What Do We Do Now?

It is difficult to give the exact time frame that each of the stages will take, because the time needed to produce each publication will differ based on the complexity of the document. Jobs that appear simple and straightforward are sometimes very difficult, therefore we need to determine an average time frame. Please note the pre-production phase (research, copy writing and proofing) is the responsibility of the office, division, department, or individual school/college originating the publication.

The times in the chart are average times for completing these facets of a publication and may decrease based on how much time per day you can devote to each stage. The time frames or “working days” are approximations based on the originating department’s ability to spend 1-2 hours per day on the project. Obviously, the longer and more complex the publication, the longer the time will be.

The pre-production phase could take anywhere from a part of one day for a reprinted or existing document with few changes to as much as two weeks for a new document. The production phase could take anywhere from several days to as much as several weeks, depending on the complexity of the publication. When you are considering doing a publication, it is wise to figure the maximum days the publication would take, and work backward to plan when you should talk to CDS to begin planning your publication. 

By doing this, you will probably not be disappointed. It will help everyone involved if you schedule the meeting with CDS even earlier than the date you arrive at by back planning. This will allow everyone a cushion in case any complications arise.

After you have determined the production time frame, you will need to plan your time frame. Your time frame begins by talking with CDS about the publication. Before scheduling an appointment, make sure you: 

a) have the budget available to do the publication.
b) have determined the target audience of the publication.
c) have approval from the appropriate dean/supervisor for creating the publication.

During the meeting with CDS, a specific time frame can be established. The time frames that will be calculated will determine how much time is necessary for gathering the information, composing and typesetting the information, determining whether graphics or photographs will be used, planning the photographs to be taken and processed, and proofing the material for spelling, grammar, style and content.

While this may seem a lengthy process, it really isn't. The length of the document, whether it can be printed on- or off-campus, the need for photography and the time frame for printer proofs of off-campus jobs also need to be considered when determining time frames. Remember these time frames are estimates. Many publications will take the minimum working time. Some jobs (catalog, etc.) depending on size, volume, color, etc., will take longer. 

The bottom line is that the responsibility for getting a publication delivered on time rests with the originator of the publication starting early enough to allow everyone involved the time to do their job properly. Keep in mind, when you make changes during the production stage, your job will be delayed. 

If you have an existing publication that does not need to be re-typeset, the time frame becomes significantly shorter because the copy preparation stage is eliminated. The production time may be shortened or eliminated depending on whether the publication already conforms to any standardized layout formats being used by the university. If the printing job is going off-campus, the press production time needs to still be factored into the back planning process.

If you need more than 5,000 copies of a printed piece, or if the printed piece is longer than 10 pages, or if the publication is being printed in multiple colors, the printing time will probably increase. CDS or Printing & Copying Services will be able to help you better determine the proper time frame, so remember the best rule of thumb is to start early. Starting early means meeting with CDS to plan the publication; if you are going to do the job within your department, you still need to do the back planning and schedule the appropriate initial meeting with CDS so we can:

a) make sure all of the necessary visual icons and other information the university is required to include in its publications based on the Board of Regents and VSU guidelines is included and 
b) make the publications process flow smoothly for you, CDS and Printing & Copying Services.

It is wise that when you are planning a publication, you should always allow for the maximum time frame. This will not leave you disappointed when something cannot be finished within a limited time frame. Remember, we are a team at VSU and it is not CDS policy to preempt the work being done for others.

[NOTE: You may be able to save time and money by duplicating (quick copying) a job rather than having it printed. Most duplicating jobs can be done in one or two days.]

Creative Design Services will be the coordinating office for all off-campus printing and will help determine (along with printing services) if a job needs to go off-campus for printing or if it can be done on-campus. This determination will be made after the initial meeting with CDS when you are planning your publication. After the initial meeting with CDS and after the research, copy writing, and proofing stages are completed, you should bring both a hard copy and an electronic copy of the piece to CDS. We will send the copy to the Office of Communications to review the copy for proper style and grammar, advise you of any changes, and return your manuscript to allow to make changes if needed. Please see the Preparing Your Manuscript Guide.

You Want Photos? >>