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NauticalMile

Will it sell? (The whole world vs professionals only)

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This thread was directed more towards the designers as opposed to users. It started out questioning if the new software would sell if it’s as complex as others, but the comments got way off topic and the message got lost. I was asked to keep it going because of how many people were interested in the topic:

This is “wordy” and I appreciate the ability to communicate it:

My question of "Will it sell" is not directed at professional users. It's about how "pros" are a tiny percentage of the market. Why make another complex publishing software (with so many out there already) when you could make one easy and fast to use? If a print shop could cut 10-20% of their desk/software time it would save millions worldwide and you'd dominate the market.

I've been a PagePlus user for the past 15 years. When people sit at my desk they’re fascinated watching me work in the software because of its ease and speed. My office publishes a 40-page monthly newspaper and I do the whole thing monthly by myself in a few hours because of the speed and ease of Pageplus X9. When a client has a request for a change I have a proof in their email as we’re talking. This is all because of the speed and efficiency of the software. While I realize the new Publisher software is not PagePlus, I’m wondering why the developers would remove all of the speed and ease and merge into something which tales so much longer to perform basic tasks. I’m only referring to the basics; like a “Save” button on the toolbar, and a “New document” button on the toolbar. I so miss my old “zoom” button and slider-bar. Why make people learn keyboard shortcuts or have to deal with drop-down buttons? Those who don’t use software like Publisher daily have to relearn it every time they sit down, which seems like it would eliminate a huge percentage of possible users. I’ve been messing with Beta for days and still can’t figure out how to save user defaults.  

I understand new software requires learning where features are. Consider this: When you buy a new car you the windshield wiper button is now located on the left side of the wheel. Going from left to right involves no more time once it’s a habit. For something simple like wipers in most desktop publishing software is like having to stop the car, go into the trunk, open a box to find a smaller box, in that box is a key. Take that key into the back seat and use it to turn a widget which turns on the wipers, then return the key to the smaller box in the bigger box in the trunk, then get back in the car and begin driving again. All of this…. as opposed to having a wipers button right in front of you, on the dash (toolbar).

Back to the topic- will it sell? Of course it will, but do you want it to sell or do you want to rock the world and dominate the industry? The “average” person hires out graphics because they don’t know the “language.” You wanna dominate the market- offer something where people are not required to learn a language.

My attempt at describing the topic to designers in a nutshell- Should you be taking advice from professionals? Not to criticize them, but consider seeking advice from “average’ people who know little about graphic software, this will create something unique which anyone can use, not just professional who “know” the language. Then you can sell to everyone. The “pros” may tease simplicity but are you out for their approval, or to make money? Perhaps make it more customizable where the “dummies” can have simple things like a “save” button” and a “zoom-bar” where they want it instead of having to memorize keyboard shortcuts?

Designers- Think hard about this: I teach the psychology of entrepreneurism to younger people as a community service. Not what an entrepreneur does, but how they think. Something I focus on is knowing what your task is. I don’t see your future in creating something as complex as competitors as another option for professional designers, I see your “task” as more creative marketing of the product. “Old school” marketing by reaching people on an emotional level. “Buy our product BECAUSE……” When you can complete that sentence with something that stimulates people emotionally, you’re there. Please those who crave complexity, but at the same time keep the ability to make a simple flyer for a yard-sale open to the “average” person. Then launch a marketing campaign similar to “So easy a caveman can do it.”

I’m a h/s dropout who was able to quit “working” before age 40 and I credit this to the speed and ease of the Serif software. Competitors have (had) staff working for days doing what I can do in hours. I say “had” because they’re all gone. I’ve monopolized an entire market in SW Florida which I credit to the speed and ease of Serif products.  

One of two things will happen when it’s released- you can say “Affinity Publisher, like nothing you’ve ever seen before!” Or- you can say, “Affinity Publisher, it requires learning a language every time you use it so why learn a new software?”

So- make it simple for the non-user, without having to learn a new “language,” market it to the world, and dominate the market!  

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You are right when you say software should be efficient. Workflow must be quick and straightforward and automated where it is possible. Affinity has a problem as it often makes processes convoluted when direct (if maybe not so flexible) would be the right way. 

That said, this talk about buttons reminds me of casual Microsoft users who hunt commands and do not generally know what they want achieve. Professional users seldom use such buttons but use kbd shortcuts. 

