22 October 2005

[design] If You Do Layout, You Need Adobe InCopyCS2

I just finished an article over on QuarkVSInDesign.com about Adobe InCopyCS2. It's part of a 6-article series on Adobe's hidden charmer (Adobe InCopy CS2: In Production) at QuarkVSInDesign.

This application rocks my little designer world.

What is InCopyCS2?

Those who have read my pontifications here are aware that I use layout programs for design (see last article). Of course, in a production workflow, designers and layout artists do the grunt work of putting things on the page whilst editors, naturlich, direct the work and form the connection to content.

In small workgroups, say 2-20 (and maybe even larger ones) the workflow is linear and serial. That is to say, editors push content to designers who push proofs back to editors who change content or suggest changes which are pushed back to the designer. PDFs fly all around.

Now, this is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, editorial-design interplay is better than its ever been. But, just as in computer hardware, the serial flow has its drawbacks, especially when working in a group where asynchronicity is the order and reality of the day. Thus we have editorial systems. Quark does, with Quark Publishing System, and Adobe does, with InCopy.

InCopy is a hell of an app, but, until this cycle, has been kind of tucked into the background, sold only as part of enterprise-level editorial solutions. With the release of Creative Suite 2, Adobe has liberated InCopy, which is now available as a stand-alone purchase. This is an application that every designer should know about and get if they can, and every editor of a designer who works in an Adobe workflow should have.

What InCopy brings to the table is simultaneous collaboration. Editors work on content while desingers do layout, leaving the layout sacrosact to the designer only. Instead of doing a change and firing off PDFs, it's all on for everyone-but the designer working the layout controls who has access to what via story and frame assignments.

The stories are edited in an interface that resembles the InDesign Story Editor, only with a supercharged hemi under the hood. The editor can delete text, mess with styles, track changes and save off deleted text as notes that travel with the file like sticky-notes, preserving them as alternative suggestions.

I can even use this as a single-user workflow, because the text editing capabilities of InCopy are just that good. The InDesignCS2 Story Editor is a huge improvment. Using InCopyCS2 in place of it just jacks up the copyfitting and editing capability to an insane level.

But I won't go on too much more here. Go read my article. See why this program is so exciting.

Like I said: editors, layouters, you need this program. You at least need to look at it. Yes, I could be an evangelist for this program. It's that good.

Quick Links:
And, a quick PS: After interacting with Layers Magazine's managing editor Chris Main to get the Scott Kelby editorial in my last post he asked that I link back. This has been done in the article, but Layers is such a darned good resource that if you design, you should check 'em out anyway. There is now a permanent link to Layers in my Graphic Design Links list in the sidebar.

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