Imagine that you’re handed scores of magazine pages in the form of multiple InDesign files. Your task is to reconceptualize that content into a publication that not only looks like it was designed for the iPad, but adds audio and video. And the tools you’re using are so new that they’re evolving as you work with them. Now imagine that you have only three weeks to complete the entire project.
While I think I’d react with a four-letter word, the small team faced with this very real challenge handled it like the pros they are. Scott Citron, Mordy Golding, and Bob Levine created Scientific American‘s “Origins and Endings” app using InDesign CS5 and Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite.
They do admit that it was a test of their skills. “Just because content fits on a magazine page doesn’t mean it fits on an iPad ‘page’,” notes Scott Citron. “When you shrink down a page of the magazine to the iPad’s 1024 by 768 pixels, you end up with so much text. In the first few prototypes, the text and margins were way too small. We settled on 17.5-point body type and 22-point leading. The print magazine body text is 9.5 points.”
There were also plenty of technical challenges. As Bob Levine notes, the hardware and software are so new that “there’s no experience to call on. You don’t know which rules you can break and still have it function.”