BTW, I do not find InDesign to be complex. On the contrary, it is very quick page creation engine.

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@Fixx I agree: InDesign is very quick to work with.

@NauticalMile I must have misunderstood you in some way: zooming and panning documents in all Affinity products is very fast: just use a mouse with middle mouse button and scroll wheel. Much more effective than any buttons. I am always frustrated with Adobe products than none of those allow panning the view with the middle mouse button, and force the user to press and hold down the space bar, which is very inefficient.

Also, I use keyboard shortcuts for most commonly and often used commands in any software, which thoroughly speeds up workflow in any application. Much faster than any GUI. CTRL-S (win) or COMMAND-S (mac): save done. Faster than moving the mouse to a save button, and it works in any application with a save function. A save button just takes up unnecessary space and clutters the view in my opinion. Same for undoing things: ctrl-Z, done.

Having said this, I do agree with both you and @Fixx that Affinity Publisher and Photo in particular have a number of basic workflow issues at this point. These do indeed stunt the workflow, and I hope the kinks will be ironed out by version 2. I mean, I recall the first couple of versions of InDesign, which had some very rough edges as well. As it is said: Rome wasn't built in a day.

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I'm reminded of a probably-not-quite-accurate-but-still-interesting quote rumored to be from Albert Einstein (I've heard rumors he was rather smart - see https://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/05/13/einstein-simple/ for reasoning behind my hyphenation):

Quote

Everything Should Be Made as Simple as Possible, But Not Simpler

 

Making software like this simple at the expense of flexibility reduces... flexibility.

It is not complexity that geeks (me) are looking for, but the ability to do efficiently the things that the simpler programs are too simple to do efficiently.

 

Efficiency of learning and efficiency of operation are sometimes at odds... making a program easier to learn often makes it more complex or cumbersome to use over time.

Favoring efficient long-term operation over simplicity of learning does not mean that the program is complex, just that it is meant for users who actually intend to use it.

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I see great potential for Publisher to be an easy to use software. 

Right now it's pretty cumbersome as many options are not "at your fingertips", missing in context menus, have a misleading label or just do Not support a "natural way". For example you cannot drag assets into the panel and have to use "Add to selection" which you will not find without help. This is typical for the overall state of Publisher.

I try my best to help them.

 


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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5 hours ago, NauticalMile said:

PP user for almost 15 years.

What is PP? PowerPoint?

EDIT: PP aka PagePlus... ok, got it.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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I must say it is great to see what other users are experiencing and to read your views. So, all the input above is very much appreciated by me.

I have been a user of PagePlus in addition to various versions of QuarkXPress. The only gripe I have with PagePlus (and DrawPlus for that matter) that I could not get both application to recognize true greyscale images. Serif solved the issue (for me) by providing the “100K Only" option on PDF export for projects that were greyscale only.
Personally, I feel that PP had reached its end-of-life cycle in a natural evolutionary way, for want of a better expression. Yet, it will stay on my computer as long as it plays well with the OS. (I do not like to kick out old and faithful friends).

The betas of Publisher have been pretty much smooth sailing so far for me. Serif may not like to hear it, but Publisher cannot hide its heritage from PagePlus. For me that is a good thing. The other thing that is obvious is that Serif/Affinity gave more than a nod to users who are used to Adobe applications. Keyboad short cuts, panning, you name it.
Again, it is a question of personal preferences – I grew up with Adobe software years ago – so I have no problems with that either.

In conclusion, I am very much convinced that Affinity has a winner here. I am sure it will be well received by graphic designers, both budding and seasoned. And even if later on feature-wise and operation-wise it will not be all that different from its competitors, the price tag will make the decision easy for many.

 

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Beside the price tag the Quality will be important, too.

My enthusiasm is a little bit dampered every time someone answers in a topic "Yes, thats a known problem in Affinity Photo too and never got fixed".

I will closely watch the development and see how many bugs reported here will be fixed until release. This will be important.

If they would release it right now I won't buy since it's buggy and not easy to use with many inconsistencies. So I expect a long beta time.

 


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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6 hours ago, fde101 said:

Making software like this simple at the expense of flexibility reduces... flexibility.

It is not complexity that geeks (me) are looking for, but the ability to do efficiently the things that the simpler programs are too simple to do efficiently.

Regarding that I think of the pretty simple photobook Software my printer service wants me to use.

