Simple user-friendly, non-fancy desktop publishing program for either Apple or PC

sohappy2's picture

Hi Everyone!
You all have helped me in the past, so I'm turning here again.
I am a pastor who needs to get information to my congregation all the time in the form of fliers, & brochures, (Church clean-up, spaghetti dinner, etc.) It would be great if we could hire graphic designers to do the work, and someday we may be able to do that. For now, I need to find a way to do the fliers myself. I have a good sense of what looks good and I know what I DON'T want (by this I mean that I don't want to reproduce cheesy looking MS word brochures with tacky clip art and horribly counterintuitive formats.)Still, I'm not a professional, and so what I'm doing is pretty basic and hobbling. So the question...

What program do you think might help me to do my non-fancy publicity for my church members in a way that still looks decent? Suggestions? I am particularly interested in programs that might have some basic templates included or for purchase.

Thanks so much in advance.

chrislong's picture

Apple PAGES, which is part of their iWork package.

A bunch of good looking templates are included, it's not overly intimidating, and it will grow with you as your design skills improve (ie; works well for beginners AND intermediate designers/typographers).

http://www.apple.com/iwork/pages/

Good luck!

Chris

Si_Daniels's picture

There's no reason why Word produced material has to look cheesy. You might want to look at the Ascender Creativity Font Pack for some fresh fonts and templates.

I wonder if anyone has made anything from scratch in Pages that rivals the Apple supplied samples? My feeling when I first saw them was the expensive high-res photography was what gave the samples their impact and that the type was a bit ho-hum.

chrislong's picture

sii:

Agreed. Word docs need not look cheesy.
But the man asked for USER FRIENDLY.
IMHO, Word is everything BUT.
I stand by my PAGES recommendation.

Chris

sohappy2's picture

>Agreed. Word docs need not look cheesy.
>But the man asked for USER FRIENDLY.
>IMHO, Word is everything BUT.
>I stand by my PAGES recommendation.

you are right that word need not be cheesy, but their templates are (generally) cheesy and un-friendly, so thanks for the pages recommendation. any others? incidentally, i'm a woman pastor :)

chrislong's picture

sohappy2:

Sorry for the incorrect assumption on my part.
I know of no layout program as simple and versatile as PAGES.
And I wouldn't recommend WORD to my worst enemy.

Anyone else?

Chris

clauses's picture

Try the free open-source http://www.scribus.net/

Si_Daniels's picture

>I stand by my PAGES recommendation.

Can you address my other question about the quality of the Apple provided samples vs real world use. Maybe post a few examples of stuff you've made using Pages?

sohappy2's picture

I'd also love to see examples of stuff made by PAGES, if it's not too much trouble.

traci

sohappy2's picture

chris, no problem. happens all the time. i agree: word STINKS.

chrislong's picture

sii:

I cannot address your other question, re; real-world use.

I use Adobe InDesign on a regular basis. I've played with Pages A LOT, though, and have a very good idea of what it is capable of. The interface alone shows a lot in this regard. It's well thought-out and very clear. Not a lot of extraneous junk that most users will not use. And, I can say that it does fairly decent typesetting, especially compared to Word.

clauses:

That Scribus app looks intriguing!

Chris

dezcom's picture

"I wonder if anyone has made anything from scratch in Pages that rivals the Apple supplied samples? My feeling when I first saw them was the expensive high-res photography was what gave the samples their impact and that the type was a bit ho-hum."

Si, this is true of any developer. You only get out what you put in. Perhaps Apple should include the boilerplate, "Your Results May Vary."
A good designer can make something good looking with any program and a bad designer can screw up any program's abilities.
It is not that you can't do something decent in Word. It is that the agony involved is not worth it. I can dance while hanging from my thumbs but why would I choose to? Pages is cheap and more sensible for page layout. Word is a bloated word processor that should stay a word-processor.
I had a client a few years ago who asked me for a bid on a brochure. After I gave him the price, he said, "Can I get it as a Word file?" I told him that would triple the price.
I have been using Word since it came out on the Mac in 1986. Back then WordPerfect was THE PC word-processor. It was a great and small app then. It was darn good through version 5.5. Then it got Cancer and all its cells mutated and grew huge tumors. MS tried chemo which made a funny little paperclip guy jump up and get in the way and made you want to play whack-a-mole.

It is not that you can't do visually complex stuff with it Si, it just should come with the Surgeon Generals warning.

ChrisL

chrislong's picture

dezcom/ChrisL:

Can you post a vid of the hanging-thumbs dance? ;-)

Thanks for articulating what I've been trying to say.

Word is a word processor, and not a great one at that -- far too bloated. True, I've made some fairly nice looking pages in Word, but the process was absolute agony and time-consuming beyond belief.

Pages is a good page layout application that beats anything else I've personally seen for beginners/intermediate use. Apple is VERY good at thinking through interface design for their products.

Chris

Si_Daniels's picture

Thanks Chris,

I'm certainly aware of the issues with Word (I probably hear about more obscure international font issues in a week than most users would experience in a lifetime), although I think the UI took a major step forward with 2007. I just have a natural suspicion when someone claims that a product will be like having an army of graphic designers working around the clock.

I think "results may vary" comment is a good one - like the get rich quick schemes and diet pill ads perhaps a "results not typical" or "profesional graphic designer portrayal" would be good too. ;-)

dezcom's picture

Yes Si,
"Kids, Don't try this at home! Professional stunt designer with safety net and Lloyds of London insurance performed this." :-)

ChrisL

chrislong's picture

By the way:

There are other templates for PAGES available online.

KeynotePro has some very nice ones:
http://www.keynotepro.com/themes/TokyoRPG_Pages.html
http://www.keynotepro.com/themes/Sonoma_Pages.html
http://www.keynotepro.com/themes/OM_Pages.html

and

iWorkCommunity has a template exhange:
http://www.iworkcommunity.com/
Not all of these are great, but they're free!

Chris

dezcom's picture

"Can you post a vid of the hanging-thumbs dance? ;-)"

I would but this is a family show and there is a Neighborhood Association covenant on ugly :-)

ChrisL

WurdBendur's picture

I think the UI took a major step forward with 2007.

Making everything blue was a big step forward.

Anyway, I use Word 2004 on my Mac. It's not the best for layout (that's certainly not its intended use, after all), but it can do the job. It's really not so bad, except for some weird quirks in aligning things. Reposition a table or text box and watch your whole document reflow in unexpected and inexplicable ways.

aluminum's picture

With you being a woman of faith, I couldn't in good conscience suggest you bring that work of the devil, MS Word, into your house of worship.

(Go with Pages)

Si_Daniels's picture

Maybe, but don't you see a contradiction in worshiping two deities, Jesus and Jobs?

>Making everything blue was a big step forward.

Er, no. I was talking about the ribbon UI.

Cheers, Si

sohappy2's picture

sii -- your comment about worshiping jobs reminded me of the enigmatic title of jobs' unauthorized biography: iCon.

AzizMostafa's picture

More here:
http://typophile.com/node/29831
SoHappy DTPing + Flowers

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