Once a year, graphic designers will find themselves being approached by clients wanting to produce promotional calendars that they can hand out to their customers to help promote their businesses.
Turning these functional items into attractive and desirable objects can be a fun and exciting design challenge. A search on the web will turn up a range of calendar templates, some free and some offered for sale, but being able to produce calendar templates offers a designer a far greater range of options when it comes to producing calendars.
Manually typesetting each month for a new year could be a very time consuming process, but thankfully Scribus, the free and open source desktop publishing application, has an easy to use wizard included that makes producing calendars a very quick job.
Download and Install Scribus
An installer of Scribus for Windows, OS X and Linux can be downloaded from the Scribus site. Users of InDesign or Quark xPress may find the interface a little clunky, but this is a powerful design application considering that, as it is free, users can save many hundreds of dollars over the cost of the two industry standard applications.
Starting the Calendar Wizard
When Scribus first starts, it offers the opportunity to open a new document (image 1), but users should click cancel and then go to the ‘Script’ menu option and select the ‘Calendar Wizard’ under ‘Scribus Scripts’ (image 2).
The window that opens offers control over the main calendar settings and users need to select their language (English-short will abbreviate the names of days), calendar type, which day weeks should start on and whether to produce a whole year or just a few months (image 3). Unchecking ‘Draw Image Frame’ will give more flexibility when using the finished calendar.
Setting up the Document
The next step is to define the size of the calendar to be printed – there are a range of options available, as well as a custom setting (image 4). Once the new document has been opened, a dialog opens offering control over the font to be used in the calendar, with a range of different controls offering the ability to fine tune how the calendar’s text will display (image 5).
Users familiar with other DTP applications will recognise many of these controls, but, if not, a little time spent experimenting will pay dividends. Once the ‘OK’ button is clicked, Scribus automatically produces a calendar.
Using Scribus’ Calendars
At this point, users can either continue using Scribus to add graphics to the produced calendar or export the calendar in a suitable format, such as PDF, by going to the ‘File’ menu and making a selection under ‘Export’. Once exported, the calendar can be used in other design applications to produce a finished calendar.
Scribus is a hugely accomplished open source application and is a welcome addition to every Graphic Designer’s toolbox, whether as a primary or supplementary design tool.