Workstation Applications

These are a few examples of what a custom workstation application can do for your staff.

Mech Maker

Designers needed a way to quickly create book cover layouts. This application allowed them to select and customize standard page dimensions for width, height, spine, flap, trim and bleed for each cover they want to create. The interface also provided access to these settings and allowed the artist to select from existing book files located on a server containing textual data for the cover.

Now, they simply click a button and the custom cover is built to their exact specifications. Standard text and image boxes are built within this framework and text data is imported and styled into key boxes for the selected title. Once the file is created, the artist is free to import other images and text and to focus on designing a great cover.

This is a great example of an AppleScript based custom application that acts as a time saving tool, performing the meticulous preparation work laying out the dimensions of the document and then leaving the user free to focus on the more creative aspects of the job. The application populates most of the popup lists based on a pre-defined folder structure — displaying folder names for imprints and divisions and text files for titles, for example — allowing new or updated material there to automatically become available in everyone’s copy of the application.

Catalog Builder

A catalog team needed a way to quickly create specification and price books containing product information and then cross reference products that were common in both books. Storing all their product information in a FileMaker Pro database, this custom application performs a series of finds, sorts and exports to prepare that data for placement and styling in InDesign using EM Software’s xTags.

The multi-tabbed interface gave them the options they needed to build the catalog, cross reference products, generate indexes and perform other actions, all automatically with the click of a button. Once they select the desired function and enter the settings they want to use, the AppleScript code underlying the interface takes over and quickly builds the catalog files and prepares them for proofing and transmission to the printing press.

This custom application allows the user to choose between InDesign CS4 and CC, easing the transition when upgrading to the newer version.

Label Designer

This custom application allows a user to create a list of label instructions for an automation server to construct in QuarkXPress. The user selects a client and product family. They can then customize the backgrounds, bar codes and text colors. The label list can be rearranged by simply dragging and dropping instructions to the desired location. The user can work on multiple documents at once, save and reopen them as needed and, when ready, send the instructions to the server where the label files are built automatically.