Other posts related to scribus

 | December 28, 2011 1:49 am

Elegant-Book-page1One of the most difficult (and, subsequently, rewarding) publications to create is that of a photographic or fine arts book. Unlike a novel, or a book with a sane number of images, fine arts books have a lot of variables. These include a written narrative, photographs and the artwork, and the typography. Additional page decoration add to the complexity. Things can get really sticky because all of the different elements rebound against one another, but it’s essential that they all sing harmony to the melody.

The photography needs to match the timbre of the text, and the typography should cause the whole to resonate. When everything comes together well, a carefully crafted volume will draw readers like famished revelers to a feast. They’ll linger on the artwork, study the captions, dwell on the text, and ponder the message.

About a year ago, I played around with different layouts for such a publication. Initially, I wanted to experiment with a style known as “formalism”, which combines some of the best aspects of Swiss/Modern school with a slightly more relaxed attitude toward using decoration and embellishment. I had planned on developing a template for a side project.

An Elegant Book - Page Spread 1

Unfortunately, I never got much further than the layouts that you see here. Life and circumstances prevented me from completing the side project, and the typography didn’t have the right tone for other things I was working on. So, the template I was going to create languished.

Until last week, that is.

An Elegant Book - Page Spread 2

A little under six months ago, I got married. As part of the celebrations (which are still ongoing), I created a wedding album for my wife. Instead of working from scratch on the album, I chose to use the “Elegant Book” template. This means, that I’ve finally cleaned it up enough that I feel comfortable releasing it into the wild. I hope that someone is able to enjoy and make use of it! (Merry Christmas, belatedly.)


An Elegant Book. This archive includes all of the files and fonts needed to install the template. A PDF example can be found here.


To install, download the .zip archive. Then, extract it and open up the main document file, which ends in the .sla extension. Once the file finishes loading, select the “Save as Template” option from the “File” menu. Be sure to place a checkmark in the “Include Font” and “Include Color Profile” boxes. Select the directory where you would like to save the template (you will probably want to make a new one). Finally, click on the “Save” button.

When you save a template into the Scribus Templates folder, it will copy the template file, photos, and fonts to the directory you specify. It will also add the template to the template gallery.

Template Use

Once you have downloaded and installed the template, you can create a new document by clicking on the “New From Template” link in the “File” menu. When the template file first loads, it will provide you with several example pages that can be used in your layout. Simply delete the sample text/images and replace them with your own.

To adjust the appearance of a particular block of text, you can apply character and paragraph styles from the “Text” section of the “Properties” dialog. To modify the appearance of a whole page, you can make use of the “Apply Master Page” option under the “Page” menu.


Below, you can find a few of the page layouts I used in the wedding album. The template contains additional examples.

Book Cover

Book Title Page




Bridal Veils


Memories of Weddings Past

 | December 29, 2010 6:18 pm

2011 Calendar - Africa January

Over the past week, I’ve been helping a non-profit put together a yearly thank-you calendar.  I’ve been using Scribus, and so far, it’s been going very smoothly.

Scribus includes a nifty “Calendar Wizard” that lets you generate date grids for any month or year.  But though the Calendar Wizard works well, I found that it didn’t support all of the features that I would like.  Therefore, I spent a little bit of time and put together my own template.

In addition to a date grid, the template includes modified styles for the weeks, days and months (set to use the Linux Libertine typeface); the lunar phases; common North American Holidays; and miniature calendars for the preceding and following months.  I’ve also added image placeholders for all of the different pages.

Using this template, you should be able to create a  handsome, interesting calendar in almost no-time.  Though I had a “fine arts” feel in mind, it seems to work well with funny cat-pictures.  The sample pages shown here were all created from the template.

Because it might be of interest/benefit to other people, I thought that I would post the template here.  The download file below includes everything required to make the template work.

To install, copy it to your Scribus Templates folder.  (The templates folder is included in your Scribus user folder.  For Linux users, this is usually a folder called “.scribus” in your home directory.  If you wish, you can change it from the “Preferences” dialog.)  Because the template was created with Scribus 1.3.9, you will need that version or the upcoming 1.4.0 to make it work.


