Combine Design and Production

by Erin Canetta

11 June, 2010

Most publishers have an on staff production department. This was very important when ads were largely produced on film. But the process has changed drastically over the last 10 years. Publishers need to revisit their production departments and ask themselves if there is a better way.

To demonstrate what I’m talking about, let’s take a trip down “memory lane.” The steps to producing a film-based magazine went something like this:
1) Layout the issue.
2) Work with the sales reps. to get the ad materials.
3) Label the ad materials into an ad system.
4) Make sure you have 4 pieces of film to send a printer (CMYK)
5) Get the film to the printer who converts them to a digital file
6) Proof that file
7) Pair the ad up to editorial if it was a partial
8) Send everything off to (possibly another) printer for print.
9) Blue line proof everything again
10) And if their were no issues, approve everything for print.
11) After the printing process, you had to then organize all the film and file it in a way that you could find it again if need be.
After receiving the ad files it would take approximately 2 weeks to finalize the production process—for a 68-page issue.

Fast forward and the production process now goes something like this:
1) Layout the issue.
2) Work with the sales reps. to get the ad materials.
3) Put the ad files (usually a PDF) in your issue folder on your desktop or server.
4) Create a final PDF with possibly and RS#
5) Upload to printer
6) Proof online
7) Give approval.
Now the process, after receiving ad files, takes approximately 2 hours—also for a 68-page issue.

So what is the answer? Someone still has to be there to do the production work.
It’s simple. Find a designer that can and is willing to do both.

A designer has the skills to look at a file and discern whether it is print quality or not. Designers can layout magazines and make final PDF’s for the ad pages. Bonus: they also design editorial pages (with ads in mind). The magazine then has the chance to develop a better flow, colors will work together and advertisers will be happier.