Somewhere on the Web I came across an offer for a free issue of Inside Adobe InDesign, a monthly newsletter for ID users, and took advantage of the offer. You’ve seen these offers, get your free issue, no obligation, cancel at any time, blah, blah, blah. About three weeks (give or take) after I signed up, I received an invoice for $147 from Eli Journals (the publisher), stating that they haven’t received payment for my subscription yet. To be quite honest, I didn’t even remember what it was they were invoicing me for since I hadn’t received anything yet, so I tossed the invoice. About a week or two after receiving the invoice, I finally got my copy of IAID. It’s a 16 page, 8.5 x 11 glossy, full color newsletter which was pre-punched for a 3-ring binder. Nothing overly fancy about the design of the newsletter, but hey – I’m paying for the content, right?! Oh, by the way, I also got another invoice. I guess I’m spoiled with my subscription to Layers Magazine, which by the way costs 1/3 the amount and averages over 120 pages. The content of IAID fell WAY SHORT of what I was expecting, though maybe that’s my fault for expecting anything useful. Inside I was treated to the following content:

  • Four pages on “avoiding registration mishaps by setting a perfect trap.” Now I must admit that knowing what trapping is and how it can affect your document when printed is important, but any commercial printer worth the ink on their business card handles the trapping for you. Additionally, 99% of the RIPs out there that a printer uses will override your trap settings when printed unless you specifically tell them not to – in which case your carefully trapped document can turn out to be a mess because their RIP is calibrated to trap to their particular output device. In the end, this was a great way to fill four pages, but of little use to anyone who knows commercial printing.
  • Three pages of a tutorial on how to “Create realistic Polaroid-style frames for your images” without the use of Photoshop. Great, I love tutorials. Unfortunately, the end result of this tutorial looked like a design-school first-day project. It was horrible. The image was at a different angle than the white Polaroid-style frame it was sitting on. Completely amateur, completely useless. Plus, there are easier ways to create Polaroid-style frames for your images.
  • Two pages of “10 surefire ways to cut your printing costs.” Now this was something of use for most designers – except that the tips were so vague in nature that they were barely useful. One full tip essentially is to “properly prepare your digital files.” Another was “plan ahead to avoid rush charges.” Well no duh!!! Another wasted 2 pages.
  • One full page on how to “upgrade your workflow with Adobe Creative Suite 3.” This was nothing more than the product chart showing what programs are included with what Creative Suite – the very same chart you can find on Adobe’s Web site (and the 5,000 other sites that had the chart and description several months back and that you’ve already seen).
  • One full page on how to “nest frames to create a one-of-a-kind object.” OK, so this was actually useful.
  • One full page on “getting text and objects to peacefully coexist” – which was basically a very brief tutorial on how to anchor an object/image into a text frame. This tutorial was also useful to new InDesign users, but didn’t really go into enough detail to show you how useful it really can be.
  • One and a half pages on how to see what color profile is embedded in your Photoshop image and how to safely scale images. Yawn…
  • Three quarter page software review of Teacup Software’s ImageSwapper plugin – which allows you to replace your low-res images with their high-res equivelant just before print time. Um, who still does this? Well, large catalog-makers probably still do this, but there are automated workflows for OPI that link to image databases to handle the job. I can’t blame the newsletter for covering this, because it is a nice piece of software, but so limited in its audience that I hardly think it worth the back cover of the newsletter.

That’s it. $12.25 of my subscription for one issue, and not a single valuable piece of information as a pro-user, and about a page and a half of useful info for beginners. Perhaps I just received an older issue (it was Volume 4, Number 6 for whatever that’s worth) and the content has gotten better. Or maybe when you get the “free issue” you only get a portion of a full issue. Either way, I wasn’t impressed at all. This is definitely not something I consider worth the investment. Needless to say, I won’t be subscribing. Oh, by the way, I received another invoice a few days after receiving the free issue… I give them an “A” for persistence.