My battle with Scribus was legendary

spittingimage

hawwwk-ptui
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
795
Reaction score
1,440
...but I think I finally got it to do what I want.

The Horrible House of Ivan Vantig

I'd love any feedback you can give me on this. I've been trying to learn layout the last few weeks. Have I chosen good fonts? Have I over/under-used art? Have I failed to keep the art style mostly consistent? Are my columns too close together? Have I written an unplayable adventure so twisted and dire that future roleplayers will mention my name in the same breath they use for F.A.T.A.L.?
 

The Butcher

The Operative
Joined
Apr 29, 2017
Messages
2,835
Reaction score
5,237
1d4 bottles of single malt whisky as treasure? Fuck, Ivan is my kind of guy!

I really like both premise and execution. Congratulations!

LotFP seems like the ideal fit, but being a consummate overthinker, I’d relish the opportunity to convert this to Zweihänder.

With either system, though, I’d dig the opportunity to run horrific historical fantasy in a 1700+ setting. Really like what you’ve done with it.
 

Nobby-W

Far more clumsy and random than a blaster
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
1,346
Reaction score
2,002
...but I think I finally got it to do what I want.

The Horrible House of Ivan Vantig

I'd love any feedback you can give me on this. I've been trying to learn layout the last few weeks. Have I chosen good fonts? Have I over/under-used art? Have I failed to keep the art style mostly consistent? Are my columns too close together? Have I written an unplayable adventure so twisted and dire that future roleplayers will mention my name in the same breath they use for F.A.T.A.L.?
I think the selection of artwork keeps a nice Victorian look and feel. The layout was fine and looks pretty good; there's nothing jarring about it. The white spacing around the columns is fine; the ragged right edge opens it up a bit anyway. The artwork isn't over used; it doesn't clutter up the layout although in a few cases it looks a bit cramped - obviously you were a little short of space in some columns. For a Victorian clip-art feel, there are horizontal dingbats to separate paragraphs and suchlike. In those cases you might just use one of those.

It looks like you've used Garamond for the body text, and the Grotesque[1] you've used for the headings is neutral and goes with it fine. Perhaps it's a little heavy; you could bring it down a point or two, or maybe find some Victorian or art nouveau looking display typeface for the headings (Not Boecklin - something much less ornate). Do a web search for fonts that go with Garamond; there are quite a few sites with content about font combinations.

The headings look a bit cramped against the paragraph underneath; it would look a bit better if you added about 2-3 points of space underneath the headings, and in fact most default styles that come with word processing software do this.

There are a few knobs you can twiddle on copy fitting. If you need to pad or pull some space, try:
  • Select all of the text of a page and kern it in or out by one or two hundredths of an em. You also might have tracking controls that can pull it in. This can get you a couple of extra lines by pulling up a paragraph into fewer lines.
  • For a single page or double page spread, you can pull in a few tenths of a point of leading without it being obvious, although don't mix and match this in adjacent columns or on the same spread. Garamond has a fairly small x-height so it's even less obvious.
  • Likewise, you can just drop the type on a spread by a few tenths of a point (assuming your composition app supports this).
  • If your app supports it[2], you can also scale the type horizontally. Folks won't notice type set at 95% or 105% of standard width. This will work fine on a 600-1200dpi laser or imagesetter although you might want to check to see if it renders well on screen.
  • You can tweak the column widths slightly or use soft returns to get a paragraph to spill in or out by a line.
____________________________________
1 - That's a real term, roughly meaning sans-serif fonts that look like Helvetica.
2 - I'm afraid that I'm not really familiar with Scribus so I don't know the detail OTOH. You may need to tinker or apply some google-fu to see what features it has.
 
Last edited:

spittingimage

hawwwk-ptui
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
795
Reaction score
1,440
With either system, though, I’d dig the opportunity to run horrific historical fantasy in a 1700+ setting. Really like what you’ve done with it.
Thanks. I hope you get a chance to run it.
It looks like you've used Garamond for the body text, and the Grotesque[1] you've used for the headings is neutral and goes with it fine. Perhaps it's a little heavy; you could bring it down a point or two, or maybe find some Victorian or art nouveau looking display typeface for the headings (Not Boecklin - something much less ornate). Do a web search for fonts that go with Garamond; there are quite a few sites with content about font combinations.
Cheers, this is exactly the sort of advice I need.

Makes perfect sense to me to call it a Grotesque, too. A grotesque is a gargoyle without a water spout, so they sit on the roofline and look down.
 

Nobby-W

Far more clumsy and random than a blaster
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
1,346
Reaction score
2,002
Thanks. I hope you get a chance to run it.

Cheers, this is exactly the sort of advice I need.

Makes perfect sense to me to call it a Grotesque, too. A grotesque is a gargoyle without a water spout, so they sit on the roofline and look down.
Historically the term Grotesque (Grotesk in German) dates back to the 19th century and was a term applied to describe sans-serif fonts in general. For example, there's a typeface called Akzidenz Grotesk (Normal Grotesque in English) dating to about 1890 that looks quite a lot like Helvetica, and is credited with being an influence on the design.

In the early-mid the 20th century, sans-serif typefaces with humanist and geometric forms became recognized specifically as sub-categories of sans-serif fonts. Futura is the canonical geometric sans-serif, and there have been plenty of other geometric designs since then. Humanist sans-serif fonts first started trending in the early 20th century with the works of folks such as Eric Gill or Edward Johnston, who designed the iconic typeface used in London Underground signage). Gill Sans, an artefact of that era, continues to be widely used today and is often cited as the canonical example of a humanist sans-serif design.

