Desktop Publishing Workflow

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There is often some confusion around the tools used in graphic design and what roles they play in a larger process, such as desktop publishing. The following has been developed during workshops with classroom teachers and outlines a simple desktop processing workflow.

The tools


  • Raster image creation and manipulation tool
  • Working format: .xcf
  • Set correct resolution at beginning (300dpi for print, 72dpi for screen)
  • Ideal for photos and complex photo manipulation (color, contrast, brightness, clones etc)
  • Export formats: Print: JPG, TIFF; Screen: JPG, PNG
  • Web site:


  • Vector image creation and manipulation
  • Working format: svg
  • Lines / fills
  • Set document to correct size depending on what you are designing (e.g. A5 logo, A4 poster size, A3 magazine spread)
  • Export correct resolution (300dpi for print, 72dpi for screen)
  • Export formats: Print: PDF, TIFF, PNG
  • Web site:


  • Working format: .sla
  • Document layout and structure
  • Export to PDF for final printing
  • Web site:

The Process

The Gimp and Inkscape tools are used to prepare images that will be used in the final document. Gimp is primarily used for photographic imagery or images with a lot of variation on colour, contrast, hue etc while Inkscape is great for creating vector images with lines, fills, simple gradients etc. Text that will be used as an image in the final document can be created in either.

Scribus is used to compile the final document and brings together all images prepared in Gimp and Inkscape along with text content (usually prepared in a word processor).

  1. Prepare images and text content
  2. Export images in a print format and resolution
  3. Bring all assets into Scribus for composition
  4. Export final document to PDF
  5. Send PDF to print