How do YOU get the data on the page?
December 12, 2006 9:11 AM   Subscribe

I would love some examples of high end print design workflows, especially database driven ones. Store circulars, flyers, etc. The more complete the workflow you can describe, the better.

So I ask you, when you produce your chain store do you do it?

Is the entire layout automated by one button push? Do you receive tagged text files that you lay out manually? Are they broken up by page? Do you use templates? In what manner? Do you use a database connection program like InCatalog, but all layout is handled manually? Do you generate queries? Do you just specify a group of items and then they lay out automatically? Do you find all of this quick and easy or do you want to strangle somebody? What do you wish you could generate/specify for the layout people? What do you wish the copy people have given you?

Since this is still brainstorm, I'd love any and all workflows, anything where you talk about ways of generating and passing data to us page crafters, as specific as possible. The software, the techniques, everything. (While newspapers seem like they would be very similar to this, I've found they aren't, still feel free to tell me about it)

That sounds like chatfilter, but oh boy do I have a real world problem I'm looking to solve! Long explanation, partially just venting, partially so you can see how your example might relate. While suggestions will be appreciated, I am much more interested in seeing what the options out there are.

I work at a distributing company, we (I) produce a monthly flyer by hand. It's not incredibly long but it's very tedious. Currently, the editors give me paste-ups of each page and then I recreate it by pasting in from old files or recreating by hand. I have produced (with Access, VB, & InDesign) a full inventory catalog (completely automated! one button push! I am Calvin, builing a robot to clean my room!) but we haven't been able to do that for the monthly. Largely due to the fact that each editor would have to describe each page in somewhat abstract data. (i.e. an excel file for each page, list of items on that page, for me to generate a query from), meaning it's easier for both of us to just paste up, since I'd have to connect, import and juggle all that data before I even start auto-generating pages. We're getting ODBC connections to our data which means I now have to figure out what level of specifications the editors would have to give me and some of that is figuring out what control we need to hold onto and what is just force of habit.
posted by Brainy to Computers & Internet (4 answers total)
I have no answers, but it would probably for good for you to mention what OS and what appication you currently use, what your editors use, when you say pasteups, do you mean drawings or what and what YOUR monthly flyer entails (most text? pictures? combo? etc, etc...)

If you have Indesign CS2, take a look at it's XML abilities, which seemed pretty powerful.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 12:30 PM on December 12, 2006

I appreciate that, but I'm not looking for advice as much as experiences or reviews. The number of ways we could go and the number of variables our situation has are too in depth for just an AskMe, but I look around at all these documents I get in the mail and I want to know how those companies solved their problem.
posted by Brainy at 2:30 PM on December 12, 2006

might be an idea to ask this on a more design based forum like yayhooray.

a lot more designers over there thats for sure
posted by moochoo at 3:06 PM on December 12, 2006

You familar with usenet? the comp.publish.prepress group has lots of knowledgable people in it who do this sort of thing.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:22 PM on December 12, 2006

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