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Producing a Publication

Initial Meetings
Graphic Design
Scheduling the Job
Seeking Bids

Initial Meetings


Because projects often require weeks of preparation, Publications Services encourages clients to include us in early discussions of the project. Publications Services will schedule an initial meeting, where the client outlines budget, needs, audiences, and goals. A graphic designer from Design Services may be present at the first meeting. Editors and designers may ask questions such as:

  • What is the purpose of the publication?
  • Who is the audience?
  • What type of publication do you think will best meet your needs? Poster, flyer, brochure, newsletter, web page?
  • What are similar offices doing to reach similar audiences?
  • What messages do your audiences need to understand?
  • Does the project need artwork or photographs? If so, what kind?
  • What is your concept of your office?
  • Will the publication be part of a series running throughout the year?
  • When do you need the job delivered?
  • How many copies are needed?
  • How will readers use the publication?
  • How will other offices use the publication?
  • Do you need assistance writing for the publication, or will someone in your office write?
  • How will the publication reach the audience?
  • Where should the publication be delivered?
  • Where and how will the publication be stored?
  • What is the budget?

Other issues that may influence a project are its priority, origin, size, writing, or resources involved in production. After the initial meeting, editors and designers will work with the client to produce the project in the most efficient way.

Once a job is taken, Publications Services will work with Design Services to make sure:

  • financial arrangements are agreed upon
  • budget figures are given to PS/DS by client with form authorizing use on specific project
  • duties are outlined and agreed upon
  • method for exchanging text is determined (e-mail, disk, FTP)
  • production schedule is arranged

Graphic Design:
The Way It Will Look

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In a second meeting, the client and a designer will decide the publication's size, number of pages, format, photographs, illustrations, type, paper stock, color, and ink. This is all done with the intention of making the publication the best it can be, yet stay within budget.

Scheduling the Job

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Publications Services and Design Services will set up a final production schedule after considering your deadline, the amount of writing and editing needed, and the time required for graphic design. Your publication is a priority for us, so please make it a priority for your office.

Seeking Bids

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Design Services will write specifications with your budget in mind and communicate those budget needs to printers. Design Services seeks bids from several printers in an effort to get the best quality for the lowest price. The bidding process usually takes a few days.

Design Services will assign a job number to your publication.


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The next step is producing a manuscript. Your main responsibility is to make sure your text is accurate in spelling and the information it contains. Taking a little extra time to check your copy at this stage will save money and time later. Then, send the information to us via e-mail, FTP, or on a CD. It will be edited and checked for consistent style, grammar, and completeness.

Some style elements are unique to our campus, like the use of the official name, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Keeping in mind the purpose of your publication, we will refer to sources such as the University of Chicago's Manual of Style, the Associated Press Stylebook, and reliable Webster's Dictionary.


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The proof allows you to see how the final piece will be designed. When your copy is ready, we will produce a "first page proof," which will look like the final piece. Our editor will read the page proof, and you will receive a copy of it to review as well.

Remember that each change at this stage caused by your request or error will cost you money.

A second proof will give you one more chance to make minimal changes that refine and finalize the project.

Printing Your Publication

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Going from final layout to a printed publication takes a little time. Within a few days, the printer will give you a final proof, called a blueline. This proof will be folded just like the final product, so you also can check the page sequence. Also check for:

  • flaws and blemishes in the images and type;
  • accuracy in the size and content of the photographs;
  • corrections from previous proof.

Making changes at the blueline stage is expensive, and will delay delivery. It is best to make changes at the earliest stage possible.

Next, your job is printed. After the ink dries and your job is bound and trimmed, it is delivered.

Depending on the size and complexity of your job, the printer may be busy for anywhere from just a few days to several weeks. Whatever the case, we will keep you informed of its progress.


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Think about where you will use your publications and the best storage place for them. After you request delivery of a specific amount to a specific location, we will have them delivered to you.

Most printers follow the 10 percent rule, meaning that use of paper may cause a delivery of 10 percent more or 10 percent less than the original order. So, if you need an exact amount, please let us know!


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After delivery, tell us what you think about the publication. We need to hear the good and the bad. That's one way for us to keep improving.