I can add a shadow and a outline (with Color picker) to a picture. It's just in a right-click context menu. Pretty easy to understand for everyone. The drawback is by changing my mind about color or shadow properties I need to touch every picture manually. Also I need to do it initially for every picture. Simple, but inefficient.

On the other hand Publisher has Color swatches and Styles that can be saved and apllied in batches. You can work faster with that, but it it takes significant mind space to learn this complex system when you just want a simple shadow.

Another software from my ex printing Service at least had a checkbox with "Also apply to all images on page" to be less inefficient.

---

Currently the joke is since Paste FX and Styles are broken/buggy I also touch every damn Image for shadow and outline. I may stop using the beta until it is fixed.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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Currently during my day job, I use Affinity Designer, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe InDesign. I prefer Designer's workflow infinitely more than Adobe Illustrator's. Affinity Photo's workflow is about on a par with Photoshop, so I generally use the one I'm more familiar with, although my home devices don't have Adobe suite so my familiarity and workflow with Photo is improving.

InDesign is a wonderful product; I've used it for years. But recently I've been encountering the frustration of incompatible .indd files between CC and CS5 (my workplace owns multiple licenses); having to use .idml to convert between the two versions is awkward. My predecesor use CorelDraw and many of the source files are corrupt, unwieldy or simply missing, so I often have to recreate documents from PDF or even print versions. Switching between Corel and Adobe products is a jarring experience. Switching between Adobe and Affinity is fluid and doesn't involve that much of a learning curve.

Affinity Publisher (even at this early stage) is a delight. The excellent conversion from PDF to editable document is something even InDesign (still) can't do and Adobe Acrobat doesn't do particularly well. Yes, there may be some options missing from menus and a few workflow issues, but based on my experience with the Designer beta, I have faith that Serif will resolve these and Publisher will replace InDesign in my daily work.

My workplace is currently attached to their CS5 licenses (CC licenses are few-and-far-between, and more expensive due to the subscription model). When CS5 becomes too out-of-date, I can't see them upgrading to CC, so I sincerely hope they move towards Affinity products. I'm convinced Publisher will sell.

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I want to extend appreciation for the comments and feedback. This has been a very informative and professional thread, and because of it I have a cleaner understanding. I'm not in the software often, my company only needs me a few hours a month, so I find using a mouse faster. I don't know keyboard shortcuts, and it's hard to memorize them when you're not in the software often. However, I can tell that professional designers prefer to use keyboard strokes as opposed to clicking a mouse. I'd still question why we can't have both, it's not like a "save" button on a toolbar creates clutter especially when we can customize our own toolbars. Either way, it's best to go with the majority. I'll be the one who has to learn new things. I appreciate all of your input:) Have a great holiday 

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In the past used QXP till version 8.5 and now I'm on inDesign all day.

At first ID is full of informations and panels and a lot of things that can be too much, but with the time it's difficult to use another program with less informations visibles at first glance, or tha we can modify easily without clicking multiple times or scrolling.
I use a lot less shortcuts in ID (using and creating scripts can ease a workflow, like GREP — regular expressions), since I found out it's easy to forget shortcuts you worked with on an app for years… when switching apps and computer type :) But we adapt our workflow  with new tools.
Once you know what an app can do, and where things are, it's difficult to do with less.

As CodeMacabre, I added AP and AD at work with inDesign, and I have the same feelings.

There's useful features in Affinity apps we could miss switching back to our regular applications, but for now they miss a lot of automation and options that can help to work fast: some options we use a lot would be easier to access without needing to click once on some button to expand a panel (for example: aligment), or without scrolling (character and paragraph text styles in the same panel), etc.
Creating styles is easy, but we lack real object styles and way to modify them, the find and replace panel is the worst UI in my opinion, etc. Sometimes it's only details (but usefull ones), sometimes it's more important.

But there's a lot of work done, and I'm impressed with the number of updates in such a short time. APub will need a lot of time to grow and be able to replace some other app (it's understandable, some features need first a stable version), but a stable version will be usable for personnal work of more simple workflows, and that's a good point.

When using different applications or OSes, there's always a moment when you miss some features that's only available on the other ones. Already I miss some Affinity features in other applications!

 

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After some hours of using Publisher I came to the conclusion that this software will not only sell itself but in my case the whole suite.

