Sunday, June 01, 2014

Sci-tech watch, 21: Using Scribus, Gimp and Inkscape Open Source/ Free software for desktop publishing and Web design . . . ideas for publicity on a shoe-string

I ran across a video that shows Scribus, Inkscape (and Gimp) used for fairly impressive desktop publishing:

Muy interesante . . . quite interesting.

I went looking for more, e.g. Scribus setup here,  the Scribus Wiki here, and an hour-plus demonstration here (not as visually impressive, and somewhat dated, but I believe helpful . . . cf. the post script below):

All of this set me to thinking about public outreach possibilities for small printed items -- brochures, mini-poster flyers, full-sized posters and "infographics," "preprint" magazine articles [including broadsides . . . careful on tone], fact sheets, press releases/statements and press kits, pamphlets (cf. what-why-impacts remarks on such options here) and even web sites and blogs, social media and more, as means of publicity to support outreach efforts. 

Business cards, too, once there is a handy web address -- keep it short!
(NB: I think the business card is a much underestimated outreach and marketing tool in the Caribbean. Think of it as a "less is more" mini introduction that directs a contact as to where to go and who to  get in touch with for more. Not least, it gets spelling of name, email etc right. Couple it with a product or idea brochure and you can make your case in a nutshell and provide a response form . . . I believe in clip off or tear off response forms as part of a brochure. The magazine article formatted 1 - 2 pp letter-size handout provides an opportunity for a short article that can sum up main points of a case, and if you go to an 11 x 17 broadsheet, you can blow up to poster size or go for a 4 pp. feature article for the "serious" prospect. But by then, it may now be more cost effective to be pointing such a prospect to your blog and/or Facebook page or whatever you prefer. Such a web document can also embed a video or the like. You may even want to consider doing a PDF pamphlet or electronic book.)
My onward thought is, open source and other free software is now quite good enough for small groups willing to expend some effort on outreach to produce good print and web materials. Mix in video clips, still photos, multimedia slide shows and the like, and impressive things can be done.

Well done drawings have an impact all of their own, too.

I am thinking that mini-posters set up as photos or the like could be shared over mobile phones, similar to video clips, or simply URLs . . . web addresses. 

Not to mention, social media.

For that matter, books are in reach, too -- both electronic books and good old fashioned print in small runs, if you can mobilise some funds for a print on demand publisher.

Where, we should not forget that there are many online petition sites, too.

(Though, the old fashioned paper based petition is still very effective.)

A multimedia slide show with pictures, video clips and more could work well too . . . especially in a townhall type meeting. Just bring along a projector or a largescreen television (brighter but often smaller).

If one adds teleconferencing software and audio and video equipment, one may even try for a video conference, but to set that up and keep it going well may require a technician.

Don't forget the old fashioned flip chart, the whiteboard it usually sits on these days and even the chalk board (though chalk dust and computers don't mix well . . . beware).

Many of these ideas are also adaptable to the classroom.

Let us begin to think again about what is possible and maybe even necessary.

First thoughts . . . END

PS: A Scribus-based course in Desktop Publishing by the same author, Steve Czajka, the managing editor for GIMP Magazine, is available here (sold for about US$ 50). Well worth considering. Intro:

If you are serious . . .