This might go without saying, but let’s say it anyway: at Buzzword, we’re interested in making things look good. This interest applies not only to the application itself, but also to the final product that the user creates using the application. Bearing this in mind, imagine our delight when our PR team took a document we’d finished together in Buzzword and redesigned it, returning with the following:
Note: The widget used here is from Acrobat.com’s Share; we copied the embed code directly from Share, and inserted it directly into this post. Feel free to flip through and read the file.
…WHAT?! We were thrilled with the results, but also intrigued: how did they do that? Although we’d love to claim responsibility and say it was all done in Buzzword, that’s not exactly the case. Here’s the full story.
ﾠAs I was saying, one of our documents recently underwent cosmetic surgery at the hands of the Buzzword PR team. The document, the Acrobat.com overview, had been an object of extensive collaboration between Buzzword and the PR team.
Eventually, we signed off on the content; for the next couple of days, we heard nothing from the group working on the document with us. Eyebrows were raised – not in consternation but rather in interest: what were they up to?
A few days after the mysterious operation began, the design team resurfaced with the document’s content unharmed—but with its appearance dramatically modified. What once had been a caterpillar of text was now a sleekly designed butterfly of a document. As we soon found out, the PR team had snatched the text from Buzzword and bundled it off to Adobe InDesign, where they could apply a grid to to the content we’d written and thus arrange it neatly into space-optimizing, aesthetically appealing columns.
We know that Buzzword on its own is capable of truly lovely work—”visually stunning” as one user told us—and so upon seeing this triumphant piece of design, we had to investigate. What exactly had happened to our document, and where did they have it while they were dressing it up? These questions led to a very informative conversation with Colleen, the project manager overseeing document production. She patiently answered our questions about the transformation from text to—um, docufly—butterment—er, polished document. Here’s what we learned:ﾠ
The document, comprising the overview’s content, was drafted entirely in Buzzword and shared with team members in various parts of the country. It went through a handful of evolutions for about two weeks before being finished and finally approved. We were very much present and involved for this part of the creation process. (The shot below of the history bar might give you an idea of the iterations the document endured before it was ready to be published.)
Shortly thereafter, it migrated to InDesign by way of the old copy’n'paste trick. Once there, the text could be put in a template of predetermined styles that immediately applied to what was being imported, including font, line spacing, and margins. In keeping with their usual practice, InDesign is where the designers came up with the look of the document.
Since the formatting doesn’t matter before it’s in InDesign, the text can start out in a number of places; for instance, Word documents can be imported directly to InDesign, as can .rtf files – both of which can start as Buzzword documents and then be exported (this transition from Buzzword to InDesign will get smoother in the not-too-distant future). Regardless of the number of steps involved, the finished result is sleek and simple, clean and well-organized, thanks to the collaboration in Buzzword and the polishing work of InDesign.ﾠ
How delightful that this collaboration yielded such a lovely piece of work—the textual portion (writing, editing, reviewing) done in Buzzword, and the designing done externally. We’re working hard to tap into the ways that people are using Buzzword in concert with such external tools and figure out how the mechanisms work together to come up with really great-looking documents.ﾠ We want to spend some effort here talking about, and hearing about, how to create attractive items of text. InDesign was one answer to the issue discussed here, but we’re also interested in hearing from you about how you work with others, using Buzzword and Acrobat.com to create polished and professional documents. Is InDesign part of the equation, or perhaps Photoshop or Illustrator? Who do you collaborate with, and how do you divide the work? Either comment below, or send us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.