Before you meet with University Communications staff to discuss your latest print project, consider the following questions:
- Is the publication a stand-alone piece or is it part of a larger effort that involves media relations or the web?
- Who is your audience?
- What do you want your publication to accomplish?
- How does the publication support your overall communication plan and the long-term goals of your unit?
- What action(s) do you want your audience to take after reading the publication?
- What is your central message and how does it integrate Portland State University's key messages?
- Will the publication include photographs and are they already taken?
- Does the publication require a business-reply card or other reply vehicle?
- Should the publication be a particular size or shape? For example, should it fit into a business envelope?
- What are your plans for distributing the publication?
- How many copies do you need?
- When do you need the finished publication?
- What is the budget for the publication?
When you have the answers to these questions, give us a call and we'll help you determine the best way to produce your publication:
- Many projects can be managed in-house by University Communications, in which case we'll help refine and design your piece, determine which printer is best suited for your project and budget (includes getting quotes for various quantities), and establish a production schedule.
- For some projects we may recommend reliable external vendors for design and production.
- Electronic templates are available for small projects that you produce on your own.
An average publication takes four to six weeks to produce. Small jobs or revisions to existing publication often take less time, but new or large projects can take eight to 12 weeks. As you plan, remember also to consider the amount of time needed to mail or otherwise distribute your publication.
The following process applies to in-house publications, but also is applicable to projects you complete on your own or with external vendors.
Follow these guidelines as you write copy for your publications:
- Write to your audience. If appropriate, use informal, personal language like "you" and "we" to engage your readers. We've developed an Editorial Style Guide to help with style, grammar, and common university terms.
- Include information that supports and highlights your program or service's unique strengths.
- Make it readable: Write with an active voice, using short sentences and easily understood words.
- Make it look readable: Use subheads and brief paragraphs to organize text into manageable, informative sections. Sometimes it helps to write the subheads first and fill in the details later.
- Tell your readers what you want them to do: fill in the response card and mail it; call for more information; visit your Web site.
Submit your copy, a final, fully approved draft*, to University Communications according to the following specifications:
- Type one space between sentences instead of two.
- Place one hard return between paragraphs instead of two.
- Do not use indents or tabs.
- Type heads and subheads flush with the left margin on lines separate from the body copy. Do not format them with bold, italic, or underline features.
- Include all copy for the publication in a single file, in the order it should appear in the final publication.
*The most important thing you can do to keep your project on schedule is to make sure your text is refined and approved by everyone who needs to review it before you send it to us for production.
See the identity standards (PDF) guide for suggestions on what makes an effective photo.
We prefer that you submit high-resolution (300 dpi) color digital files of the photos for your publication. We can use color prints, black and white prints, or transparencies (slides), but these require scanning by an external vendor which takes extra time and adds to the cost of your project.
If you need specific photos, we'll refer you to a freelance photographer and advise you on what photos to take. Photo shoots should be arranged well in advance of your publication date.
Proofread and Approve
For most projects, we provide laser proofs of the final publication for your approval. You are responsible for proofreading and approving the proofs. Extensive changes made at this point in the process can delay the project and add to the cost.
Cost and Billing
University Communications services--consultation, copy editing, design, production, and arranging for printing--are free in most cases. You pay for printing and for any custom photography or illustration, scanning, and incidental services.
You may be billed for freelance design services on projects we cannot design in-house, but we will consult with you ahead of time in such cases.
Your publications can be delivered directly to your office or to an off-campus location of your choice, such as a mailing service. You are responsible for storing your publications.