Stetson University

The Creative Process

Initiating a Creative Project

  1. Contact Creative Services by email ( or phone (386-822-8920) for an appointment well in advance (four to eight weeks) of your needed delivery date.
  2. Analyze the message. In the initial consultation, discussion will center on the purpose, intended audience, distribution method, quantity, budget and any measurable results expected. Answers to these questions will help to produce an effective finished product in a timely manner.
  3. Prepare an outline or write a rough draft and provide a copy digitally by email or disk.
  4. Determine the budget available for the project; accurately plan for printing and fulfillment costs. The process moves much more efficiently if we know the budget up front.

Planning and Scheduling

For most projects, a minimum of four to eight weeks is required from the time the job is initiated to delivery of the final printed piece. The importance of advance planning for any kind of print publication cannot be overemphasized. Once the need for printed material is established, consult University Marketing while the work is still in the planning stage.

Once a project is initiated, University Marketing will plan a schedule allowing time for all the stages of production. Factors determining the length of time required to "turn a job around" include the length of the manuscript, 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 and edit the design and copy into a first proof. It takes a few more weeks to revise and refine a project into its final format. University Marketing works in a three-round creative process: first proof, second proof and final proof. Most projects can be printed within five to seven working days (complex projects not included).

If you need to check on the status of your project, please contact the University Marketing production coordinator.

Your Project's Budget

There is no charge for the planning, editing, design or production coordination services of University Marketing. There is a charge for photography, postage and printing, as well as for any freelance design, copy-writing or illustration services that are needed. An estimate of these costs can be prepared when University Marketing knows the quantity to be printed and establishes the format and design.

Copy Preparation

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 who work on a few 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 either provide a disk or you can email your copy.
  • 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:

  1. To communicate your message as effectively as possible to your particular audience.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Photo captions. Check to make sure each photo caption is correct and that people are identified correctly.
  3. 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.

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