True or False: LaTeX can produce only boring, drab-looking stuff

I was asked to compile and produce a report for a research project to be published, with instructions to make it “look professional”, something like this report here.

I was too stupid to learn how to use PageMaker, Illustrator or FreeHand properly in a short time, so I jumped at LaTeX as  my tool. Well after all, the glossaries (or acronym) package kept the acronyms and abbreviations consistent, and biblatex (a new, experimental package that offers much more flexible citation and bibliography features) meant easy inclusion of list of publications anywhere in the report and without having to manually format the entries. The tikz package provides drawing capabilities which I used liberally all over the page designs. Heck, even adding a barcode for the ISBN was effortless with ean13isbn.

I reckon a few eyebrows were raised, and indeed the printing company expressed surprise when told that our PDF was prepared with LaTeX (“You mean LaTeX can produce colour stuff?”)

Without going into too much details on all the packages I used, here are some excerpt pages from the final product, designed and typeset by yours truly. While I’m certainly not a graphics designer by any means, and really professional layout designs is much more easily achievable with other applications mentioned earlier (if you know how to use them properly), I’m pretty happy with the end result. But never, ever let it be said that LaTeX is capable of producing drab, boring, black-and-white scholarly articles only again!

12 thoughts on “True or False: LaTeX can produce only boring, drab-looking stuff

  1. Hmmm… I probably can't post the original .tex files (it's too overwhelming to gleam any tips from anyway), but I can do a series of short posts on the various aspects. Whaddaya think?

  2. @Régis, do you mean the Community Scheduler Framework on page 11? I suppose you can re-create it in LaTeX using the Tikz library, but if it takes up too much time I'd suggest drawing it in Dia, graphviz or yED (or some other diagramming application), then export it to PDF to be includegraphics in your LaTeX document.

  3. @Régis, you might want to take a look at the shapepar package, and also jpgfdraw which might help with defining the shape. Having said that I haven't tried implementing this myself as I thought it would take too much time… -_- The PRAGMA journal was produced using InDesign which I believe provides functions to do this kind of thing more easily.

  4. This is absolutely incredible, you should get a medal or something, I am sure it will help many people with their endeavors in LATEX!

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