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Scribus => Beginner Talk => Topic started by: ruperty on May 12, 2017, 04:15:22 pm

Title: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on May 12, 2017, 04:15:22 pm
Hi,

I'd welcome some feedback of my initial attempt at laying out a document, attached.

I had a few technical questions


Now, I am picking up the technical aspects of layout. But what I won't be able to pick up is a good eye for design. So, I would welcome any suggestions for making it look good, which it doesn't at the moment :)




Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on May 12, 2017, 05:43:55 pm
It's a good start Rupert.

To answer your questions:

* You can make the first letter of a paragraph bigger by using Drop Caps. You can only use these if you create a paragraph style (for long documents, styles are the way to go rather than direct formatting). Menu "Edit -> Styles" will get you the style tools. Then you can apply styles using the Style Settings part of the Text tab of the Properties Palette.

* Don't extend text boxes across pages, link them instead. Select the first frame, then menu "Item -> Link Text Frames" (there's an icon on the toolbar too) then select the second frame. Text will flow from the first to the second. You can link as many as you want but don't link too many frames together. Only create links between frames for individual articles/chapters.

* The message tells you that one of your images has a lower DPI than the minimum recommended DPI. You can change the minimum value via "File -> Document Setup / Preflight Verifier". Change the "Lowest allowed Resolution" to whatever you want. 300 is normal for print work and 72 is fine for most stuff that will be read on-screen-only. You can disable this feature altogether but it's not recommended. If you need the output DPI to be a certain value then you will have to get a higher-resolution image.

Some extra bits of advice:

* If the robot in the image is the main part of the image, don't put it near the crease (between pages). If people are reading it in a single-page PDF reader layout they won't see it properly, and if it's in a magazine you'll have a similar problem. Try a different layout.

* Don't put the text so close to the image. It's usually good to have a gap of at least the same height as a line of text.

* It might be better to have a larger gap between columns. They seems a little too close for me.

I would mention justifying the text but I think that's probably something for later on.

I hope some of that helps.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: CGood on May 12, 2017, 06:17:50 pm
GarryP posted while I wrote, so pardon some repetition.

A couple of ideas to look up and learn about. I'm too slow a typist to attempt any more than a few pointers here. Justification and hyphenation of text can add a sense of form and neatness.

Perhaps add a sans serif for headline for interest. Consider one possibility, a headline in small caps and a subhead in a gray, giving variation within a headline typeface.

Give the various pieces space.

Be wary of the color changes within the head. A good idea but to me it feels like it is not working here. The text below is crowded up against the bottom of the photographs.

Having parentheses hang into a new line is awkward.

Out of the scope of Scribus but consider reshooting the image, it is not helping the sense of design you are reaching for. Background tonal mergers and clutter impede the photograph.

It looks like you may have used the return to force new lines - if so I don't believe you need to do that.

See my quick example pdf.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: CGood on May 12, 2017, 06:23:54 pm
One additional idea - perhaps to consider later - is the use of a grid concept to help with over all page organization.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on May 13, 2017, 10:30:19 am
Just to refine something that CGood said above, you can use a "grid concept" to help you define your page layout but please don't use the GRID itself, use GUIDES instead. The GRID can be used to help with drawing shapes but GUIDES should be used for page layout.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on May 13, 2017, 01:57:38 pm
It looks like you may have used the return to force new lines - if so I don't believe you need to do that.

Thanks, all, for the good suggestions, that I will work through. On this point, though, how do you set a new paragraph; so that it is indented and without drop caps (which I only want in the first paragraph)?
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on May 13, 2017, 02:25:05 pm
* First set-up a character style for your body text as you want the text to look.
* Then set-up a paragraph style based on the character style while also setting how you want your paragraphs to look (indents, spacing, etc.).
* Then set-up another paragraph style based on the first paragraph style but also add the drop caps formatting.

Apply the first paragraph style (not drop caps) to the whole frame, then apply the second paragraph style (with drop caps) to just the first paragraph.

Once you have set-up your styles you can make changes very quickly by just changing the underlying character style or either paragraph style. (Always make changes to the "base" style first so that the change ripples up the chain.)

