Layouts and Printing

So after deciding I wanted to use my small phomeo printer, I tried using a few different libraries and open source hacks to get my older python layout code to work with it. This proved to be sort of fruitless, as I kept hitting roadblocks and it wasn’t really doing what I wanted it to do anyways.

After that, I tried doing some PDF generation with python. I found this to be kind of cool, because I could do some basic positioning and image work. Python has some pretty well documented and robust ways to make PDFs. But again, it wasn’t really going where I wanted, and I found myself asking the same question I had w/ firmware which was “do I want to spend countless hours tracking down how to fix X, or…not?”

After some thoughts, I ended up teaching myself how to use Affinity Publisher. It was weird at first, I felt like I had failed, or was “cheating”, but then reminded myself that yes, I used to do print work…and print was where my entire interest in design started.

One thing that was interesting to me is that, like the text generation and assemblage, I sort of went back to a classical kind of layout. I think I just really liked my photos as is, and the idea of printing a bunch of stuff over them didn’t really appeal to me. I had started w/ doing collages in Affinity Photo, but it didn’t translate to well to the small printer, and in the end I just wanted to keep it simple. Plus I decided that the collages inserted into the zines was a juxtaposition I could live with.

The other challenge was getting the zine in a format for sending to the printer. One of the downsides of not really hacking it, was having to deal w/ the printer software…printer software kind of sucks across the board, regardless of printer or platform. But this was tied to mobile and it was pretty annoying. I tried doing some different work flows like using the iPad version on my computer, and sending things to my phone as a PDF.

In the end the process to print things, was Affinity Publisher > Export as a JPG > Air Drop to my Iphone > use the app on my phone to print to the printer. This I found was the best way to keep the layout as a 1 to 1 and not deal with text replacements (hilariously something I always had to deal with when doing print, so 20 years later and that’s still a thing).

All in all this ended up being a much less code related process that I thought it would be.