, I like it much better than the first. One nice big image to grab the potential reader's attention and a bit of text to draw them in further.

I realise that you're still working on it but I have a few very small "issues" (if I can call them that):

1. How would it look with the "BELIEVERS" on top of the steam? Not the black background, just the white text. It might look wrong, I'm just wondering what it would look like. (You might need to change the tracking so the text looks right.)
2. Courier Fonts. Hmm. I'm a firm believer that Courier (and the various variants) should only be used when you're trying to recreate something that's typewritten for the reason that it has to be typewritten. It's a personal thing so feel free to ignore me but I think another font would look better. (Sometimes I break my own guidelines!)
3. Not a problem but remember to change the date. It's so easy to forget something like that.

All in all, as I said earlier, I'm looking forward to seeing the next issue.


Thank you, Gary.  I felt it was a definite improvement as well.  I found a wonderful article on Designer's Insights about proper typesetting, which gave me even better knowledge about the subject.  I do find it fascinating.  I am posting a link to my second issue.  I used the tutorial on Designer's Insights to do the best justified type I could.  The key is to do your type ragged right to the utmost tightness, then justify.  If you have done it well, the type will merely justify without change the position of any text, IE: won't push anything the the next line, etc. Also, it helps to eliminate rivers.  It worked, and I believe it looks much the better for it.

Now, I have used your suggestion on raising the 'Believers' above the smoke, and I think it works very nicely.  It even adds to the depth of the image.  As far as the Courier typeface, I was thinking of my audience.  I feel it lends sort of an X-Files/Above Top Secret feel to things.

One question: It is one thing to do minor rewrites on something you have written to smooth out the typesetting kinks, but what about if you are using a client's copy?

Anyway, thank you again for all the time you have taken to give me help on this.  It sure is fun, that I wouldn't mind putting to practical use at some point: http://www.freewebs.com/stevenrf/UFO_Believers_Test_6.pdf
Scribus 1.6.0 Stable
Windows 11


You're welcome Steven.

I think I've found the article you mentioned here https://www.designersinsights.com/designer-resources/learn-to-typeset-like-a-true-print-designer/ and it looks very interesting. I've bookmarked it for a proper look later. Always good to learn more.

I think the change to "Believers" does look better. I wasn't sure if it would confuse things but it looks fine to me. (A quick experiment is sometimes all that's needed to see what looks good.) As for the use of Courier, if you're going for an X-Files sort of look then that's perfectly okay. If that's what you think fits well with your readership then that's what you should use.

Issue 2 is a definite improvement on Issue 1. I have some small issues in some areas but no real "show-stoppers".

On the re-writing copy issue, that's probably between you and the client. Show them what changes you've made, explaining why (and why it would look worse if you didn't), and most reasonable people will understand that you're trying to make their work look as good as you can. Most people are okay with that.

One other point I can make is that it takes quite a long time to download the PDF. It's only a few meg in size but it takes more than a minute for me to download and I've not got a slow internet connection. I realise that you might not have much choice over hosting and related things but it might be worth looking to see if you can make the PDF smaller.

Scribus can help a bit in this area; if you use the Maximum Image Resolution option - set to 144dpi (or even 72dpi at a push) which is fine for most screens - when you export to PDF you can sometimes drastically reduce the PDF size.

You can also use GIMP to try various simple things like converting PNGs to JPEGs (for instance if there's a transparency that's not being used). Or you could try changing the image quality; there's usually not much difference in visible image quality between 90% and 95% but the size of the file can be quite different.

Or there are more complicated ways such as those listed here http://orbitingweb.com/blog/optimizing-jpeg-images/

It's worth experimenting. If it takes too long to download something a lot of people just close the tab and move on to something else.


I don't know if I should respond here or start a new thread so people please tell me - or just move my response - if I am out of order here.

That tutorial -  designersinsights.com/designer-resources/learn-to-typeset-like-a-true-print-designer  - does something I have not sorted out how to do with Scribus, hanging quotation marks out to the left, beyond the "left wall" of the body of text. Is there any way to push anything out past the confines of the frame, or do I use indentation everywhere, except the quotation marks etc.? Am I making any sense here?

PS the new issue of Believers feels much improved!


I think here is a good place to jump in as you're asking about what has already been mentioned.

You should be able to do what you want with Optical Margins but they don't work consistently.

See this forum thread from 2012 http://forums.scribus.net/index.php/topic,384.0.html and follow the link to the bug tracker on the last post in the thread for more information including developer notes.

It's been targeted as a major severity issue for a fix in 1.5.4 but it's been nearly five years since it was first reported so you can take what you want from that.

Until it's fixed, one way you can do what you want, especially for simple paragraphs like that in the example on the website is to create a paragraph style with the left indent set to, for example 5pt, with first line index set to -5pt, then add a new guide 5pts to the left of the "proper" guide you're using and align the text frame (for just the text that needs it) to that new guide (see attached screenshot). It's not a perfect workaround - you need different styles and a separate text frame  - but it's usable for simple stuff.

[attachment deleted by admin]


Quote from: CGood on December 18, 2016, 07:56:57 PM

hanging quotation marks out to the left, beyond the "left wall" of the body of text. Is there any way to push anything out past the confines of the frame, or do I use indentation everywhere, except the quotation marks etc.? Am I making any sense here?

in the properties palette, text tab, have a look at "optical margins" : - )


As I mentioned in my answer above they don't work consistently, and haven't - as far as I know - since 2012 (or earlier).

The right-hand margin seems to work better than the left-hand one but there's still some work to do. I tried various experiments and can't get Scribus to do what CGood wants it to do, which is why I suggested the workaround.

If anyone can provide an example where it works then that would be great.


Glad you all like the second issue even more.  I have reduced the file size tremendously, by changing the Color setting from For Printer to Screen/Web, and max image at 72 DPI (As Gary suggested).  That reduced the output greatly, then I used a program called Orpalis PDF reducer. The result: Issue 1 - 1.8 MB, and Issue 2 - 2.4 MB.  I never really intended these for print, but I've been learning to try and make print ready PDFs, so I had those settings ticked.  At the moment, I can not really justify paying for a website, so download speeds are at the mercy of the Free Webs site.  If I ever feel I've 'made it', so to speak, perhaps I'll dole out for a real site.

The cover of Issue 2 has multiple layers, so I have to have transparency.  I did change the background image to a less heavy Jpeg, but the smoke and nose cone images have to be PNG.  No getting around that.  I will try and diddle some more to see if I can get any greater savings.

I've looked at the hanging quotes a lot, and tracked down the bug tracker as well.  It does only work natively on the right side with the optical margins settings.  I'm going to give Gary's suggestion a go to check out the results.  I hyphenate and use the right optical margin in articles.  It looks okay, saves space, and helps with reduction in rivers, but the only real reason I could think of needing both sides would be for Pull Quotes.
Scribus 1.6.0 Stable
Windows 11