Preparation and Production

Planning Communication Projects

No publication schedule is exact. A job such as an invitation or flier can be completed in a few days. An advertisement may take a week. A brochure or Viewbook can take months. The production length of a project will depend on the complexity of the design and text.

It is important that you as originator of a publication job understand your responsibilities and the expectations of those you will be relying on to complete your project. Here is a general order of events in the life of a publication, indicating what you need to take responsibility for and where the communication office can assist you.

Included in this section are a publication origination form and a creative brief form. Use them to create schedules and organize basic goals and information for publications you plan.

  1. Confer with Office of Communications about the kind of publication you want and the budget you have to work with. We can suggest appropriate formats and design styles.
  2. Complete and submit a publication origination form and creative brief. They will help you conceptualize your project.
  3. Provide a manuscript in hard copy and electronic forms. The manuscript should describe the basic communication elements you wish to convey – who, what, where, why and how. Fact check your manuscript for correct spelling of names and programs, numbers, phone numbers, deadlines, dates, statistical references and URLs.
  4. The Office of Communications will copy-edit the manuscript for both substantive issues and general usage. You will proof the final edited version for accuracy. All major copy-edits should be complete before beginning the layout process.
  5. Once the manuscript is finalized, a graphic designer will be assigned to create a preliminary layout.
  6. You will proof the preliminary layout provided by the designer and make all necessary changes. It is important that you be definite about your message and intention early in the design process. Only minor copy-edits should be necessary at this stage.
  7. Once you have given final project approval, the designer will forward artwork to the Print Shop or publication contact.
  8. All University printing must be directed through the UT Dallas Print Shop and will require submission of a Print Requisition form.

Publication Timetables

Certain publication jobs should be completed within specific time frames based on the use of the project and the overall needs of the University. Be sure to allow ample time for the design and production of your publication by beginning the process well in advance of your deadline. Once the project has begun, meeting deadlines for manuscripts, approvals and other commitments is the best way to ensure that you have materials in hand when you need them.

Manuscript Preparation

The design process begins with delivery of a final manuscript. A neat, accurate, fully reviewed manuscript prevents unnecessary delays. Whether you are preparing a new publication or revising an old one, the following guidelines will ensure best results.

Preparing New Material

  • All new publications should be delivered to the Office of Communications by disk, thumb drive or e-mailed Word file.
  • The electronic file must be accompanied by a hard copy of the manuscript. You should also keep a backup file in your office, both on your hard drive and a disk in case of computer failure.
  • Double space everything in your manuscript, including footnotes and tables.
  • Leave margins on all sides of at least 1 inch.
  • Type all heads and subheads in upper and lower case.
  • If you boldface or underline to emphasize text, do so sparingly, or its effect will be lost. Type your manuscript for publication the way you would a report – from margin to margin. Do not try to indicate what you think may be final publication layout. If you have a particular format in mind, bring a sample to show the designer, or sketch a layout on paper.
  • Number pages consecutively.
  • Submit the entire manuscript at one time, in one file. Include everything - cover copy, photos, forms, captions, return address, etc. If the project involves multiple pieces – submit all components.

Revising Existing Copy

If you have the old text of a publication stored electronically, it might seem easier and better to make revisions and resubmit the disk with a printout. But consider whether you will leave substantial portions of the manuscript unchanged. The printer or designer may have your old publication on disk and may be able to correct or change the typeset version just as you would. This is faster, more accurate and less expensive than redoing the job.

  • Take a clean copy of the publication. Mark copy or photos to be deleted or replaced.
  • Use the letters A, B, C, etc. to label consecutively the places in the publication where replacement copy or new copy should be inserted.
  • Type all replacement copy and all new copy onto a disk according to the guidelines for preparing new material. Label each section of copy with the letter that corresponds with the placement in the revised publication. You can use this method to add or replace a single word or a whole section. Keep in mind that in most cases, word counts of replaced and new copy should be about the same.
  • Submit the disk/thumb drive and a printout of the sections to be added along with the marked publication to the Marketing Department and Office of Communications.