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I'm an engineer who recently became a member of a county Grand Jury in California. For those who don't know what that means, it's a body of 19 people who - for a year - have the responsibility to investigate various aspects of the county and the cities and special districts, etc., in the county. The object of an investigation is to create a report containing research, findings, recommendations and such which is then provided to the entity or entities mentioned in the report who then must respond. The set of all reports during the year is then included in the full report of the Grand Jury.

OK, that's the background. In reading past reports (which are online) I have found pretty much all of them to be profoundly uninteresting as far as layout and design are concerned. What I expect has occurred in the past is some juror starts using Microsoft Word pretty much straight out of the box with no eye towards the niceties of layout and design - probably due to not having any background (or, in my case, talent) for layout and design.

I do, however, understand the need of separating layout and design from content - something Microsoft Word doesn't do well. I admit I have no particular skill at graphic design but would still like to produce a product at the end of our service which not only has properly formatted citations, an index, good typography and excellent content, but which also looks good. Can anyone offer advice as to where I might find help along these lines? That is, is there (for example) a Graphic Design class that might wish to give us a design (and get it published by the County) that I can use? I don't know that I have any actual budget for this but someone might want to do it for the publicity.

Is there a significant possibility that I might succeed in getting some help?

  • Are you trying to find somewhere to learn Graphic Design or are you trying to hire a Designer? – AndrewH Jun 30 at 1:51
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    Does this answer your question? Tips and resources for beginning designers If you are seeking someone to do some work for you, paid or not, that is inappropriate here. – Scott Jun 30 at 1:53
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I do, however, understand the need of separating layout and design from content - something Microsoft Word doesn't do well.

It can.

I agree that the designers of MS word are to blame for poorly giving priority to this separation.

This is the most useless toolbar in the history of information organization.

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But the most useful one hiding behind the tiny arrow on the bottom right of it. It pops the styles window

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Which has its own problems like, which is more important a subtitle or a Title 2? It has no sense.

My recommendation is that you focus on using a small set of styles and use a specific logic.

  1. Use only numbered Titles; Title 1, Title 2.
  2. Forget for a moment how they look. In time, if you maintain your styles you can update the look of it, or let someone else do it.
  3. Probably you need to focus on the content. But establish the workflow with the other 18 teammates. Learn how to use collaborative tools, establish this logic on the organization of the work, on the information, and if you need one more teammate, the 20th, to organize, maintain format and design this information... ask for the budget to do this!

Learn how to use word

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