PROS / With 28,000 templates on offer, there's plenty of variety to pick from when you're starting your next project.
CONS / Its layout and publishing tools are severely limited, and Nova Development charges its customers extra for telephone support.
VERDICT / It might be a bit cheaper than our top three picks, but you get what you pay for: Print Artist provides more quantity than quality, and it shows.
Avanquest is a software publisher that sells a wide variety of applications, running the gamut from PC utilities to business productivity tools. We reviewed three of the desktop publishing programs it markets on behalf of other developers, and of those three, Print Artist 25 Platinum easily rises to the top. Its template selection is astoundingly large, and it offers enough graphic capability to keep budding layout artists busy. But despite its strong points, Print Artist Platinum fails in enough other areas to remain a tough sell, especially when compared to the best desktop publishing software available.
The first thing we look to when reviewing a desktop publishing application is, predictably, its publishing feature set. Where competing products boast professional staples such as CMYK printing optimization and the ability to import from and export to a wide variety of file formats, Print Artist Platinum is rather vanilla. It doesn't have support for master pages – all but a necessity when working on longer documents – and while it has basic PDF exporting capabilities, don't expect to create complex, business-caliber PDFs with it.
These absences are certainly detractions, but in all fairness, Print Artist Platinum isn't designed for the business crowd. It's marketed to those of us who are looking for a simple desktop publishing package that will help us make fliers or postcards, and in this, it has the art assets to please. The program features the single largest collection of fonts, art assets and project templates in the business. Granted, the quality of many of them is dubious at best, but with 1,000 fonts, 28,000 templates and a monumental 377,000 art assets – clip art, photographs, picture frames, filigrees and much more – you won't be short of design options.
Plus, once you've picked a project template and a few pieces of clip art to fancy it up, you'll be able to add stylized text with bevels, gradient fills and even a few Photoshop-style filters for good measure. You don't have much fine control over typography settings, but for short bits of text and titles, there's plenty here to enjoy.
A final item of note: Nova Development, which created the Print Artist series, charges a per-call fee for telephone support. There's a simple knowledgebase online that should hopefully answer your questions, but if you're struggling to use the software, you're probably better off finding a friend to guide you through it than you are calling Nova's support line.
Print Artist 25 Platinum isn't a professional publishing tool, but in all fairness, it's not meant to be. What might be the best publishing software for a design professional probably wouldn't suit a home user's needs. Nevertheless, there's a dichotomy between the everything-and-the-kitchen-sink feel of Print Artist's asset portfolio, and its otherwise lackluster feature set. If you're looking for a piece of software to help you put together this year's Christmas card, Print Artist should serve you well. Just don't try to make anything in it with multiple pages.