November 1, 2004 / InDesign / Winter 2004

It’s Not Just About Staying Ahead

Written by Idea File Staff

Ask virtually any advisers who have switched to Adobe InDesign, and they will say if you have not, and you can, do it.

The reasons vary, from money, to ease of use, to the increased ability to be creative because of the tools at hand. In fact, to some, it is a whole new way of approaching design.

Christoph Sisson, yearbook adviser at Holland High School, Holland, Mich., would recommend InDesign to advisers if they can afford it and they have the hardware to run it.

Kirk Maddox, technology coordinator who works with Walsworth yearbook representative Johnny Cole in Tennessee, agrees and adds that InDesign is less expensive than Adobe PageMaker, making it a better buy for schools that need new software. Also, since many schools have only one computer, it is easier to afford one piece of software, Maddox said.

Once you can get InDesign in the budget, the decisive factor for many advisers is that the software is easy to use and lends itself to helping students be more creative. For example, Maddox said, for schools that do not have Adobe Photoshop, InDesign enables them to do things graphically that they cannot do with PageMaker or QuarkXPress.

“We just want to give our customers the ability to be as creative as they want to be,” Maddox said.

At Annandale High School, Annandale, Va., the incoming staff for the 2002-2003 school year wanted to do a concept book. The outgoing 2001-2002 staff told them it could not be done.

“Not only did they (last year’s staff) learn a new program, but they restructured the text and produced an amazing book,” said adviser Niki Holmes.

She said this year, their second using InDesign, the software has become part of the design consideration. The students take into account what InDesign can do as they decide how to design their spreads.

Then there are the practical reasons for moving to InDesign.

“Adobe is not going to make any more advancements in PageMaker. So don’t pigeon-hole yourself,” Holmes said. “From a production standpoint, there’s so much more you can do in less time. It’s a time-saver for those little things that make your yearbook neater.”

Holmes also said that in Fairfax County, Va., the push to stay ahead is pronounced. That push is why Sisson likes having InDesign in his classroom.

“We’ve been on the bleeding edge of technology for a long time, and I have the bruises and scrapes,” he said. “As an educator, I feel we’ve always been behind… Now I get to say, ‘When you go out into the real world, you’ll be ahead.’ Now I know with a high degree of confidence that the kids can be prepared.”

Advisers who are using the software now are looking forward to the future.

“I am excited about the things we can do. We have a lot of places to build on,” said Traci Williams, first-year adviser at Dyer County High School, Newburn, Tenn. “Next year’s book will look 100 percent better than this year’s.”

Idea File Staff

Idea File Staff reports are posts compiled by the Walsworth Yearbooks Marketing Department, covering a wide range of yearbook topics.