Desktop Publishing for the Design Firm

by Stephen Cavuoto, (M.ASCE), Sr. Assoc.; Sear-Brown Group, Rochester, NY,
James Cavuoto, Editor-Publisher; Micro Publishing Report, Torrance, CA,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1990, Vol. 60, Issue 11, Pg. 63-64

Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: Desktop publishing lets engineering firms put together reports with high-quality text and graphics in-house. Presentations and publications can be produced with greater flexibility at lower cost. The ability to merge text and graphics with page-layout capabilities is a step in the evolution of computer applications. Any document can include elements such as mathematical equations, financial charts, and project management or organizational charts. Users can import graphics from a variety of sources, including CADD software packages, charting programs, desktop image scanners, videotape and digitized data. Most CADD systems can merge text and graphics files. Most word-processing systems and desktop publishing packages can perform the reverse process, importing graphics files from CADD- or paint-type programs into text documents. In the future, we can expect improved technologies such as laser optical disks, improved laser output devices and software that tracks the various components of a project or publication and help manage the publishing process. At present, desktop publishing is within the reach of most design firms. At the high end, when large drawings are necessary, an initial investment could range from $25,000 to $70,000 for the scanner alone. However, users can buy a basic system, including workstation, printer, input device, display and scanner, for around $10,000. But in our haste to capitalize on the new technologies, we must accept desktop publishing's limitations as well as its possibilities. Just as a CADD system cannot make someone a qualified design professional, a desktop publishing system cannot, by itself, make a competent graphic designer.

Subject Headings: Computer applications | Graphic methods | Microcomputers | Publications |

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