In general I'm very happy with Photoshop Elements 12 and so I did not buy any Affinity products until now. But as I learned that I may need Designer for creating charts and due to the "Photo persona" and "Vector persona" intergration only buying Publisher would feel like having a incomplete product, I'm certain that I will buy all.

I expect a sale on Publisher release with the common 30% discount and already planned spending the 120€ for that next year in my tight private budget plan. :)

PSE 12 is an old version and spending 99€* on the new version would not bring me anything I miss right now with exception of 64 bit support. Nor does it help with photobook creation. I don't get Adobes pricing policy there anyway as 99€ is so much money if you just need it sometimes for healing a family picture and earn no money with it. What do they think? So I'm willing to learn a new software.

*: I bought PSE 12 years ago for 50€ on a Cyber Monday. But you get the point.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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On 12/11/2018 at 1:21 PM, NauticalMile said:

Careful taking advice from the "geeks", they like complexity, as if it means they're smarter. Most do not know business and will be sitting at their desks a few years from now trying to make a buck spending hours a day at their keyboard as they are now. They like complexity, but they're not your customer. The world in desperate need of something simple is your customer,  just waiting to find out about your product.

Think hard about the example of the word "Because" above. You're on the edge of a massive opportunity. You: you want to sell software. Me: I'm using the new software either way, but it would be great if someone like myself can continue to work 3-4 times faster than competitors.

Designers- by all means bring it up to today's standards and demands, but if it's not fast and efficient, it's not going to fulfill your expectations.

Looking forward to criticism from the "geeks", it means I'm on the right track:)

Unless some critical missing features are implemented in time for the GM release, it won't sell to serious pros, yours truly included (and I'm a staunch Affinity advocate otherwise, but I do feel the team has probably enough financing, so I am deciding on voting negatively with my wallet this time around). I completely get where you're coming from, but that “geek” term you're using is completely specious when it comes to DTP specifically, by the way.

From a purely logical and philosophical perspective, designing huge documents is not a straightforward and strictly WYSIWYG exercise in the sense that you have to – or even can – be ultra-efficient immediately, like when you design an isolated poster or retouch a photo. In order for your computer to do your work for you and deal with massive amounts of data and elements, it will more often than not force you to do some extra ancillary investment upfront, and it may not look all too intuitive for the novice user. Especially if you're supposed to be able to do adjustments on the fly and after the fact. And do you know what? Publisher does not have to be easy or geared for the novice user at all. That's what Designer and Photo should be there for; once you've mastered them both and want to combine your creations into big-ass publications, you're half-ready to tackle the harder specific aspects of DTP because you already know the way around Affinity's toolset. #sorrynotsorry

If you want a good comparison, take regular ol' automation. Whipping up an app on XCode, an AppleScript on Script Editor, a workflow on Automator or a Siri Shortcut on iOS Shortcuts are all ways of automating tasks and saving oneself's a lot of time in the long run, in varying forms of complexity and difficulty when it comes to the underlying technology and language used, but they are all, in and of themselves, fairly complex projects which require some investment on the user's part before they can even begin to tackle the actual task at hand. Desktop Publishing (much like digital type design, by the way), whether you like it and/or understand it or not, follows the exact same principle to a tee. I always tell my type design students who already know the inner-workings of DTP apps that, not unlike when using the latter, a lot of the seemingly boring tasks I'm teaching them to do in the early stages are intended to make their life easier and their work quicker later on in the process (which, in very complex DTP projects is, duh, absolutely critical when you have to deal with stupid clients/associates who drag their feet and fast-approaching deadlines).

The issue being that printed and bound publications do not conform to this generation's obsession with instant gratification for any and all things. They stand on top of a more than 500-year-long tradition (in fact, if you compare incunabula – i.e. all books printed between the invention of the printing press and AD 1500, and I've personally handled a few and studied quite a lot about them – with modern books, you'll see they mostly look very similar and are built up almost the same way) which, yes, brought about a revolution in speed, but still has quite a lot of gritty complexity to it. Good quality print publishing, especially when it is meant to be sent to an actual 4-colour/spot colour offset printing press and bound into books, stitched, cut, etc., is not easy, and it will never be easy. Quicker? yes. Easier, yes; easy? No. You don't just have to know how to use a computer; you also have to understand 1000+ rules (take Robert Bringhurst's, John Kane's, Stanley Morison's, Willi Kunz's or Joost Hochuli's works as small sample) in order to produce decent, “professional-looking” work before you even launch the DTP app of your choice, let alone fiddle with it. Exponentially so for big and complex documents; they are more akin to buildings or other complex systems than they are to single works of art.