Grotesques then drifted to describing sans-serif typefaces with traditional letter forms (neither particularly humanistic nor geometric in nature), of which Helvetica is perhaps the best known. Other well known grotesque designs include Monotype Arial (best known for being bundled with Windows), Univers (a contemporary of Helvetica noted for coming in a wide variety of weights and widths) or Frutiger (a nice sans-serif typeface with a somewhat humanistic feel).

Today we see fonts designed for screen - essentially designed to render well at low resolutions. Microsoft's Tahoma and Trebuchet are examples of this type of font and feature slightly squared letter forms. Another popular family is Bigelow and Holmes's Lucida family, which was an early family designed explicitly for digital typography (i.e. rendering on bitmapped displays). Many 'web' fonts have been produced in the past few years, and there is a significant trend to designing fonts for on-screen use first and print rendering second.
 
Last edited:

Nobby-W

Far more clumsy and random than a blaster
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
1,346
Reaction score
2,002
I miss Pagemaker. It's actually pretty easy to learn and focused pretty much on being a composition tool with very limited word processing features. InDesign still feels a bit clunky in comparison; Adobe should have stuck with its repositioning of Pagemaker as an entry level product. I'm almost tempted to spin up a 32 bit Windows XP VM just to run it.
 

spittingimage

hawwwk-ptui
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
795
Reaction score
1,440
Historically the term Grotesque (Grotesk in German) dates back to the 19th century and was a term applied to describe sans-serif fonts in general. For example, there's a typeface called Akzidenz Grotesk (Normal Grotesque in English) dating to about 1890 that looks quite a lot like Helvetica, and is credited with being an influence on the design.
It's not about the positioning then? I feel slightly less clever. I'm gonna go beat an 8-year old at Scrabble to get my mojo back.
 

spittingimage

hawwwk-ptui
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
795
Reaction score
1,440
It looks like you've used Garamond for the body text,
It's Crimson Text, which looks so much like Garamond I can't tell the difference.

I agree that Boecklin is too ornate. I experimented with Lily Script One, but even though it's less ornate I think it might still be over-decorated.

lilyscriptone.png

How do you feel about Lobster? I'd like to do this using free fonts if I can manage it.

lobster.png
 

Nobby-W

Far more clumsy and random than a blaster
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
1,346
Reaction score
2,002
It's Crimson Text, which looks so much like Garamond I can't tell the difference.
According to the web site it's a Garamond knock-off designed to render better on-screen. Making fonts that render well at low resolutions is an art in itself. Adobe's original implementation of Optima had two whole separate fonts - one for small and one for large sizes.
I agree that Boecklin is too ornate. I experimented with Lily Script One, but even though it's less ornate I think it might still be over-decorated.

View attachment 13843

How do you feel about Lobster? I'd like to do this using free fonts if I can manage it.

View attachment 13844
Not sure a script really goes with a the gothic setting. Maybe a glyphic like Albertus. You might also try another sans-serif font - Futura/Garamond is a classic combo and Evil Hat use Gotham for headings in the FATE Core rulebook (in which the body is set in Garamond). I think Gotham is paid for but you should be able to get freebie versions of Albertus or Futura.

A little protip: old versions of Corel Draw go for peanuts on ebay and come with about 1,000 high quality fonts from Bitstream.
 
Last edited:

Simon Hogwood

Puritan Bearbearian
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Messages
386
Reaction score
645
I thought it was a neat adventure, and presentation-wise it stacked up well against similar items. Nothing jumped out at me saying "look at this amateurish nonsense", which is more than I can say for some.
 

spittingimage

hawwwk-ptui
Joined
Sep 21, 2018
Messages
795
Reaction score
1,440
A little protip: old versions of Corel Draw go for peanuts on ebay and come with about 1,000 high quality fonts from Bitstream.
I'm gonna try that. Just bought a license and waiting for the download email to reach me.
I thought it was a neat adventure, and presentation-wise it stacked up well against similar items. Nothing jumped out at me saying "look at this amateurish nonsense", which is more than I can say for some.
Thanks Simon. I appreciate that.
 

Nobby-W

Far more clumsy and random than a blaster
Joined
Oct 7, 2018
Messages
1,346
Reaction score
2,002
@spittingimage - maybe you could write an article about your experiences with Scribus. I've never done anything more than tinker with it, although I have used several other composition systems, mainly Pagemaker, InDesign, Framemaker, LaTeX and a little bit of really old versions of Quark. Scribus is kind of interesting in that it has some level of support from DriveThruRPG - they provide Scribus templates for various document types.

@robertsconley uses Adobe CC (InDesign) and likes it, although it's rental-only these days. I got in and bought CS6 and TCS4 before they went rental only. I'd also be quite interested to see what the new Affinity (formerly Serif) suite looks like. Their old product (PagePlus) was apparently fairly good.
 
Last edited:

Malrex

Active Member
Joined
Feb 23, 2019
Messages
41
Reaction score
79
I'd also be quite interested to see what the new Affinity (formerly Serif) suite looks like. Their old product (PagePlus) was apparently fairly good.
I still use PagePlus. I'm TRYING to get into the Affinity program. It's GOING to be awesome...it's just a little different and I'm still comfy with Page Plus and I always seem to be in a hurry...so just need some time to dink around with Affinity. But 50$ each for Affinity products---it's a no brainer. Publisher, Photo, and Design--all great and affordable.
 
Top