One of the functions of the Wagner College Office of Communications and Marketing is to provide the College with high-quality print publications that represent the Wagner brand and values accurately and serve as effective communications tools.
We are responsible for planning, creating, and producing Wagner Magazine: The Link for Alumni and Friends, the Wagner wall calendar, and the Wagner annual report, but we also work in partnership with many offices and departments on campus to produce printed publications that you need, ranging from brochures to invitations to posters to advertisements.
If you have a need for a print publication — particularly one to communicate with audiences outside of the Wagner campus — please consult with us. This guide is intended to help you understand and navigate the process of producing a print publication. The communications office can also consult with you on your digital media and media relations needs and help steer you toward the most effective communications tools to reach your audience.
Overview of the Production Process
Generally speaking, these are the major steps that all print publications go through. This is a brief outline; you’ll find out more about each step in the sections below:
- Planning meeting is held.
- Text is written and copyedited.
- Design is created and text is laid out, along with photographs and illustrations.
- You review layout, which indicates how text and art will appear on each page. If needed, we will make changes at your request.
- You approve the finalized layout.
- Publication is sent for printing.
- Proof is received and approved by the communications office.
- The publication is mailed through the U.S. Post Office or the campus mail room, or is delivered to campus.
Planning Your Publication: Before You Call Us
Before you call us, decide the purpose of and audience for your publication. If you want a reprint of a previous publication, decide which elements, if any, should be changed before reprinting. Things to consider include:
- Why is this piece needed?
- What is my budget for the printing and mailing of this piece?
- Who will read it?
- Will it be sent by itself or with other publications?
- What information must be included?
- What else would I like to include if space allows?
- How many copies do I need?
- Will it be mailed and how? (Mailing options include bulk, presorted, and 1st class.)
- When will it need to be reprinted?
- Will photographs need to be taken or other artwork produced?
- Should the publication be a particular size or shape? (For example, must it fit in a business-size envelope, be a self-mailer, or be the same size as other publications with which it will be used?)
- When and where do I want the finished publication delivered?
Timing: How Long Will It Take?
Publications can take much longer to produce than most people realize. You should contact the communications office six weeks before the desired delivery date for most publications, and more than six weeks in advance for new, lengthy, or complicated projects. It is in your best interest to give us adequate time to create a quality publication.
If you have an important project that demands a “rush” schedule, call to see if production is possible within your time limits.
The Print Production Process: A How-To
Click on the + signs below to read more about each topic.
- Getting Started
When you require a new publication or need to revise an existing one, call Donna Sinagra, project manager, at extension 4498. She will schedule a meeting with Laura Barlament, writer/editor, and Erika Reinhart, graphic designer, to discuss your job. She will act as “traffic manager,” guiding your project through the production process, and will be the office’s liaison with your office.
The project manager will create a production schedule that details when each stage of production will happen. It is the joint responsibility of you and the project manager to see that each deadline is met.
If you have a project that requires reprinting (e.g., letterhead, business cards, brochures, forms), and all information on the piece remains the same, send the project directly to the project manager.
- Planning Meeting
At our first meeting, we will help you clarify your ideas about which content and design are best suited for your goals and audiences.
You should come to this meeting prepared to answer the questions noted above under “Planning Your Publication.” Please bring with you most of the information needed for the project. A production schedule will be prepared soon after the planning meeting.
- Writing, Copyediting, and Proofreading
Our editor or a person in your office may do the writing. If we do the writing, your help is needed to define the proper tone, gather information, and choose suitable people to interview.
When you send us text for the project, the most convenient method is simply attaching the text document to an email to the project manager. We prefer documents written in Microsoft Word.
All copy (text) is reviewed by our staff editor for consistency, accuracy, and conformation to College style. Minor rewriting or reorganizing may be done to improve the clarity and readability of the material, but no extensive changes will be made without your knowledge. All publications this office produces must conform to College style guidelines.
At each stage of production, the editor provides quality control by checking proofs for text and design errors. The final responsibility for accuracy, however, rests with your office.
The communications office has a list of projects scheduled for production every year. We will help you estimate how much your project will cost.
We will ask our printers to bid on your project and will get you the best cost for your project. We also verify charges made by printers for producing your piece and will process the invoices if we have your account number.
- Design, Layout, Photography, and Illustrations
The impression given by a publication depends heavily on its design and layout: the size, shape, type of paper, colors, artwork, and arrangement of material chosen. We will work with you to make appropriate choices that fit within your budget, and to create a design and layout that reflects the Wagner brand and conforms with the Wagner College graphic identity standards.
Publications are immeasurably enhanced by artwork. Your ideas are valuable in planning the photos or illustrations that will work best in your publication. We choose most publication photos from an extensive archive of images on a wide variety of campus subjects.
Photographs can be shot when our (or your) budget allows. Our office will authorize photo shoots. Because we use freelance and staff photographers whose schedules are often tight, shooting must be arranged well in advance. In your initial planning, discuss with the project manager any events or people you would like to have photographed for the piece. When appropriate, our designer can locate stock art to enhance your publication.
- Approving Your Publication
You will examine and approve/make changes to your draft during production, for content and for design and layout. Our layout allows us to show you a proof that will be very close in appearance to the final publication. If revisions are needed you will see a second layout and sometimes a third.
When you give us FINAL approval, it is then sent to a printer. It is not possible to make changes except in an emergency, so you should examine this proof carefully.
Because we work on many publications simultaneously, meeting approval deadlines is important. A day’s delay in approval can throw a tight production schedule as much as one week behind. Any changes consume staff time, which may delay your publication. Also, the cost of making changes and the chance of delivery being delayed by changes increase substantially as production progresses, so make changes early.
- Printing and Delivery
Because printers differ widely in capabilities, speed, quality, and cost, the communications office chooses the printer best suited to the design requirements, schedule, and budget of your project. Printers bid competitively for each publication, keeping costs down while maintaining quality.
Printing generally takes seven to ten days, depending on the complexity of the publication. Special services (such as spiral bindings, embossing, specialty envelopes, etc.) may take longer.
Our staff approves samples of each publication before the finished pieces are delivered to you. The project manager will arrange delivery of publications to a campus location of your choice, to the campus mail room, or directly to the U.S. Post Office. You will be notified by email when the job is being delivered.