TLC Creative Services Receives “Best Of” Award

It is small and for local businesses. But not that small of an area, TLC Creative Services is in a small city of 100k, bordered by cities of another 200k. I know there are not a lot of graphic design companies in our area, but we are very proud to receive one of the BEST OF 2015 awards!


– Troy @ TLC


PowerPoint vs. Word vs. InDesign – Which Should I Use?

Every program has strengths and weaknesses. Below is what the TLC Creative Services design team views as the strengths and weaknesses of designing for print among the 3 major applications we use. So here is how Microsoft Word, Adobe InDesign and Microsoft PowerPoint fight it out in the boxing ring:


Adobe InDesign   PPT_Print_Adobe Application

– PRO: Professional desktop publishing software that has the highest level of control of layouts, print specific output, multipage control, unlimited master layouts with finite control, and no size or resolution constraints. Excellent image control and color use tools (in RGB, CMYK, Spot, etc.).

– CON: large learning curve, specialty software that costs more (and usually not provided across corporate users).

Microsoft WordPPT_Print_ Word Application

– PRO: Installed on virtually every computer (and many tablets & Smartphones). Very good control over text flow, line wraps, and text across multiple pages. Good output to print needs.  Easy and professional table and chart creation. Very good color use tools (if setup in document template correctly).

– CON: No bleed or printer crop marks, limited (or difficult to setup/use) multiple master layouts, difficult working with inserted graphics/tables/charts that do not align to column layout.

Microsoft PowerPointPPT_Print_PowerPoint Application

– PRO: Installed on virtually every computer (and many tablets & Smartphones). Great multiple master layout capabilities, great layout customization per page, excellent image control. Easy and professional table and chart creation. Very good color use tools (if setup in document template correctly).

– CON: Limited to low resolution output (it does not matter if you have a high res 300DPI image, it is output the same as lower res images). No bleed or printer crop marks (although, there are tricks to manually adding – but it is not like InDesign’s automatic features).



There is no clear winner. Everything depends on what application you use most, what application you have installed and what the final print document is going to be used for. But for TLC Creative Services, the order is:

1. InDesign: This is the industry standard, the best option for print layout projects, and we have a professional team of designers that know this application. This is our go-to application when we are working with print-houses, publishers, etc.

2. PowerPoint: We are presentation design focused, so we know PowerPoint. PowerPoint’s multiple master layouts and flexible per page layout options are wins for us in developing custom layouts, similar to how we approach layouts in Adobe InDesign. We use PowerPoint for print-to-PDF (where a PDF document is the final “print” piece) because it allows clients the flexibility to update documents on their own.

3. Word: The few advantages Word offers (multipage text flow, image wrap, etc.), do not win over the flexible nature of PowerPoint – unless it is client request.

Up next, some examples of PowerPoint-to-Print projects.

– Troy @ TLC


Personal Resource/Misc

PowerPoint for Print Document Design (Really!?)

PowerPoint is designed for visual presentation design and projection. I clearly remember several meetings and discussions with Microsoft as they worked on PowerPoint 2007 about improving the print capabilities of PowerPoint – the laser printer, handout, PDF capabilities. Fast forward to Office 365 and PowerPoint 2013 and I am seeing a significant number of project requests and forum questions on how to use PowerPoint to design print documents. For this full month, ThePowerPointBlog is focusing all posts on using PowerPoint for print document design.

PowerPoint for print 2

Before we dive in with showing examples of PowerPoint for Print projects TLC Creative has done or providing tutorials on how to setup PowerPoint for print, let me establish a few technical terms and perspective:

  • Quick Print and Laser Print: This is printing a document on a black/white or color laser printer, it can be sitting on your desk or a large system at a Kinkos. They all have the same traits, digital printing and not capable of printing to the edge of the paper.
  • Offset Printing: This is “real” printing. Print design files are output to separated film and each plate is applied as individual passes of ink. From the printer, the paper needs to go to finish cutting to have a ready-to-use print document. Note: Offset printing can have the print image go to the edge of the paper.
  • Resolution: Web and presentation images are 72DPI – or low resolution (and this is a big generalization for the sake of an easy conversation). Print (eg. offset press) is 300DPI – or high resolution.
  • Vector Graphics: Images, or text, that are based on geometric shapes and mathematical equations (see that high school geometry class was important after all!). Note: Vector graphics can be enlarged to any size without quality loss.
  • Raster Graphics: Images that are created from dots or pixels. Note: The image is at a set size and enlarging lowers the visual quality.
  • Bleed, Printer vs. Reader spreads, CMYK vs. RGB, and many other print industry terms need to be understood by those using PowerPoint to create print documents.


So, why am I qualified to lead a discussion on PowerPoint-for-Print? Because before digital printers had quality output, and before PowerPoint (Flash, Director, and Harvard Graphics) made it easy enough for virtually anyone to create layouts, I worked in the print industry turning design files into separated film plates for the printing press operators. I am not saying I am old, but as a youngster I was lucky enough to enter the design industry as the digital revolution was in process. I experienced the true printing process and learned the classics of visual design – all great things that carry over into the wonderful world of PowerPoint presentations.

PowerPoint for print 3

Because now, everyone has a computer – tablet – and smartphone that has PowerPoint (thanks Microsoft for making Office available everywhere!), everyone can now use PowerPoint to design more than slides. In addition, the ease of sourcing images, video, custom fonts, design accent graphics and low cost printing all have created an environment in just the past few years for PowerPoint to become the default print design application – if only it did not have so many limitations!

Next post is “PowerPoint vs. Word vs. InDesign – which should I use?

– Troy @ TLC