Is it possible to tell from a printed sample what software/layout algorithm was used?

Is there a way to determine, or at least hazard a guess at, which page layout engine was used in the preparation of a given print publication?

I’ve spend awhile looking at some quirks in the Times Literary Supplement‘s page layout.


Just by looking at the final page layout? I don’t think there’s really any easy way to tell in most cases regardless of the type of publication. I think that if a layout engine has been refined to produce good layouts and a human has cleaned up the results (i.e., Xtags with QuarkXpress), then it would be all but impossible to tell.

Science and math technical publications that use a LaTeX variant have a distinct look but that’s really only because of the specific set of fonts that are required to use it. But my company’s math books have fairly sophisticated layouts done in LaTeX or Framemaker (though the latter is rare these days) that typically start as InDesign templates. Only the production staff would know there was a difference because of the rare compromise that sometimes happens.

I say that from my experience of creating marketing materials in InDesign with only Applescript (drop in an XML and the script handles the rest including layout cleanup). Even after porting the templates from Quark to InDesign, the results are indistinguishable from each other beyond the fact that my script doesn’t make as many layout errors as the designers did when they were doing it by hand.

Source : Link , Question Author : Charles Stewart , Answer Author : Philip Regan

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