News & Publications

The Publication Process

How To Begin
Every publication is an active collaboration between you and your editorial/design team, but the first step starts with you. When you begin thinking about your publication, consider the following questions:

  • What is your budget for this publication?
  • Is your publication part of a family of publications? If so, what is the sequence of publications and what is the purpose of each?
  • What is the purpose of your publication? Is it educational? Promotional? Fund raising? Informational? If it is promotional, do you have a total marketing plan? How does this publication fit into it? What action do you want your audience to take?
  • What is your strategy for getting your audience to take the action you want them to take? Using language? Format? Design?
  • What format are you envisioning and why? 2-panel, "4 x 9" brochure? 3-fold brochure that fits in a business envelope? 16-page plus cover booklet with postcard?
  • Who will write your piece?
  • What else do you need besides text? Statistics? Testimonial quotes? Will you need photos? If so, black/white or color? Will photos need to be shot, do you have them or do you think they are in the College's photo archives? Should they project a particular message?
  • How will the piece be distributed? Will it be handed out? Is it a self-mailer or will it be mailed in an envelope?
  • When do you need delivery?
  • What is this publication's shelf life? Do you plan to produce a two-year supply?
    Reprint? Reprint with revisions? Redesign and rewrite next year?


The Publication Process
Both you and your editorial/design team continue to play important roles throughout the publication process. Your planning and your continued involvement are essential for keeping the publication on schedule. The following steps show your role in a typical production process:

  • Once you've thought about the questions outlined in "How to begin," call the Office of Communications to set up an initial consultation.
  • Select one person from your office to act as liaison with the Communications Office for your publication. That person should have the authority to make decisions and have the time to make your publication a priority.
  • Meet with the Communications Office to discuss the project in detail. You should discuss text, photographic needs, additional materials, the review process in your unit and tentative scheduling.
  • Begin developing the draft text, getting input from all relevant people. (For a small
    project you may begin developing the text before step 3.)
  • Make sure the draft text is approved by everyone who needs to approve it and make sure all the facts in the text are checked. Then, send the completed draft text (double-spaced, spell checked) via e-mail to the Communications officer with whom you had been working. Also include all supplementary materials—e.g., statistics, quotes, data for graphs and photographs (unless otherwise noted).
  • Review your schedule. The Communications Office will develop a schedule showing necessary deadlines to meet your delivery date.Make sure you can meet the deadlines so the process will continue to move forward. Tell all reviewers when they can expect a copy and when their edits/comments are due.
  • Input edits from the Communications Office for style, grammar, consistency and effectiveness, as well as other edits/rewrites you wish to incorporate. Return hard copy of both the edited, original text and the new, revised text, as well as the revised copy via e-mail to the Communications officer with whom you had been working for final copy edit.
  • Review and approve design(s), which the Communications Office will supply.
    Design(s) will conform to the College's visual identity program.
  • Review first page proofs (final text laid out in approved design).
  • Return page proofs with errors marked. The Communications Office will make the corrections.
  • On rare occasions, you will review a blueline or final proof, which is produced by the printer. In most cases, the blueline is approved only by the Communications Office.
  • The printed piece is delivered per your instructions.

There are many ways you can help expedite production and assure that your project will be delivered on time:

  • Plan ahead.
  • Get all necessary approvals before submitting draft text. (If a dean or department head is to approve the final piece, he or she must be brought in at the manuscript stage).
  • Take advantage of photo opportunities for your publication throughout the year.
  • Collect supporting materials, e.g., quotes, throughout the year.
  • Minimize the number of reviewers. The more reviewers you have on your end, the longer the schedule has to be and the more likely it is that your publication will be late.
  • Remember the schedule. The Communications Office cannot make up for delays on your end. Every delay in meeting the production schedule means an equal or greater delay in getting your final printed piece. Keep your project on schedule by focusing on each step, completing it and moving on.


Budgeting Time and Finances 

  • It is very important to call the Communications Office well in advance of your deadlines. If you need your publication at a time when the Communications Office is busy on other projects, we can help you outsource your project.
  • The time required from FINAL TEXT to delivery varies considerably, depending on the project.

    For example:

    • A simple invitation may take only 10 working days.
    • A more complex job, such as a new brochure, may take six weeks.
    • Very complex jobs requiring photo shoots, detailed design, in-depth editorial
      work and complicated printing techniques may easily take three months.


Cutting Costs
The Communications Office will work with you to make your publication as cost-effective as possible. The Office will help you develop a piece that fits your budget by minimizing costs in a variety of ways—e.g., competitive bidding, selection of paper, number of links, treatment of photos (color, b/w, duotones), and designing for efficient use of paper.

As you plan your publication, consider the following tips for cutting costs:

  • Print enough copies the first time around. Straight reprints of a small quantity may cost twice as much per copy as the original printing.
  • Some color options are more cost-effective than others. Black ink with no other color is the least expensive way to print. Adding color increases printing costs. Often a publication can be designed using one color and good photography and be just as as a full-color publication.
  • You can use photos in our archives rather than hiring a freelance photographer,
    which is more expensive.


To schedule an appointment to discuss your next publication, please call 404-507-8647.