This is the thing many people here don't seem to understand. In a sense, print publications are kind of like UI/UX or Web design projects (it's no accident that the very concept of stylesheets, as implemented in CSS, originated conceptually in style manuals and DTP apps), and I feel Designer, Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, etc. are all kind of lacking in that regard, because people are using what are basically WYSWYG vector and bitmap editors mainly designed for print in a different way than originally intended (Serif's “Personas” may be a step in the right direction, though, so let's see where that leads us). In a similar but more egregious vein (because whereas the phenomenon I've just described just adds some overhead and makes those tasks slightly more difficult, in this case the software is dumbed down and turns otherwise simple, automated tasks into mind-numbing manual chores), Serif devs seem to expect that a glorified Affinity Designer on very paltry steroids will suffice for serious DTP; it will not.

Pardon my possibly pedantic stance, but in order for Publisher to be on par with Photo, Designer and the whole of Adobe CC (because the latter two already are), it must be suitable not just for your local church newsletter, but also for mundane and boring stuff like +300-page user manuals, or high-budget projects like event programmes, product catalogues, magazines, etc. I fully expected it to be simpler than the competition, because they are starting out from a blank slate and that means that they get to make it more friendly but also have a lot of catching up to do; I didn't think, however, they would be oversimplifying it to the point of uselessness and/or be so much behind. Print may be on the wane, but it won't die any time soon, and there will be a market for that kind of work for quite a while… And Serif will still be missing out on it for a while, I'm afraid.

Many, if not most former PP users will be ecstatic about Affinity Publisher v.1.7.x, I'm sure. Most current InDesign and QuarkXPress, however, will rather unfortunately give it a pass. The expected synergies of having AD+APhoto+APub just won't pan out (or won't be enough for all kinds projects, and thus force them to keep paying for a CC subscription, buy a QuarkXPress licence or frequently deal with a stupid VM and an old version of InDesign CS like I'll probably do), which also detracts greatly from its value proposition. :\

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36 minutes ago, JGD said:

Former PP users will be ecstatic about Affinity Publisher v.1.7.x, I'm sure. Most current InDesign and QuarkXPress, however, will rather unfortunately give it a pass. 

I don't think so.

Many user feedback in this forum indicates that Publisher is way more like InDesign as it is like PagePlus.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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49 minutes ago, Steps said:

I don't think so.

Many user feedback in this forum indicates that Publisher is way more like InDesign as it is like PagePlus.

Oh, I am not doubting that in the least. As an InDesign user I can tell t's… an apparently easier to use InDesign. It sure looks nice, and for someone coming from Photo or Designer – and I'm guessing many PP users are already transitioning from Photo Plus and Draw Plus to them, so leaving PP to its shiny new successor is the logical next step –, it will have a softer learning curve than going to, say, InDesign or QuarkXPress.

As for the latter, i.e. hardcore DTP users, I hope I am wrong enough that Serif doesn't take a huge hit, but right enough that they take notice. And to that I have to add that… there's a lot of user feedback in specific threads voicing the exact same complaints and demands as I am. And the reason there's not even more of that in the forums is the fact that many potential users never gave the Affinity suite a real shot because they never heard of it, don't trust it enough just yet, or are waiting for the full suite to be complete to even bother, and the ones who did are not professional enough to actually detect its shortcomings.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: once the suite is finally “complete”, specialty sites and YouTube will be chock-full with reviews. And most of the professionals, many of which already tried the rest of the suite and were impressed with it so far, will pile on Publisher instead when it comes to the “cons” section. They will specifically say that it is unsuitable for long-form, complex work, because it is. This is a case of sheer, brutal honesty; I love Serif's intentions here, but people lavishing them with compliments, however sincere, truthful and heartfelt as they may be, are not doing them any favours, because they paint an incomplete picture of the market. I'm treating Serif like I treat my friends (and how they treat me): by telling them not what they necessarily want to hear, but what is true and may actually have a material impact. Just because the numbers and the feedback added up until now, DTP apps are an entirely different beast and their users have a vastly different set of priorities.

