Digital publication design formats

September 24, 2012 1:48 pm Published by

While digital publishing is fairly new to Australia it is certainly growing at a swift rate. There are many aspects to consider and so much untapped potential just itching to be released.

To cover all bases digital publications can be created in some or all of the following formats:

PDF (Portable document format)

When a document is converted to PDF format it is basically an image replica of the data on the page. PDF is common to most electronic devices from ereaders, computers, i-devices and can be output for high quality print replication also.

PDF documents are highly beneficial for computer and i-device use as they allow smart-text viewing and interactivity especially through onscreen pdf viewing applications. PDF documents created in native design platforms (such as InDesign) maintain their text data. This means text can be copied, searched or interactively linked to web pages or through inter-document navigation (smart click navigation).

More recent developments of PDF functionality include form data capture and management.

The main limitation of PDF documents is that display on smaller screens (ereaders, iPhones, iPods, etc.) can be limited due to heavy scaling. This is one of the reasons that sees ereaders favour epub format with the fluid or flowing text functionality over pdf format.

Epub (EPUB)

Epub is a distribution and interchange format that was developed by the International Digital Publishing Forum (IDPF). The IDPF are a global standards organisation dedicated to the development of electronic publishing. Epub is a compressed, packaged and encoded file consisting of HTML5, CSS, images, SVG and blends it into a single file format for ease of use and distribution.

This format is most compatible with a mix of e-reading devices with the most common being the Amazon Kindle.

Fixed Layout EPUB (FLEPUB)

Similar to EPUB, FLEPUB utilises CSS positioning to create precise layouts including full page bleed layouts and overlapping text/image content. This file format is most commonly used for magazine, how-to guides, picture books and other highly visual publications.

Mobi (MOBI)

This format was originally created for Palm Pilots, later adapted to suit Kindle. It is also based on HTML.

Applications / Interactive Multimedia Ebook

itunes applications and interactive digital publications support interactive components including embedded videos, image slideshows and transitions, non-linear storytelling and animations. These are not yet supported by ereaders and are designed primarily for computer or i-device use.

As Shell Graphix, a Brisbane based design firm, delves deeper into this new field they endeavour to make the results speak for themselves. Keep an eye on this blog feed for inspiration and demonstrations in this exciting new world of digital publishing.

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This post was written by Shell Graphix

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