See the very simple attached example with a Body Text character style which is used by the Body Text paragraph style which in turn is used by the Body Text Drop Cap paragraph style. Any changes to the character style will automatically be applied to any text formatted using either paragraph style.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on May 13, 2017, 03:40:32 pm

I'm slightly confused, how do you denote a new paragraph without a carriage return?

* First set-up a character style for your body text as you want the text to look.
* Then set-up a paragraph style based on the character style while also setting how you want your paragraphs to look (indents, spacing, etc.).
* Then set-up another paragraph style based on the first paragraph style but also add the drop caps formatting.

Thanks, very useful, it worked well (apart from above query).
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: CGood on May 14, 2017, 07:13:07 am
Ruperty - my error - it seems like copying text from a pdf loses the flow of a line of text and imposes a new line. I tried copying your text from his pdf back to the sample I posted. It retained new lines even when given plenty of space to flow the text. I didn't realize but it appears to be a property of pdfs, not your particular text.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: Nermander on May 14, 2017, 03:25:16 pm
I'm slightly confused, how do you denote a new paragraph without a carriage return?

"Carriage return" is really not a concept when using Scribus, when you hit Enter you are inserting a "paragraph break", which means you are ending the current paragraph and starting a new.

Paragraph styles are applied paragraph by paragraph. This is not unique to Scribus, every Word processing application will work like this.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on June 17, 2017, 02:09:22 pm
Hi,

I've made some cracking progress with my first document. I really like the Scribus software (thanks) and have enjoyed formatting the document and appreciate how much more powerful it is compared to a word processor.

Would people be able to give me some more feedback on this "final" draft? Any suggestions for improvement?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/xctk4vdivcxyymi/NSofR%20v1.1.pdf?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/xctk4vdivcxyymi/NSofR%20v1.1.pdf?dl=0)

I did have one question of something I couldn't work out how to do. Is there a way of dynamically referencing figure panels, such "top left p2" or "see Robotics panel"? Currently my references are just static text.

Regards,
Rupert
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on June 17, 2017, 02:56:59 pm
Nice work Rupert. A big improvement from the last version that I saw.

I have some suggestions, some of which might sound a little bit petty, but I think they're worth mentioning:
1. Pages 3-6 are missing the headers and footers.
2. The (C) Rupert Young text sometimes comes a bit near the body text, e.g. page 2. As does the June 2017 text, e.g. page 8.
3. The diagram on page 6 (Levels of Perception) is a bit pixelated (I assume it's an import). Scribus can easily do this sort of thing so a little bit more work will make it look better.
4. The graphs on pages 7&8 are not up to the same quality as the rest of the images. Are better ones available?
5. The "Damned Statistics" heading on page 7 looks lost with no text near it (see next comment).
6. Sometimes there are large areas of white space. White space isn't a bad thing in itself but it can be managed a bit better. For example, on page 3, try moving the text into the vertical centre of the image and moving the text closer (see attached Capture1.png). The same goes for other pages. Also, don't be afraid of having text and images in "the same row" as that can make a page more interesting to look at. Have a look here https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Page_Layout_-_The_Basics for some examples.
7. On page 3 you start a bullet list but it's very difficult to see where the list goes next. Can things be re-arranged so that the list is wholly on the same page?
8. The graph on page 8 has no title. Don't know if this is on purpose.
9. I think the block quotes on pages 1 & 10 - "Nothing in biology..." and "Nothing in behaviour..." - should be either black or a different colour to the figure titles. It's just a bit confusing. Also, could you add the authors of the quotes?
10. If the images on page 10 are related to those on page 9 (under the same title?) then I think you could use some graphic device to group/join them. This could be something as simple as a line but the reader should know that they're "together".
11. Have you tried a bit of simple typesetting yet? I think this document would benefit from having fully-justified text but you might have to do some practising first to get it looking right.

Anyway, feel free to ignore anything I've said. A lot of it is just my opinion. It's a great document which I think could be "finished off" by putting a teeny bit extra time into some of the small details.

P.S. At present - 1.4.6 - there is no way to dynamically reference things in the way you want.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on June 18, 2017, 06:51:17 pm
Nice work Rupert. A big improvement from the last version that I saw.

11. Have you tried a bit of simple typesetting yet? I think this document would benefit from having fully-justified text but you might have to do some practising first to get it looking right.

