Review: Magix Page & Layout Designer includes advanced tools for beginner users

At a Glance
  • Magix Page and Layout Designer

    PCWorld Rating

    Page & Layout Designer makes keeping your business collateral consistent drag-and-drop simple, but it's a clone of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer with an inflated pricetag.

Printed media may seem to be heading the way of the dinosaur, but until the proverbial meteor hits a stack of business cards, box of letterhead, or freshly-printed brochures on their way to a conference, we'll continue adding paper and ink (and the odd PDF) to our marketing cache.

MAGIX Page & Layout Designer ($150)  anticipates the needs of a growing business by providing a single source for designing anything from a single logo to business cards to a multi-page brochure. However, if you are a Xara Photo & Graphic Designer ($89) fan, you will recognize the UI instantly, and may be left feeling ripped off. It's so hard to find a difference between the two apps, it seems that MAGIX has repackaged Xara with added templates and an inflated pricetag (although Page & Layout Designer is currently on sale for $90).

About a dozen template themes are included in the MAGIX Page & Layout Designer download (you can't access or view them all in the trial). Choose a theme that suits your business, then open business card, brochure, and letterhead templates that all match the theme and are fully customizable with your own logo, text, images, etc. There are about 100 templates in total. All are royalty-free, and many verge on stylish, but organization isn't great. It can be hard to find the matching brochure to your business card design.

MAGIX Page & Layout Designer's slide-out bitmap gallery could mean you never need to hunt and gather on the server for your company's logo again.

Customizing the templates is pretty easy with MAGIX Page & Layout Designer, even if you don't have any design training or experience. For example, a snap function helps you align objects, text is set to automatically flow around your images, and you can chose to work without or without layers.

If you do have prior experience, setting up a page from scratch also is simple and intuitive. Plus, you can easily use MAGIX Page & Layout Designer to create logos and other vector drawings without too much difficulty; and use the photo tools to adjust and manipulate your images. Refer to the Xara Photo & Graphic Designer 2013 review for more detail on how drawing and image editing tools work, since these are identical.

Currently, Magix Photo Manager MX Deluxe ($59) is included in the Page & Layout Designer download for free, and also includes some additional basic photo manipulation tools as well as the ability to organize your images. On the surface, this looks like a great deal. However, you may not need Photo Manager at all, as MAGIX Page & Layout Designer includes a slide-out bitmap gallery. With it, you can save and access all of your logos, logotypes, images etc. for any of your projects. However, I wish it were easier to organize things, and would love to be able to add text boxes (so you never again have to cut and paste your mission statement and other often-used blocks of text).

It seems like MAGIX is trying to reach a new audience with Page & Layout Designer, with no mention of its powerful vector drawing tools and super-easy photo editing in their marketing of the product. But the non-sale pricetag is steep unless you were actually considering also purchasing the bundled Photo Manager MX Deluxe. If you already own Xara Photo & Graphic Designer (or Xara Designer Pro, the $299 heavy-lifter in the family) you are going to be an unhappy T-Rex who'll want to eat MAGIX for lunch.

Note: The Download button on the Product Information page will download the software to your system.

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At a Glance
  • PCWorld Rating

    Page & Layout Designer makes keeping your business collateral consistent drag-and-drop simple, but it's a clone of Xara Photo & Graphic Designer with an inflated pricetag.

    Pros

    • Intuitive UI that's easy to use
    • Template based
    • Powerful vector drawing and photo editing tools

    Cons

    • Pricey clone of existing product
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