If you have ever needed to quickly design a leaflet for a project, put together a brochure, or simply needed a coversheet for a presentation, it’s likely you’ll have used a Desktop Publishing Suite (DTP).
They make such tasks simpler and as with the case of Serif, they come with a whole host of pre-made samples, so you don’t need to be a design genius to use them.
Serif has released Desktop Publishing Suite 2008 in time for Christmas, so if you have cards to design, this is as good a package as any to use. What’s more, at £50 (inc. VAT) it’s an absolute bargain.
Desktop Publishing Suite 2008 is made up of three distinct tools: PagePlus, DrawPlus and ImpactPlus, of which PagePlus will be the most widely known. This is a great resource for either designing pages from scratch or by using one of the many templates. Serif tries to position itself as a semi-professional package but if you're serious about design they you're likely to use either InDesign or QuarkExpress as they're the two leading professional names. What we have here is a great family-friendly tool that we found even a 10-year-old could quickly get to grips with.
If you want to add your own drawings and designs to your work then DrawPlus allows you to do exactly that. Finally, ImpactPlus is a 3D image effects package. This is an easy-to use tool that is ideal for making logos or graphics that can either be used alongside the other tools here or even incorporated into web animations.
The first thing to realise about the suite is that you’re not getting the latest versions of the software. Rather, Serif has bundled together the previous releases.
This makes financial sense, it gives the old software a second lease of life, while for newcomers it allows you to try out the software without too much of a risk.
That said, with this being older software here may well be compatibility problems with Windows Vista. Serif claims there are none and that it runs smoothly and when we were testing out the tools we found exactly that.
There is no denying the value for money here. Along with the main programs coming on three discs, you’ll also find three discs of extras as well as three user manuals.
Being a bundled package, each tool installs separately, so there is no central resource to make life easier. It also means you have to install each one separately, which can be time consuming but then if you don’t want to install them all at once, then it makes some sense.
If you’ve ever wanted to get started in DTP but have always thought it too expensive, this is a great entry-level product.
While it may not be the latest version of the software, don’t let that put you off as each one works well in it’s own right.