4A: Why Make a Print Document?Print is not dead and will never die. When the personal computer revolution began in the 1980s, many people speculated that books, newspapers, and print would die out. But it actually led to more paper being consumed than ever before because so much more information was now easily available for printing.
While it’s true that print formats like newspapers and magazines are no longer as prominent as before, print technologies have been with us for so long that their influence and effect will never vanish completely. Sometimes you simply need to share something on paper, in a book, through a pamphlet, or with a resume.
The principles of print publication are similar to online sharing because our current digital resources evolved from the logic and nature of their paper predecessors. So, what is the “DNA” of print documents? What is their fundamental nature? When and why should you choose to share something on paper? And, thus, how should you go about planning, making, and editing a print document using Creative Cloud?
On the one hand, text-on-paper has been used across history for so many different purposes, by so many different people, and in so many different contexts that it is impossible to say what print really is or how print really works once and for all. But there is no question that print has changed human history. The development of written language defines the beginning of history and advanced civilization. The printing press changed the world and brought civilization out of the Dark Ages. The industrial age and the information age were likewise dramatic revolutions in the human experience, but neither would have happened without the invention of the printing press and development of literate populations.
Although literacy technologies are varied and evolved from early scriveners of the Christian bible to modern-day bloggers, print documents have been used in some fairly consistent ways. Of course, the first print documents were written on skins and scrolls, which were not nearly as efficient for accessing ideas as the sequenced pages of books and magazines. Books have made a huge impact on civilization because, as a technology, they’ve worked so well.
The benefits of print vs. digital
An advantage that books have over digital screens is that they are easier on your eyes. The resolution of ink on the page is actually much better than the light emitted from a screen. In many cases, it’s easier to track an idea in words across a number of printed pages than on a screen. However, digital search features can make it much easier to locate specific information, compared to print publication. There’s also the portability and romantic nostalgia of holding a book in your hands. When I edit my writing, I have to do so on a printout with a pen and highlighter, even though the changes will ultimately be inputted on screen. When you walk into a job interview, you’d better have a really clean version of your resume ready to hand to someone, even if they received a digital copy already.
Print documents are particularly effective for when your readers need to concentrate on detailed or in-depth ideas, because spoken words and audio-visual communication cannot contain as many ideas as print text can. Magazine formats are likewise particularly effective for combining image and text — such as fashion magazines or product catalogs. And sometimes readers need a printout of instructions or an operations manual to make something work.
Once you’ve decided to produce a document for print publication, this chapter can help you use the incredibly powerful Creative Cloud applications to do so. InDesign CC is the most widely used desktop publishing application in the world. More books and magazines are produced using InDesign than any other software. And, because InDesign is part of Creative Cloud, it works seamlessly with other powerful publishing tools like Photoshop CC (for editing images) and Adobe Typekit (for managing fonts).
Please note that although you can use Photoshop CC, Illustrator CC, and other Creative Cloud applications to publish things like posters and banners on paper, this chapter is about producing documents that are comprised of multiple pages: books, magazines, pamphlets, and resumes.