I wanted to share something I discovered at the end of last term – a service for Macs that creates a PDF booklet layout from any document. TL;DR:  That link is all you need to print booklets.

I don’t like making traditional ‘workbooks’ – you know, the ones where you document your progress, stick in your contact sheets and test prints, and talk about your influences.  Don’t get me wrong – I enjoy reading them, and they’re a good as a concept… it’s the execution that I have a problem with.  They’re supposed to show development and provide justification and influences for what you’ve done.  Which is great.

But it never seems to work out that way, and the act of creating the workbook seems to dominate the project – it becomes more about creating a workbook that’s very markable and grade-able, rather than creating a good body of work.  That has been my experience with them, anyway.  I’m sure that there are people that create workbooks as they go along, and use it as a documentary on the project rather than something that you do to jump through marksheet-criteria hoops.  Having said that, I know more people who simply fake their workbook at the end of the project, which IMHO misses the point.

Personally, I prefer to word-process an extended statement about the body of work that I’ve created, and then print it out as a booklet.  In the past I’ve then had these spiral bound at the print shop at uni.  For the sake of about £2, it’s a tidy way to provide some context for what you’ve been working on.  For my last project, however, I ran out of time and knew that I wouldn’t be able to get to the print shop before my crit.

This probably isn’t something that you’d know if you haven’t tried to print of a booklet using more than one sheet of A4 before, but it’s basically impossible to print out a multi-page booklet from whatever program you happen to be using.  AFAIK, it isn’t possible with Word, Pages, Publisher… whatever.  With this download, all you need to do is print out the PDF document that is outputted on a printer capable of printing double-sided, and staple it in the middle.  Simple.

It has taken me a loooong time to figure out how to do this, which is all the more embarrassing considering how simple ‘Create Booklet PDF Service’ makes it.  Anyone who read that rant has more than earnt the right to benefit from my struggles.