[From Micro User, December 1991]
[While Davy takes a general look at DTP, ]Bruce Goatly concentrates on the Archimedes and the hardware and software at the disposal of budding writers.
As you'd expect, the book itself was totally written and set using DTP. In fact there is an appendix outlining just how this was done.
Although he has used Computer Concept's Impression he goes out of his way not to emphasise one particular package but to give a good all round view of available products -- Ovation, Acorn DTP and Impression.
He also explains how to use educational packages like PenDown and Desktop Folio, as well as 1st Word Plus, Pipe Dream 3 and EasiWriter. He also reveals the secrets of budget DTP using Edit and Draw, which come on the Archimedes' Application discs.
Trying to cover so much in one book could be a recipe for disaster, but he has managed to pull it off. The general introduction is pitched at the newcomer, with an explanation of jargon and terms at an early stage to avoid possible later misunderstandings.
The strengths and weaknesses of the different packages are quickly outlined as are the basic computer knowledge and equipment you'll need.
Due to the Wimp and Risc OS systems of the Archimedes a lot of the basics are applicable to all the software, so this book is aimed at DTP users in general.
The use of screen dumps and illustrated examples is good. The discussion of concepts and good practice is not just of relevance to Archimedes owners.
The detail is impressive, and as you'd expect with a book on design, the layout encourages you to dip into the chapters rather than read it from cover to cover.
The writing style is easy to follow and informative, with the start of each chapter explaining what will be covered within it.
Hints and tips are given throughout on good design practice. These come together in the chapter on Rudiments of Design. This not only covers planning, page and typographical design but special graphic effects such as layering text over graphics.
It ends with two golden rules: See what others do, and don't be afraid to experiment.
If the book finished here it would be a good reference, but the practical examples which follow make it invaluable. Work through this chapter and you'll have your own headed notepaper, business forms, newspaper and newsletter.
Using the full blown DTP packages of Acorn DTP, Ovation and Impression, the last three examples are specific to each one of the packages but the basic ideas are transferable.
The final chapters are more for the professional user than the enthusiast but everyone needs to produce a hardcopy of their work at some stage. As Goatly has actually produced a book using the methods he describes, you could do a lot worse than learn from him.
Attention to detail, from paper weight to binding and trimming, makes all the difference in how your work is perceived and judged.
Desktop Publishing on the Archimedes is well written and literate. The technical details are not overdone -- that's what you have manuals for -- while the insights into the different packages tell you that he has actually used them.
An excellent and impartial reference whatever package you are using or planning to use.
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