Another Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them story…

InDesign’s new “oh wow” features

This evening I went to Seattle’s Adobe InDesign User Group to see previews of some of InDesign 5’s new features.

Although my own InDesign needs are simple, I can see that many of the new features will make production of printed pieces much quicker and easier for designers and add accuracy to preparing files for print.

Here are the features that impressed me the most:

  • Create different page sizes in one document, great for creating a spine or gatefold spread within the same document
  • Make a headline span more than one text block at the push of a button
  • Make multiple-column bulleted lists without hand tabbing or tables. These can be edited without any cutting and pasting.
  • Automate creating a grid of photo frames for placing photos
  • Easy, intuitive interface for changing photo crops and sizes
  • Tools to change the gap between photos while keeping widths consistent

Interactivity Comes to InDesign

InDesign’s new interactive features for creating animated graphics for screen view are very impressive. Files can be saved as SWF or FLA files for use on the web or as interactive PDFs. Adding motion, sound, and embedded movies takes InDesign into entirely new territory!

Weighing Creative Suite Upgrade Options

The only downside I see to these new products is their steep cost, especially for solo designers and individuals, especially in a still-crappy economy. InDesign costs $599. But buying InDesign alone does not avail one of the many integrated features that make the Creative Suite so powerful, such as Adobe Bridge and integration with the other applications in the Suite, especially PhotoShop and Illustrator.

Adobe Creative Suite Premium costs a whopping $1,899. Yes, you get a lot, but that’s still a humongo chunk out of one’s pocket! Upgrading from an earlier Creative Suite Premium version costs $599 or more. My upgrade from CS3 Premium would be $799.

Buying individual products piecemeal adds up to much more than the $1,900 price tag, so that’s not the best option, either.

Since I don’t currently use all of the applications in the Suite, it’s a crapshoot to decide whether to get the bigger package, say,  just in case I might want to learn to use Dreamweaver sometime or finally master Illustrator.

Tonight the InDesign Users Group presenters reported that CS5 has so many significant new features that those who did not upgrade from CS3 to CS4 should definitely upgrade to CS5. Members of Adobe user groups do qualify for a 15% discount. (To find a user group near you, see the Adobe Groups website.)

What about you? Will you upgrade? If so, which package will you pick?