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Good heavens!    What in the world did you have for dinner?    I am currently revising a 300-page book In Publisher.   Smooth as can be.   It was originally produced with InDesign, which I used for years!   Also Pagemaker, which I used for many years until Indesign took it and wrecked it.    Publisher may not suit you, but that does not mean that it won’t make hundreds of thousands of people extremely happy.    And not simply for the local church newsletter, either, which was, if I may be permitted to say so, not a very kind remark.  Merry Christmas, all the same!

1 hour ago, JGD said:

 

As for the latter, i.e. hardcore DTP users, I hope I am wrong enough that Serif doesn't take a huge hit, but right enough that they take notice. And to that I have to add that… there's a lot of user feedback in specific threads voicing the exact same complaints and demands as I am. And the reason there's not even more of that in the forums is the fact that many potential users never gave the Affinity suite a real shot because they never heard of it, don't trust it enough just yet, or are waiting for the full suite to be complete to even bother, and the ones who did are not professional enough to actually detect its shortcomings.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: once the suite is finally “complete”, specialty sites and YouTube will be chock-full with reviews. And most of the professionals, many of which already tried the rest of the suite and were impressed with it so far, will pile on Publisher instead when it comes to the “cons” section. They will specifically say that it is unsuitable for long-form, complex work, because it is. This is a case of sheer, brutal honesty; I love Serif's intentions here, but people lavishing them with compliments, however sincere, truthful and heartfelt as they may be, are not doing them any favours, because they paint an incomplete picture of the market.     

 

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@JGD I like your attitude of honesty, but I guess to really help Serif you could at least briefly list up specific points you see as mission critical for Publishers success. Otherwise it stays unclear what you refering to.

@jmwellborn If you constantly only stating that nothing should be changed you don't help to improve. Just a thought. Consider bringing useful feedback in. There is always room for improvement.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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46 minutes ago, JGD said:

And most of the professionals, many of which already tried the rest of the suite and were impressed with it so far, will pile on Publisher instead when it comes to the “cons” section. They will specifically say that it is unsuitable for long-form, complex work, because it is. This is a case of sheer, brutal honesty...

...DTP apps are an entirely different beast and their users have a vastly different set of priorities.

Yes, up to a point you may be correct. It is clear that software which falls into the category of 'professional software' has to be capable of fulfilling tasks which would not fall within the scope of amateur work. i.e. Photoshop Elements does not compete with Photoshop if you want to create CMYK separations. How would you deal with dot gain, screen angles or traps and knock outs with software intended for amateur uses?  Grids are likely to be found in professional DTP software but not in less well specified applications. DTP of course was known as CTP before DTP supposedly freed everyone from the constraints of printing. Frame, PageMaker, Quark Express, InDesign were softwares that grew from original CTP applications like Impression on an Archimedes computer. 

Everyone and their brother could then produce a Parish magazine from home. We have all seen the amateur 16 page monochromatic productions produced on 80gsm coloured paper that uses 70 different fonts. If you were a local letterpress/offset litho printer, you probably could not afford to own 70 families of typefaces in different sizes and weights. Amateur software also does not address issues for the designer who wanted to produce long runs of high quality documents by the photogravure printing process, for example. 

Interestingly, despite being introduced in the mid 90s, Hexachrome printing requires Adobe's Photoshop or Illustrator software to adopt and use plugins like Pantone's Hexware, Heximage and Hexvector in order to be Hexachrome aware. My point here is that even the industry 800lb gorillas of today are somewhat less capable than they could be. One software solution will not be the answer to every user's problems. I have always kept many different bitmap editors and utilities on hand for file conversions and ease of use. Likewise with design and publishing softwares.

Not wanting to be locked into a one size (from one manufacturer) fits everything philosophy was my rationale for owning many different pieces of software. After many years of Photoshop (v2.0 onwards) I got sucked into the Adobe CS nightmare with version one and somehow realised it was the beginning of the end. The assurances and promises from Adobe that prices would stay reasonable were quickly forgotten (shades of QXP from its position of market superiority?) and it seemed as if the updates broke more than they fixed. I skipped versions so that I could keep essential funds to myself rather than exchange more cash for doubtful 'features'. Adobe CC has been a bit of a nightmare and truthfully, was the final straw.

I have learned to do what I need to do in Affinity products. Photo does all that I need from a bitmap editor. Designer is a delight to use and shows Illustrator the way forward. Publisher looks set to be a killer program and all Affinity software is priced so that users do not need to have a mortgage to purchase it; nor is the software on some endless merry-go-round of paying the piper. I think it is likely that the Affinity suite will be purchased by many users rather than pirated because it represents excellent value for money. There has been some commentary from professionals who want the Affinity products to work like Adobe products. Learning some new methods may not be a bad thing, especially when it means that the code is lean, purpose built  and not beset with legacy issues.

