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Switzerland InDesign User Group Meeting going Cross-Media

This was an incredibly well packaged InDesign User Group Meeting attended by well over 50 InDesign users from the Zürich area, and some from further away. Interestingly the meeting was titled "Adobe Creative Suite 4", and this is a clear signal that in the view of the organizers, InDesign cannot be shown on just its own anymore, and is rapidly becoming the hub for putting together content created in other applications such as Illustrator and Photoshop, which will be sent off to print, and online. It’s all about the workflow and the publishing opportunities.

I was asked to do an introduction speech and this was a good opportunity for me to hold a talk about "Design and Publishing Trends" and about how Adobe addresses those (thanks to Michael Ninness for his invaluable insight).

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We find ourselves in an ecosystem where we can say with confidence that print not dead at all, print is alive and well... but print only is clearly decreasing. There are various factors that influence this trend:

- Consumers are asking for a mix of media choices in their exploration of content (print, online, video).
- They tend to go Online for up to the minute information; and tend to view printed versions for extensive content analysis (which may require more time to digest).
- In the publishing world there is a definite growth of targeted, personalized, and regional content that allows for a whole new set of business models.

In this changing landscape we can also witness a variety of models surfacing:

- Complementary Cross-Media: traditional publishers are evolving into multi-channel media companies that frequently repurpose their content for multiple websites, publications, and even video.
- Print plus Digital: there are an increasing number of services such as Coverleaf that give print subscribers access to the digital versions of the publications they have a subscription to. Users there can search, save, and even share pages with others.
- Web to Print: other publishers have chosen to let their readers create content, submit it online and then use it for their printed publication. An example of this is Freshman 15 (basically a MySpace page), which then leverages user-generated content for the print version of Seventeen magazine.
- User generated content: JPG Magazine asks its viewers/readers to submit photos about any given subject, other users can then cast their vote and the winning images are published both online and in the printed version. In this case users influence the editorial content of the magazine, which I find a terribly interesting concept.
- Self-publishing: services such as CreateSpace or MagCloud offer their users the possibility to upload their content, stage it online and order it in a printed format.
- Sharing: issuu.com is the YouTube for print and allows users to turn uploaded documents into fully-fledged online publications. Let's also not forget about our own "Share", an acrobat.com service, where users can share their files with the world.
- Rich Interactive Documents: digital publications combine the beauty of print with the interactivity of the web. Good examples of this are FLYP , or T (The New York Times Style Magazine) are specifically designed to perform well on the Web.

These new business models, and document types, make it clear that users, their choices and their content has transformed the relationship between professional content creators/generators and the audience/readers.

Adobe offers the tools necessary for creating engaging content for the Print media, for the Web, for Video, and Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Beyond the tools, Adobe also provides services and software clients that enable content creators to publish to any media (Flash Player, Adobe Reader, Adobe Media Player, AIR, just to reference a few). Not to mention our server technologies such as InDesign Server which can be used to power a variety of custom publishing solutions, the Flash Media Server, or ColdFusion. Go Cross-Media!

Anyhow, coming back to the InDesign User Group Meeting… one significant aspect was that CS4 as a publishing solution was covered, including Illustrator, and Photoshop, which are an essential part in any editorial workflow, for any media.
Adobe InDesign Server was also brilliantly demonstrated by Daniel Sterchi (Ulrich-Media).
Then there was a Tips and Tricks showdown, where I showed the Gravity Effect for Text on a Path in InDesign, which finally works again, to finish with the lucky draw.
Thanks to Haeme Ulrich, Michel Mayerle, Daniel Sterchi, Urs Gamper, and Martin Spaar for organizing the event and thanks to Light & Byte AG for providing the location.

Click here for more information about InDesign User Groups.

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