Thanks, looks very useful. I'll work through these points during the week.

Just on the last point. As my main style guide I am using New Scientist articles which don't full-justify. I did try full-justify but that left absurdly large space between some words, where only three or four fit on a line.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on June 19, 2017, 03:06:23 pm
You're welcome Rupert. I look forward to seeing the next version. If it's used for something other than just your own experimentation/practice then maybe it could be added to the Success Stories on the Wiki.

As for the text justification, if you're replicating an existing format then, by all means, just do what they do. There is no right or wrong way but I thought it might look more fitting to the subject matter if it was justified.

Justification generally shouldn't be used by itself; as you have seen it usually makes quite a mess. (And I can't see any good reason for using forced justification which looks even worse.) You should only use justification in conjunction with hyphenation - manual or otherwise - and probably some manual typesetting which is the thing that takes some practice to get looking good. Good typesetting is, after all, an art.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on June 21, 2017, 01:06:46 pm
3. The diagram on page 6 (Levels of Perception) is a bit pixelated (I assume it's an import). Scribus can easily do this sort of thing so a little bit more work will make it look better.

Do you mean it can be tidied up in Scribus by applying image effects? I did try sharpen but didn't seem to have any effect. I can probably redraw the diagram at a better resolution if need be.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on June 21, 2017, 02:35:42 pm
Sorry Rupert, all I meant was that you can draw shapes and arrows with Scribus to re-create the diagram. See attached SLA for one cut-down idea.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on July 03, 2017, 02:11:20 pm
Here's my latest version. How's it looking now?

https://www.dropbox.com/s/eific28fh1reiu0/NSofR%20v1.3.pdf?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/eific28fh1reiu0/NSofR%20v1.3.pdf?dl=0)

Any tips for formatting to getting the main text to fit to the last line on the last page? I changed the spacing between letters or change size of boxes.

On your previous points:

1. Pages 3-6 are missing the headers and footers.

Thanks I missed those.

Quote
2. The (C) Rupert Young text sometimes comes a bit near the body text, e.g. page 2. As does the June 2017 text, e.g. page 8.

I think that has been resolved.

Quote
3. The diagram on page 6 (Levels of Perception) is a bit pixelated (I assume it's an import). Scribus can easily do this sort of thing so a little bit more work will make it look better.

I've recreated the original at 4 times the size.

Quote
4. The graphs on pages 7&8 are not up to the same quality as the rest of the images. Are better ones available?

Unfortunately not, they are screenshots from a paper.

Quote
5. The "Damned Statistics" heading on page 7 looks lost with no text near it (see next comment).

I've moved it, and added a grey outline box.

Quote
6. Sometimes there are large areas of white space. White space isn't a bad thing in itself but it can be managed a bit better. For example, on page 3, try moving the text into the vertical centre of the image and moving the text closer (see attached Capture1.png). The same goes for other pages. Also, don't be afraid of having text and images in "the same row" as that can make a page more interesting to look at. Have a look here https://wiki.scribus.net/canvas/Page_Layout_-_The_Basics for some examples.

I think I'll keep the text at the top for now to match the New Scientist style.

Quote
7. On page 3 you start a bullet list but it's very difficult to see where the list goes next. Can things be re-arranged so that the list is wholly on the same page?

They are all on the same page now.

Quote
8. The graph on page 8 has no title. Don't know if this is on purpose.

Added grey box to collate with graph and heading on page 7.

Quote
9. I think the block quotes on pages 1 & 10 - "Nothing in biology..." and "Nothing in behaviour..." - should be either black or a different colour to the figure titles. It's just a bit confusing. Also, could you add the authors of the quotes?

The quote author is in the text.

Quote
10. If the images on page 10 are related to those on page 9 (under the same title?) then I think you could use some graphic device to group/join them. This could be something as simple as a line but the reader should know that they're "together".

Added grey box to outline images on p 9 and 10.

Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on July 03, 2017, 03:44:30 pm
This is looking really nice now.

1. It's easy to miss that sort of thing when you've got everything else to think about.

2. I still think they're a bit near the body text but that's just me. If you're fine with it then keep it as it is.

3. That looks much nicer.

4. Sometimes you just have to go with what you've got.

5. The grey boxes make a nice difference.

6. If you've got a style to match then that's fine.

7. List looks much better now.

8. As with 5.

9. If that's what you want then that's your choice but adding the author shows more clearly that you're not quoting yourself. Not really important.