2011 Scribus Calendar Template (Formal).  A formal calendar template for users of Scribus covering January to December 2011.  The template includes a calendar grid, the lunar phases, miniature calendars for the preceding and following months, and common holidays.  By default, it uses Linux Libertine as the typeface, though this can be adjusted using the available styles.  (Typeface bundled with the template.)

The template is released under a creative commons, attribution, share and share-a-like license.  If you make any changes or enhancements to the layout, please be kind enough to provide a link in the forum.  That way, everyone can benefit.

Example Layouts

2011 Calendar - page0062011 Calendar - page005

2011 Calendar - page009

2011 Calendar - page011

2011 Calendar - page013

(The images in the examples were taken from Wikimedia Commons and from the Creative Commons photos posted on Flickr, though I converted them to black/white.  You can probably tell that I’ve been pretty influenced by Nick Brandt.  These are not the images that will be used in the thank-you calendar, just pictures I’ve been using to practice photo-manipulation techniques.)

 | November 29, 2010 11:18 pm

Note: I am still working on the book.  This is why there have been few postings.  I am plugging away full steam, but creating all of the needed illustrations has been much more time consuming than expected.  I hope to have updates soon.

For the past month or so, I’ve been helping to redesign the KDE eV Quarterly report.  (It is very much a team project, and I am only one of several people working on it.)  Below are several page layouts from one of the concepts.  I’m not sure that they’re going anywhere, but I liked how they turned out.

Therefore, I thought I would post them.  Thoughts, ideas, critiques, and flames are all welcome.  The theme of the template is “people.”





 | August 21, 2010 2:51 pm


During my talk to the local Linux user’s group the other night, I spent a few minutes introducing Scribus.   Scribus is a marvelous tool and fills a much needed void in the world of Linux writing/publishing.  It brings a robust layout and pre-press design tool to the Linux desktop, with the additional benefit that it’s easy to use.  (At least when compared to professional grade tools on other platforms such as Quark XPress or Adobe Indesign>)

However, even though Scribus is a wonderful tool, it can be a bit intimidating to get started.  Desktop Publishing programs are not the same as word processors and shouldn’t be used in the same manner.  That isn’t the purpose for which they were built.  They completely lack important extensions, such as a Thesaurus or Spellchecker, for example, that many writers would consider essential.

Rather, when you use a desktop publishing program, you are exclusively focused on how your document looks.  Desktop publishing programs are typography tools, not writing tools, that come into play after all of the words have been written.

Using a good layout/desktop publishing program, you can tweak any detail related to the appearance of your document.  This includes the the margins, the spacing between letters, the fonts and many other details besides.  Everything.  They are tremendously powerful.

But with power comes complexity and it’s easy to be intimidated by complexity.  We fear what we don’t understand and complex things can be difficult to understand.

In the case of a layout program, the language may be strange or the controls might not behave as you would expect them to; which just freaks people out.  (I mean, is it really fair to expect that someone unfamiliar with the history of typography know that “kerning” refers to the space between letters?)

This is why a well designed example, or template, can make all of the difference between success and failure when trying something new.  During my presentation and subsequent conversations I had with people afterward, this point came up (multiple times, actually).  So, in addition to my presentation slides, I also agreed to upload a couple of Scribus templates that people could use to get started.

In the remainder of this post, you’ll find two presentation templates that can help you get started with Scribus.  These examples/templates are:

  1. A modern style presentation theme (the same theme I used to create my slides, actually)
  2. A modern magazine/catalog layout

Both examples work with Scribus 1.3.6 or newer.  Older versions of Scribus (> 1.3.6) use version 3 of the Qt framework, which means that they are tremendously out of date and, for that reason, dead to me.

(If you’re using Ubuntu, you can install Scribus 1.3.6 by searching for the ScribusNG package in the Software Center.  Both the stable version and ScribusNG can be installed side-by-side.)

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