RISC World

Design Case Study: The Rural Life Centre

In the first of a new series of case studies highlighting how individuals use RISC OS to design and produce professional projects, David Bradforth takes a look at some examples from the Rural Life Centre.

The reasons we make use of RISC OS are quite clear - as an operating system, once you've gotten to grips with it there are very few complexities required in order to master it. While the design software we've got is very simple to use, it often allows for the complexities of professional work to be covered with ease.

It is with this in mind that we're launching a new series of case studies, highlighting the things people use RISC OS for and; where possible; including examples with the magazine.

To start the ball rolling, when Chris Shepheard let me know of the projects he, as the General Manager of the Rural Life Centre, uses RISC OS for; I asked for copies so we could include them in the magazine. What came (very quickly) was a CD-ROM with examples in their original EasiWriter and Impression formats; along with PDF files which made it easier for me to view them at present.

The Rustic Newsletter

As the newsletter for the Rural Life Centre, the Rustic aims to be an attractive newspaper-style newsletter giving all the relevant news; plus contact details for the members of the committee responsible for the centre. Requests for help, etc are usually present and - having read through this issue - it's clear to see that it's produced and edited by someone with a passion for their subject.

The cover from issue 43

While the newsletter makes good use of Impression Publisher, we'd recommend an upgrade to Ovation Pro as some aspects of this - particularly the work involving multiple columns - may become somewhat easier.

2004 Update

The next file provided by Chris was the plan, and information, handed to all museum visitors. Produced using Impression Publisher (for the text-heavy information section) with the plan produced in DrawPlus, 3,000 copies are printed as required by the museum.

The plan of the Rural Life Centre

Looking at the plan particularly, the production of this sort of thing is where RISC OS excels. DrawPlus was designed from the outset to be a version of Draw with extra features; and the extra features include libraries. Using these libraries you can store regularly used objects, then place them back at the mouse position.

It's not the most detailed illustration in the world, but then it doesn't have to be - it does its job very well.

Diary 2004

An events diary is important for any organisation such as this. As Chris describes it, "this is the main publicity leaflet that is slipped into our colour leaflet (unfortunately not produced using RISC OS, but by a commercial printer working from an Impression-produced draft followed very closely). Printed 16,000 times this is then picked up by many thousands of people who walk through the door of the centre.

The Diary 2004

Produced as a double-sided, twice folded, A4 sheet the structure makes it clear to see what's happening and when; although personally I'm not a fan of this format of leaflet I can see the advantages it offers. The structure is uniform, but with added illustrations along the way and the cover sticks out clearly.


The final example is Santa; a leaflet for the upcoming Santa Specials at the Rural Life Centre. 4,000 copies are printed; but a major part of the task for Chris is organising the 120 or so volunteers needed during the four actual days of the event.

The front of the Christmas specials leaflet

As Chris has yet to meet the complexities of an online booking system, a separate (downloadable) form is available for those who want more information via the Internet.


I'd have to admit I'm impressed with what I've seen here. Working to a tight budget, The Rural Life Centre have made good use of the creative capabilities offered by RISC OS in general. As an operating system, software running on it doesn't have the traditional setup times required by many PC or Macintosh programs; leaving more time to get creative.

We at RISCWorld know that, and so do you. If you've got examples of your own, please let us see them - email and we'll try and put a case study featuring examples of your own work in the next issue.

David Bradforth