October 29, 2010

Flatplan – Design Your Publication

Communication is key when you’re putting together a multi-page publication. Whether you’re in charge of the design of a newspaper, magazine, catalog, book, or brochure, it’s impossible to create a functional layout without input from editors, writers, photographers, advertising reps, and other staffers. Flatplan is an application that gives publication designers a way to create layouts online without having to download any expensive software or purchase any equipment. These layouts can then be easily shared with publication staffers to ensure everyone is on the same page before moving forward with the printing process.

Whether you work on a daily, weekly, or monthly deadline, Flatplan has got you covered. To create a new layout, just input the number of blank pages you need and you’re ready to go. For pages that will be covered in articles, use Flatplan’s layout toolbox to figure out the perfect story placement. Not only does Flatplan let you layout the stories on each page, but it also lets you reorder the individual pages as often as you wish. The application utilizes a color-coded status system, which makes it easy for everyone at the publication to see how far along each page is at any given time. When a page layout is complete, just change the status color to alert your colleagues and invite them to check out the finished design.

If an editor notices something is amiss with his section—such as, if he doesn’t have enough room for all the stories that have been planned—he can leave a comment directly on the layout page letting the designer know. Flatplan lets users go back in time, allowing designers to show their editors previous versions of any layout. When final approvals have been made and deadlines are near, you can export your Flatplan layouts as PDF files with the click of a button. Flatplan is an interesting new application that makes it easier for editorial staffers and designers to communicate get on the same page about publication layouts and design.

Practical Uses:

  • Create a layout for your company’s new catalog
  • Collaborate with editors to make sure their pages are turning out how they like
  • Share your latest design and layout ideas with colleagues
  • Get your layout work done from any computer at any time

Insider Tips:

  • Use color-coded status symbols to let colleagues know about your progress
  • Integrate with your company’s Basecamp account
  • Sign up to receive an email update whenever a change is made to the layout
  • Use “automatic versioning” to view older versions of any layout

What we liked:

  • Flatplan allows designers, writers, and editors to communicate more effectively
  • Email updates and RSS feeds ensure editors know when changes are being made to their sections
  • Pages can easily be reordered, added, or deleted
  • Users don’t have to download any special software to use Flatplan

What we didn’t like:

  • Because Flatplan is still in beta, a final pricing structure hasn’t been set up yet


Company Info:

  • Launched: January 2010
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Oslo, Norway
  • Founded by: Tom-Marius Olsen
  • Web site:


  • Free in beta


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