As much as I hate to admit it, my Mac experience goes all the way back to before Aldus PageMaker, one of the first of the modern page layout apps. Back in the day there was also Ready, Set, Go!, MacDraw, and a few others that my aging brain cells refuse to bring to mind.
Today, page layout apps seem to fall into two categories. Apple’s Pages on the low end. Quark Express and Adobe InDesign on the higher end. These are not your father’s page layout apps. Both are processional digital publishing monsters with a long list of capability and a larger than life price tag.
What about desktop publishing for the rest of us?
One of my favorites is BeLight’s capable Swift Publisher. This is a very Mac-like app used to design newsletters, promotional fliers, announcements, small books, even small newspapers. For InDesign or Quark you’ll spend 10 times the money and not be able to produce basic publications are quickly as in Swift Publisher.
It’s a template-based app so you start with nearly 200 pre-designed templates. Everything on each is drag and drop, so taking a template and customizing is as easy as moving elements around on a page.
Swift Publisher is a layer-based workflow, so you can mix and match text boxes with graphics. Speaking of graphics, the package comes with 40,000 pieces of clip art and 100 fonts. Images from iPhoto and Aperture can be integrated within the layout and you can adjust the image using the built-in tools.
Customization of a template layout is easy. You get drawing tools, gradient fills, shadows, masks, and an image editor built in.
If you remember PageMaker or have used Microsoft’s Publisher, Swift Publisher will seem like an old friend. If you pine for Quark Express or InDesign, the nominal price tag of Swift Publisher will be attractive, but the toolset and capability is substantially less.