The Creative Process
Initiating a Creative Project
For most projects, a minimum of four to eight weeks is required from the time the job is initiated to delivery of the final product. The importance of advance planning for any kind of marketing publication cannot be overemphasized. Once the need for marketing is established, please contact the Office of University Marketing while the work is still in the planning stage.
1. Start by contacting the University Marketing Creative Services Office at firstname.lastname@example.org, 386-822-8923 or by filling out a marketing request form to start the process. Marketing reviews most requests within 24 hours, Monday through Thursday. Requests received on Friday will be reviewed the following Monday.
Note: Please allow enough lead-time for the successful completion of your marketing request. In most situations the minimum project completion time frame is 4-8 weeks in advance of your needed delivery date. In-depth websites, large-scale brochures and branding requests will take longer to complete.
2. Once a request has been reviewed, the project is accepted, held pending more information or declined if it falls outside of an acceptable time frame. Marketing requests may be declined because required information is missing such as a production order (PO) or budget, the scope of project falls outside of the services Marketing offers or there is not enough time to successfully produce a highly effective final product.
Kick-off meetings are focused on understanding the vision, goals and objectives of the request. In the initial meeting, discussion will center on the purpose, intended audience, distribution method, quantity, budget and any measurable results expected. Having answers to these questions before work starts will help ensure a timely start and finish, and help marketing produce an effective finished product.
3. Marketing will need to know the budget and have an assigned PO before work can begin. It makes for a more efficient process if we know the scope in which the project must be completed. We can help you accurately plan for printing, production fulfillment costs.
Once a project has been accepted, Marketing will develop a "production schedule" that allows enough time for all the stages of production to be completed.
If you need to check on the status of your project, please contact Marketing’s Production Coordinator at ext. 7528
Planning and Scheduling
Factors determining the length of time required to “turn a job around” include the length of the manuscript and the editorial work required, the complexity of design, the kind of artwork desired, the complexity of the printing, mail processing times and the schedules and work loads of University Marketing and vendors involved. Typically it takes a couple of weeks to research, conceptualize, edit, design and produce a first proof. It takes a few more weeks to revise and refine a project into its final format. Marketing works in a three-round creative process – First Proof, Second Proof and Final Proof. Most projects can be printed within 5 to 10 business days (complex projects will take longer).
Your Project's Budget
There is no charge for the planning, editing, design or production coordination services of University Marketing. There is usually a charge for photography, postage and printing, as well as for any external design, copy-writing or illustration services that are needed to accommodate. An estimate of these costs can be prepared when University Marketing knows the quantity to be printed and establishes the format and design.
In almost all cases, the client is responsible for providing the original copy that will be used in a publication. We have writers and editors on staff that work on major university publications. In most cases, however, we will edit the manuscript that you have produced for brand voice and consistency.
A clear, easy-to-read manuscript facilitates editing, designing, typesetting and proofreading. Here are some necessary guidelines to follow as you prepare your copy for a publication:
- Please refer to the Stetson University Brand Guidelines and Editorial Style Guide before you begin.
- You can email your copy directly to University Marketing.
- Microsoft Word is the preferred format.
- Do not type the copy to fit into a particular space or try to simulate the finished printed product.
- Include all the material to be set in type: the information to appear on the cover, coupons or forms, captions, mailing permit and/or return address.
University Marketing editors have two major functions:
- To communicate your message as effectively as possible to your particular audience.
- To ensure that all university publications present a coherent and consistent voice for Stetson University.
You will always have a chance to review edited copy before it is printed.
While there are some stylistic preferences that are largely a question of taste, the rules of grammar, punctuation, capitalization and usage are not a matter of opinion. Our editors use the university's Editorial Style Guide and the Associated Press Stylebook to resolve general questions. This allows the university to communicate in a consistent brand voice with all its outside audiences.
You will see a "final proof" of your job at the University Marketing office before it goes to print. As you check your publication, you need to review and sign off on the following items:
- All type. Please proofread carefully, particularly names and dates. It is your responsibility to check spelling. Remember, spell check (and our editors) will not catch everything.
- Photo captions. Check to make sure each photo caption is correct and that people are identified correctly.
- Quantity. Make sure that the quantity we have listed is what you will need. It is much more expensive, in the end, if we have to reprint.
We can schedule photography, use photography from university files or purchase imagery from a stock photo provider. If you provide digital or scanned photography, be aware that we cannot be responsible for the final quality. All photography must meet minimum image quality standards and should be saved in JPEG, TIFF or EPS format and be at least 300 dpi at the size it will be printed. Generally, photos taken with a cellular phone or downloaded from a website are not usable in printed publications.
University Marketing will obtain several quotes for each printing project and will select a vendor who can produce both a high-quality and cost-efficient finished product. You will be asked to approve the estimate and sign off on the final creative proof before the job is sent to the printer. Please remember that changes to a project after a file has been released to print incur added costs.
Once printed, your job will be delivered to your department, the warehouse or to another location you have specified. When it is delivered, you will need to check the quantity on the receipt against the quantity being delivered. Be aware that the printing industry has a list of printing customs that are in general use throughout the United States. One of the most important of these is the "ten percent rule." Because of the difficulty of estimating exactly how many good copies of a publication can be produced from a certain amount of paper, a printer is allowed to deliver and charge a customer for up to ten percent more or ten percent fewer copies than were ordered. You should take this into account if you must have a specific number of copies. If you are ordering a reprint with or without changes, please send a sample of the publication to University Marketing.