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You Can Get Better Grades by Knowing Desktop Publishing

Make Your Papers And Presentations Look As Good As The Content (Or Better)


Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

Good design is not just for Graphic Design majors.

Thomas Barwick / Getty Images
A pretty font won't magically turn a C paper into an A, but paying attention to the basics of good page composition and avoiding certain common design disasters and amateur mistakes can make a good paper or presentation shine brighter than the rest of the pack.

Even consistent application of the style guidelines prescribed by your instructor can boost your grade.

Many student group and individual projects may rely on Microsoft PowerPoint presentations. While PowerPoint isn't desktop publishing software, you can make a better presentation when you apply desktop publishing and graphic design principles to your slides.

For school projects you may find that Microsoft Word and PowerPoint serve your needs well. There are also free alternatives such as the Apache OpenOffice Productivity Suite. But if you want to use real desktop publishing software, don't forget that you may quality for academic pricing.

  1. Less is More. If your class is about graphic design you can get away with a lot more than for, say, a biology class. Simplicity and attention to detail will serve you better than lots of color and some flashy fonts. One Font Can Be Better Than Two and not be boring if you do it right.

  2. Don't Just Right Moar Words. Focus first on the content then proofread, proofread, proofread. It's a key part of doing desktop publishing of any kind.

  3. Before You Create a Slide Presentation (or any type of presentation in print or on-screen) heed these 3 simple PowerPoint Rules. Sure, some of these tips are aimed at business presentations but getting good grades is serious business. You'll notice that the rules repeat many of the common desktop publishing guidelines to use fewer fonts, less clip art, and maintain slide to slide (or page to page) consistency. Just remember, you're aiming for consistently good, not consistently bad.
Desktop publishing doesn't discriminate. You can be rich or poor, left-brain or right-brain, on your own or part of a group. The use of desktop publishing and good principles of design allows anyone to communicate more effectively and look better in print (or on-screen). What are you waiting for? Learn how to do desktop publishing.

Are you currently enrolled in a desktop publishing class of any kind? Vote in the poll about your reasons for doing so.

Pick Your Path to Desktop Publishing
Three of these 7 paths correspond to the tabs at the top of the site. These pages take you through a topic either step-by-step from top to bottom or by grouping related subjects and materials.
Get Started:Basic Guidelines and Requirements for Desktop Publishing
Choose Software:Desktop Publishing and Design Software
Tips & Tutorials:How to Do Desktop Publishing
Training, Education, Jobs:Careers in Desktop Publishing
In the Classroom: Back to School With Desktop Publishing
Make Something: Things to Make Using Desktop Publishing
Use Templates: Templates for Print and Web Publishing
The three information pages, below, provide another way of reaching the content in this site based on three broad areas of coverage.
Find the Information You Need
Desktop Publishing Information:What it is, skills needed, finding a job, starting a desktop publishing business.
Graphic Design Information:How it relates to desktop publishing, education required, principles of graphic design, the creative process, employment vs. self-employment.
Typography Information:Basics, detailed text composition tutorials, technical font issues, finding and using fonts, how to make fonts.

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