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Production

Where do we start? Whom do we call? What do we need?

The best time to call us about a publication or advertisement is as soon as you have decided that you need one, regardless of how far in the future. Calling early allows us to work your project into our production schedule. For all publications, call the assistant director of communications & marketing to discuss your needs and establish a production schedule.

Use the following checklist as your guide.  All projects require a job request form.

Format: Do you have one in mind? Do you need a brochure, newsletter, flyer, ad, or direct mail piece? We can help you decide on the best format to reach your audience.

Quantity: How many pieces do you want to print? We will need to know your estimates before determining budget. Although you may specify several different quantities as options; quantity determines final price.

Budget: How much do you have to spend? If your project is new and you have no specified budget, we can help you estimate costs and recommend formats that can fit into your department or school budget.

Deadline:  When do you need your publication or advertisement?

  • Who is your audience?
  • What is the purpose of your publication? A successful publication should always have a specific purpose or goal. What is the publication’s or advertisement’s desired effect? A good question to ask is what is the single message with which you want the reader to come away? What action do you want the reader to take?
  • What specific facts must be included? Don’t forget the obvious such as the exact, formal name of your department, an address, and especially a phone number and contact person to call for more information.
  • Is the project to be coordinated with other pieces (stationery, enclosures, business return envelopes, reply cards, etc.)? Should it be?

How long will it take?

This may be the most frequently asked question the Communications & Marketing staff receives. It can be a difficult one because the answer depends on many things: How complex is the piece? Is it new or a reprint with few or minimal changes? Does it require writing and editing? Does it require photography? Does it require extensive creative design? Is it one, two, three, or four (full) colors? What is the quantity? Are there multiple pieces to the project? How many people are involved in the proofing/approval process? How many other publications are in production at the time?

As a general rule of thumb, one- or two-color, low quantity flyers, posters, and brochures take less time than three- and four-color, large-quantity “slick” magazines, brochures, and newsletters. The Communications & Marketing staff can help you determine a time estimate for your project based on these variables. A very rough guideline follows:

  • Complex Project (bulletins, course catalogs, and viewbook): 4 months or longer
  • Booklet: 6 weeks
  • Newsletter (depending on size and complexity): 4-8 weeks
  • Brochure: 3-6 weeks
  • Poster: 2-3 weeks
  • Flyer: 1 week
  • Ads: 1 week

These estimates are based on having final, approved copy provided to the publications office on disk or via email, as well as a completed job request form and photos selected. When substantial writing and editing are required, additional time is necessary.

Elements of the production process

Every publication requires the following steps:

  • Writing/Editing: This can take several hours or up to several weeks depending on the complexity of the publication. Supply copy on disk or by email to Communications & Marketing.
  • Photographs: It takes time to schedule, shoot, process, and choose photos to illustrate a particular publication, especially when many photos are needed.
  • Design: Two to three weeks is standard time on an average piece, longer if the job is more complex, less if the project is a repeat.
  • Proofing: Two or three weeks is often normal for proofing, corrections, and subsequent proofs, especially if several people are reviewing a piece. The initiating department or school participates in the proofing process. Usually, several individuals are responsible for proofing, and an assigned person signs off on the final proof.
  • Printing: Standard turnaround is two to three weeks. A major job might take four weeks; in-house printing averages three to five days.

How can I expedite the process?

  • Plan in advance and come to us early for scheduling.
  • Include everyone who has "final say" on your project team.
  • Work closely with your project manager.
  • Treat your copy and layout as separate, but related tasks. Get approval for each independent of the other.
  • Provide at least a rough draft copy on disk or via email, in Microsoft Word, unformatted (i.e., single column only, no tabs, no bold face, no italics, etc.). Submit a hard copy as well.
  • DO NOT SUBMIT ANY COPY IN ALL CAPS.
  • Changes to copy once design has begun can delay your job.
  • Review each subsequent proof carefully and quickly.

Final note

Samples of the approved formats of common stationery items that include the logo are available to assist you in placing orders for your office. Please contact Communications & Marketing for samples. If you have a question about any of the points mentioned here, please contact Communications & Marketing at 660.626.2272 or communications@atsu.edu.