Creating the Affinity Publisher Workbook

With the Affinity Publisher Workbook hot off the press, we talk to our Head of Documentation Andy Capstick and Creative Projects Manager Ian Cornwall to learn how it was created using—you guessed it—Affinity Publisher.

With ten hands-on projects, a 59-page Interface Tour, a Core Skills section (for brushing up on essential publishing techniques), a dedicated Page Design Principles chapter, hundreds of illustrations and screenshots, three tear-out Keyboard Shortcut cheat sheets and over 800 downloadable resource files, the Affinity Publisher Workbook is our largest companion guide yet—and producing it has been a real labour of love for everyone involved.

It comes in both English and German language, and is now available to purchase on the Affinity Store.

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In this article, we speak to two key members of the team: our Head of Documentation Andy Capstick, who edited and co-authored the book, and our Creative Projects Manager Ian Cornwall, who directed the overall look and contributed three hands-on projects, to gain an insight into how it was created.

Tell us a bit about the Workbook.

Andy: Well, I think the most important point to make is that the Workbook was published entirely in Affinity Publisher! It is our largest book yet (544 pages) and has the same high production values as the already available Affinity Designer and Photo Workbooks. It’s packed with projects, tips and tricks, all supported by our Interface Tour and Core Skills chapters, as well as a DTP-specific Page Design Principles chapter. All fully indexed of course.

Who was involved in its creation?

Andy: For starters, Ian brought many years of graphic design experience to the table, especially with page layouts. You’ll see his design skills in action in the Workbook’s brochure and poster projects. Emily Goater, our in-house Affinity Publisher product expert provided the Page Design Principles chapter, and we were also very pleased to commission Adam Banks, former Editor of MacUser, so he could share his 30 years of magazine publishing experience.

Ian: We also worked with some amazing designers, illustrators, and publishing experts from all over the world to bring you the rest of the projects, and we would like to say a big thanks to Eleni Debo, Roberta Burattini, Rosa Maglione, Steve Simpson, Sandi Dez, David Hussner, and our in-house graphic designer James Bates for their inspiring contributions. We would also like to thank Fernando Martins Ribeiro for shooting some of the product photography and images for the cover.

How did you plan out and manage such a huge publication?

Andy: Because of the nature of the projects, i.e. using internal and external commissions, all at different stages of development, the project and chapters were developed as independent Publisher files. This gave us maximum flexibility. We had three main stages: Planning—Development—Book Assembly/Publishing.

How easy was it to multi-author?

Andy: The core team was about five people—a mix of technical authors and graphic designers working in a DropBox cloud environment. By using JIRA task assignment, chapters and projects were owned by authors or designers. This kept development distributed until we brought the Workbook together into one file. As we’re focused on quality, the book was subject to rigorous Quality Assurance checks as you’d expect; both for its written content and all the downloadable files to follow along with the projects.

What was your process

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