Brutal honesty is a double-edged sword and cuts in both directions. Living in the past and reliving old glories is less than helpful. Who remembers what InDesign was like when it first appeared? It was not the perfect software that some reporters would have us old dogs believe. I would say that is better to learn some new tricks and support the developers who want us to have better software at a reasonable price.

0.2₵ 

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@jepho Thanks, I liked reading your post. :)

And you brought this really good to the point. :D

1 hour ago, jepho said:

After many years of Photoshop (v2.0 onwards) I got sucked into the Adobe CS nightmare with version one and somehow realised it was the beginning of the end. The assurances and promises from Adobe that prices would stay reasonable were quickly forgotten (shades of QXP from its position of market superiority?) and it seemed as if the updates broke more than they fixed. I skipped versions so that I could keep essential funds to myself rather than exchange more cash for doubtful 'features'. Adobe CC has been a bit of a nightmare and truthfully, was the final straw.

Affinity is a good thing and I hope they will not get one day the same idea that it's time to squeeze out as much money as they can get. At least it's unlikely since a new sucessor would come and fill in the gap that this leaves.

As individual I don't see me paying for a subscription ever.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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In time, Affinity software will certainly get it's fair share of the market. However, I'm also fairly certain that big companies will stick with Adobe simply due to their pipeline workflow that includes different areas. A single subscription of $49 for the entire Adobe package (that seems to be expanding) is the only choice, since great many job requimenets include adequate understanding and experience with Adobe software. Affinity is only a small part of that.

It's the same thing with 3D software. Industry sticks with Autodesk for production, while there are many newer, modern, rising stars out there that surpass it on the functionality, simplicity and price levels.

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1 hour ago, Mandu said:

 A single subscription of $49 for the entire Adobe package (that seems to be expanding) is the only choice, 

I understand that it may be the only choice for YOU.

Facts: $49 x 12 = $588 pa.

In the UK the same monthly paid fee is £49.94 which equates to $63.25 monthly and totals $759 at current exchange rates. This is $171 more than the US rate. Enough for almost 3 months additional subscription. Why does Adobe indulge in this price gouging when it costs no extra to deliver software globally via the internet?

The next monthly fee includes membership of Adobe Stock at £73.93 per month. This the equivalent of $93.63 per month and totals $1,123.56 annually. Of course only the first ten images are included in that stock fee component. 

The costs of Adobe Stock can be chosen from the following scale depending on your needs...

£19.99 ($25.32) £47.99 ($60.78) £99.99 ($126.63) or £119.99 ($151.96)

At the current exchange rates you could pay an additional annual fee of $303.84 up to an eye watering $1823.52 per annum. So if I wanted the best package including Adobe Stock, I would need to find the sum of $2582.52 as rental for the software and the use of Adobe Stock, every year! :35_thinking::51_scream:

Adobe is very definitely NOT the only choice. YMMV. :)

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I think if I would make money out of my creations I would still go with Affinity to lower my prices or have a higher revenue. All the money Adobe demands in the end has to be paid by someone and that is eventually the end user.


Windows 10 Pro x64 (1809). Intel Core i5-4670K @ 3.40GHz, 16 GB memory, NVidia GTX 780
Affinity Publisher Beta 1.7.0.221

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8 hours ago, Steps said:

@JGD I like your attitude of honesty, but I guess to really help Serif you could at least briefly list up specific points you see as mission critical for Publishers success. Otherwise it stays unclear what you refering to.

@jmwellborn If you constantly only stating that nothing should be changed you don't help to improve. Just a thought. Consider bringing useful feedback in. There is always room for improvement.

My bad, it completely skipped my mind. I could and maybe will link to the relevant topics, but I can give you a quick rundown of its shortcomings:

• Lack of in-line and anchored objects (having to reposition hundreds of objects by hand just because they won't reflow along with the text would be, to put it mildly, an infuriating chore);

• Lack of master page object/content override (especially for placing text), which is downright insane (yes, I know you can use your layout to automatically populate new pages with new text frames; but do you really have any fine control over them after the fact at the master page level? I think not… Comparatively speaking, it's almost as if Serif was shipping Affinity Photo v.1.0 without support for layers);

• Lack of multiline composer (but this one I was already expecting, as the Serif team was completely upfront about it since the whole suite was announced; it is kind of sad that we may have to wait several years until Serif comes up with anything similar, but that wouldn't preclude us from doing technical manuals and ragged-right justified compositions, which are extremely popular anyway).

