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10 Things You Could be Using Your Desktop Publishing Software For, But Probably Aren’t

1. Creating business cards. If you’re self employed or run a small business, you know how expensive printing business cards can be. If someone leaves your employ, or the phone area code changes, all that money is down the drain. Most printers and stationers work to standard designs anyway, so your business card looks pretty much like all the rest. With your own DTP software you can really let your imagination rip, and design a unique and memorable card. You can then print it out on your colour printer and save a bundle – you can even get pre-cut card to print your design out on that can make your work indistinguishable from a professional job.

2. Designing letterheads. Just like business cards, really, only bigger. You can get them offset printed by the ream, or save the design as a file and print out the letterhead every time you print out a letter.

3. Custom DVD covers and labels. Making movies is fun (I know), but if you make home movies and videos, and burn them onto disk yourself, the label that comes with the disk looks pretty boring. It’s easy to design an insert to go inside the DVD case – and a matching label – using your DTP software. Now your epic can take pride of place on the shelf alongside the professional ones from the video store.

4. Making banners and posters. Throwing a party? Want to advertise your goods or services? Got an event you need to publicise? Banners and posters are a simple way to catch someone’s attention. The traditional way of creating them is by using markers and paints. A combination of your DTP software and colour printer is much quicker – and less messy!

5. Designing flyers. Scale that banner or poster down to half a page, and you’ve got a flyer to hand out.

6. Typesetting newsletters. A newsletter is the easiest way of letting customers, or members of your club or other organisation, know what’s going on. Typing them up on a word processor is fine, but use your DTP software to make them more eye-catching, and your newsletter is more likely to be read than trashed.

7. Magazine layout. Go one further and layout your own glossy magazine with pictures ad text put together in full colour. It’s easier (and cheaper) than you may think.

8. Product packaging. Think package design is the preserve of expensive design shops or advertising agencies? Think again! Most package design these days is done using computers. “Reverse engineer” a package by taking a similar sized one apart to get the dimensions, build your own template from the measurements, then let your imagination run wild. You’ll be surprised at what you can come up with – and how little it will cost.

9. Laying out a catalogue. If you sell multiple products, or just want to let customers know what’s in your shop or store, a catalogue can keep you uppermost in your customer’s mind. Designing it using your own DTP software means you can easily update it without having to pay a fortune to an agency.

10. Designing a yearbook. Don’t let precious memories fade away. A yearbook isn’t just for high school. Use your DTP software to organise pictures, facts and reminiscences into a document you’ll treasure forever.

Shaun Pearce is a writer and video maker. His latest production “DTP Master” shows you how to get to grips with desktop publishing, comes with free DTP software, and can be downloaded from http://www.learndtpfast.com.

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