10. As with 5 and 8.

I have some more suggestions if you want them. I'm starting to get a bit picky now but attention to detail can be the making of a good document.

11. The grey boxes are a nice touch and help to separate the body text from the other stuff but the inside margin used is a bit "random". A major example is on page 3 where the bottom box has large margins but the top box has none at all. In other cases - e.g. page 5 - the margins are not uniform. Having the same spacing on all sides of all boxes would be a nice touch. It's not a major problem but it's one of the things that helps to put more of a "professional sheen" on a document.

12. The margins between the grey boxes and the body text are not consistent. For an example, see page 7. The gap between the bottom of the top grey box and the body text is smaller than the gap between the bottom of the body text and the top of the bottom grey box. Page 9, on the other hand, is more consistent in itself but not consistent with pages 1 & 2. This can be tricky to get right but it makes all the difference. This is where some planning from the start is needed.

13. There are two terms in typography that are important to learn: Widows and Orphans. Try this: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Widows_and_orphans for a start. Some examples in your document are: Widows - Page 1 Column 1, Page 9 Columns 1 & 3 (the heading and text needs to be kept together); Orphan - Page 7 Column 2. These aren't huge issues but changing things to lose the widows and orphans can put an extra bit of icing on the cake.

14. The font you have used for the headings has been outlined. This means that every glyph in a heading has been converted to curves. On large documents this can make a big difference to document size - if used for body text - as there is no embedded font file to read the glyphs from. To put it another way, instead of the font telling the system how to draw the letters, every single "A" (for instance, but it is the same for every single character) is represented in the document by a string of vector commands telling the PDF reader how to draw the letter. This also stops people from using copy and paste (which could also be a good thing). Also - see screenshot - display of some characters, such as lower-case L's, can look bad in some applications at certain zoom levels with outlines text. If you can't embed the font then you might have to change font or just put up with it but you should know that it can be an issue.

Points 12 and 13 should be addressed from the start of the document as changes will most often have knock-on effects later on. And if you're looking at things at this level then you need to look at using hyphenation too. Whatever you do, as you're making changes, remember to keep an eye on the end of your text chain to make sure you don't lose text from the end. There are whole books on this sort of thing so I can't really go into it more than this.

As for getting the body text to completely fill the space, go through all of the other points first and then see if you still have a gap. If you do have a gap, and you don't want one, then try having a look to see where you can add superfluous words.

For instance, the last paragraph could read (added words in capitals):
"With the BETTER understanding of the approach in the context of psychology and general behaviour it looks more promising that - IN THIS AUTHOR'S OPINION - at last, robotics can move out of the controlled conditions of the factory floor into the MORE unpredictable, AND dynamic real world to emulate the MORE intelligent, autonomous and EVEN psychologically advanced behaviour of humans and other COMPLEX living systems."

Just put extra words in and the gap will close up. Sometimes it's just that simple.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: ruperty on July 06, 2017, 10:40:56 pm
...

Thanks, that's all very helpful. I think I've covered most of your points.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/pw1wjeklfrvarb7/NSofR%20v1.4.pdf?dl=0 (https://www.dropbox.com/s/pw1wjeklfrvarb7/NSofR%20v1.4.pdf?dl=0)

One fundamental question, though, is the font size actually big enough? Currently it is 8pt, Helvetica Neue.
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: utnik on July 07, 2017, 01:52:06 pm
hi rupert

One fundamental question, though, is the font size actually big enough? Currently it is 8pt, Helvetica Neue.

for my eyesight it (still) works, but i would never set a full text in 8 point size. (…at least the font is a good choice for small print sizes…)

utnik
Title: Re: Initial document feedback
Post by: GarryP on July 07, 2017, 02:28:43 pm
That's a real big improvement on your first version.

How do you feel about it?
Was the extra work worth doing?
Is there any advice you can give to people who are thinking of starting similar projects?

I agree with utnik, 8pt is a bit small but I have read magazines printed with smaller (or, at least, they looked smaller to me).
This article has some decent advice in this area: http://www.magazinedesigning.com/setting-body-text-for-comfortable-reading/