Affinity apps still have some shortcomings when it comes to spot colour transparency and gradients (they have a tendency to convert them into CMYK), too, but according to my latest tests with the Designer betas they are on the right track, which makes me happy and optimistic about the future.

I'd also love to see them fully conform to the PostScript spec and allow for seamless copying and pasting between Designer and digital type design editors like FontLab or Glyphs, but I'm not holding my breath, as I know that's a niche within a niche within a niche. However, I'll test that use case every now and then and ask for improvements if need be; if they came to pass, I'd no longer be dependent upon Illustrator for almost anything when it comes to vector editing and Ai/PDF-to-.glyphs/OTF conversion, but my long-term plan is to convert my type designer partner(s) and students to a generic vector editor-free and end-to-end digital type design editor workflow anyway, so no biggie there. I can, then, basically use Ai CS5 to convert old modular fonts my partner and I have lying around and perform the odd auto-trace (which Affinity Designer still lacks and probably will for a few years anyway), so I'm already covered.

 

8 hours ago, jepho said:

Brutal honesty is a double-edged sword and cuts in both directions. Living in the past and reliving old glories is less than helpful. Who remembers what InDesign was like when it first appeared? It was not the perfect software that some reporters would have us old dogs believe. I would say that is better to learn some new tricks and support the developers who want us to have better software at a reasonable price.

0.2₵ 

Great response, thanks! Well, I fully concur. I don't want another “InDesign 2.0”… But there are some basic conventions that are best left untouched. For simpler projects and less demanding users, sure, I'm all for options and for having your software work for you from the get-go, but I – and most pros – absolutely need to have finer control over my layouts at the master page level and have those changes reflect upon the entire document. The workflows currently suggested are, for lack of a nicer term, completely broken in my view. If they are good enough for you, great, more power to you. I just know for a fact that I couldn't reproduce most of my older projects in Publisher in its current form without it taking me 10 times longer, even excluding the time it would take me to redo the masters. And seeing how time is money… it'd still be cheaper to pay for a CC subscription, I'm afraid.

Just my €0,2. ;)

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28 minutes ago, JGD said:

But there are some basic conventions that are best left untouched

I – and most pros – absolutely need to have finer control over my layouts at the master page level and have those changes reflect upon the entire document.

Yes, I get that the conventions with which we are familiar and have come to use and like are best left untouched. Looking a little deeper; we can see that conventions are merely those methods that are included with the software that has become flavour of the month or year. Some of those conventions (e.g. Photoshop mediated) were turned upside down with the arrival of Aperture. It was a fantastic software that was completely transparent to old fashioned film photographers like me and completely logical in its use. It soon became less popular with digital photographers who demanded curves adjustments because they had no understanding of how the software was designed or how film worked. Sadly, that software is no longer supported but I have never used such an easy and speedy bitmap editor with great image colour management.

The granularity of version 1 or version 2 software is never completely satisfactory. It takes many iterations to achieve a satisfactory level of fine control.  I like to see all numbers available to three significant decimal places but that level of fine adjustment is not necessary in many tasks. Arguably; one could probably manage with integers in a well-designed software package. Legacy beset software tends to take small evolutionary steps to overall improvements while new softwares can be as revolutionary as they like. I use Adobe's Acrobat a great deal and as yet,  I have not found anything to compete with it. There are plenty of PDF file editors around but none with the rather comprehensive and fine control of Acrobat. Much of what Acrobat can achieve could be described as convention but it is the overall reign of the software that dictates what features become an accepted convention.

Supporting Serif and Affinity software products and feeding back suggestions is the one way in which we can contribute to the software offered and its overall development. It is probably inevitable that new developments will be compared with existing developments. What seems to me to be very odd are the many loud calls to make any new software just like the old software. q.v. my reference to Aperture above. Progress derives from examining current methods and then making improvements in methods and capabilities. I may not know where the journey will end but for me it will always be exciting. The serious business of making money does not get in the way of finding new and interesting ways to accomplish repetitive tasks which result in better endpoints. YMMV :)

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