If you need a free tool for a printed project, this one’s well-worth a try. Scribus is an
open-source page layout app
which claims to offer press
ready output. Several small magazines use it in their production workflow and it’s not difficult to see why when you look at the available features. Colour separations? Check. Support for CMYK and spot colours? Check? ICC colour profiles? Plenty of control over PDF output? You get the idea.
Scribus uses an open-source file format, which has been updated in the latest release, 1.5, and doesn’t support older versions of the app. That’s not a problem if you haven’t used Scribus before. More of an issue might be the lack of support for InDesign and QuarkXPress files. But don’t let that put you off.
Scribus can open just about any image file you’re likely to need, and the latest version is able to store bitmap images, rather than just link to them.
There’s also a new feature called Symbols, which modifies instances of an object when the master item is modified. Version 1.5 also includes new type features. Associated licensing costs means there are no Pantone colour palettes in Scribus, but there are over 100 other colour palettes including several with colour schemes of large organisations.
The interface, like many open-source tools, takes a bit of getting used to, but you’ll find plenty of help and tutorials in the Scribus wiki (http://wiki.scribus.net).