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Creating Your Publication

Once you have all your concepts and information together, bring them to the director or associate director in the Office of Publications and Creative Services to discuss your requirements. After reviewing your job, we will provide you with a cost estimate at your request, a job schedule, and an approximate delivery date.

Important Steps

Communications materials are tools used to inform, persuade, and/or elicit a response. The editorial content, photographs, graphics, and design of your piece are combined to convey your message. The message can be communicated through a variety of media, including newsletters, eblasts, postcards, and brochures. We can help you determine which medium is best suited for your project.

The publication process starts with a requisition being submitted to the Office of Publications and Creative Services. If design or writing services are needed, make an appointment with the director or a member of the design or editorial staff to talk about your communications objectives, your target audience, and your budget. The size (number and size of pages), format, and quantity all determine the design, cost, and turnaround time. Do not wait until the last minute to bring in your jobs. Although Publications staff members have produced jobs in an extraordinarily short period of time, it is the exception, not the rule. For example, if a brochure is needed for an upcoming event in three months, initiate the production at least two months before the event.

The Office of Publications and Creative Services begins jobs upon receipt of requisitions. Each job is assigned a job number for tracking purposes. When inquiring about a job's status, provide the job number or the specific job description for a quicker response.

Submit all the job elements—copy, photographs, illustrations (or concepts), etc.—with the requisition. The Office of Publications and Creative Services will not be able to start a job that doesn't have all of its elements present. If you do not have time to write copy, or need assistance developing the concepts, writing services are available.

Time and money can be saved by emailing your text to the Office of Publications and Creative Services. The office uses Microsoft Word. Please do not format copy; avoid inserting tabs or justification.

Upon initial submission, your text is edited. The editor checks for NSU style, spelling, grammar, and consistency. The editor's general familiarity with the university may enable him or her to catch factual errors, but the job author is responsible for ensuring that the document is accurate. All copy is edited so it is consistent with the style defined in the NSU Style Manual. Copies of the manual can be downloaded from our Web site.

Indicating changes on a PDF will help to save time and money in the publication production process. The following video will give you instructions on how to annotate your NSU PDF for the Office of Publications.

  • Click here to view the video "How to Annotate a PDF, Courtesy of NSU's Office of Publications and Creative Services".

Time is money. When corrections and changes are made early in the job (at the proofreading stage), costs will be kept lower than when changes are made at the ready-for-press stage. Design layout and typesetting begin after your copy has been edited. The design layout is then sent to you for proofreading and corrections. Take the time to carefully review your piece in detail.

A second round of proofing and a final sign off will be made before the job is sent to the printer. It's very important to carefully read and review body text, headlines, picture information, readouts, and other copy elements. Check the spelling of names and telephone numbers to make sure they are correct. Avoid late changes. The final proof shows the piece exactly as it will be printed. It is the last possible opportunity for changes.

Here are some ideas that should be considered when preparing copy for your printed product.

  • Use an outline. It's a must before embarking on a project.
  • Maintain a positive, consistent tone throughout the piece (e.g., serious, witty, academic, personal, informal, or lively).
  • Be concise. The shorter the piece, the better.
  • Use simple and direct language with easy-to-read words.
  • Support your text with strong titles and descriptive headlines and subheads.
  • Put the most important information at the beginning of the piece.
  • Make sure all the information is accurate.
  • Write for the target audience and to its level of expertise.
  • Use examples to illustrate your points.
  • Sentences of differing lengths and construction styles help to emphasize concepts.
  • Use proper paragraph development (topic, details, close) and avoid one- or two-sentence paragraphs.
  • Avoid editorializing. Use attribution and direct quotations to convey opinions.

When proofing copy, consider the following:

  • Make sure the message is clear and concise.
  • Eliminate redundancy. If you said it once, that's enough.
  • Use professional diction or tone in your writing. Do not use slang unless absolutely appropriate.
  • Check for spelling with spell-check programs and a dictionary. If a word looks like it is spelled incorrectly, it probably is. Double-check hyphenation of prefixes and use correct, consistent capitalization.
  • Look for proper rendering of numbers—nine and below are spelled out, 10 and above should be numerals.
  • Watch for balanced sentence length.
  • Be consistent in the use of first, second, and third person.
  • Check content.
    • Is information accurate and complete?
    • Is quoted material verbatim?
    • Are paraphrases accurate?
    • Will future events become past events by the date of publication?
  • Skim the entire document to get a sense of the layout and content.
  • Check for format consistency in headlines, capitalization, centering, margins, and line spacing.
  • Check spelling (again), punctuation, and grammar. Pay particular attention to little details, such as NSU's boilerplate, addresses, telephone numbers, and people's names.
  • Review number styles, cross-check mathematical equations, cross-reference page numbers with table of contents listings, and review reference numbers.
  • Watch for missing words.
  • Be consistent with the uses of singular and plural.
  • Read fine print or statistical copy out loud to another person.
  • Check all editorial changes against original hard copy.
  • Make sure apostrophes are all the same style.
  • Check your advertisement size against the publication's order form or rate guide specifications.
  • Make sure the NSU logo, appropriate accreditation statement, and notice of nondiscrimination (if required) are included.
  • Check headlines and subheads for content, length, and consistency of typeface.
  • Avoid awkward hyphenations, or individual words or letters at the end of lines and paragraphs.
  • Provide directions in addresses. Spell out compass directions. Do not put periods in direction abbreviations such as NE, SE, etc.
  • Time designations are in lowercase—a.m., p.m., noon.
  • Spell out percent; i.e., 12 percent.
  • Use proper dates (day, month, and year) in titles, mastheads, etc.
  • Phone numbers
    • Use parentheses around area code—(954) 555-1212.
    • Extensions should be included when appropriate—(954) 555-1212, ext. 21234.
    • Toll-free numbers should be separated by a dash and do not include "1"—800-555-1212.

Consider the following:

  • Submit only high-resolution digital images (no low-res images taken from Web sites) that have good contrasting tones. A dark photograph reproduces poorly in print.
  • Send photos that clearly show people's faces, activity, and people with appropriate expressions.
  • Any needed photo shoots are arranged by, and art directed by, a Office of Publications staff member.

Turnaround times are based on the amount and condition of the text provided, as well as the complexity of the design. Times may vary based on the number of proofs and design revisions required.

Often the content of a printed piece may also need to be used on a Web site. To facilitate the process of putting publications on the Web, design application files such as those created in InDesign, Adobe Illustrator, or Photoshop can be exported in HTML format or as PDF files. A PDF file can be viewed using Adobe Acrobat Reader, a free application that can be downloaded. The Office of Publications and Creative Services sometimes uses this format for sending design proofs to clients. If you will need your project prepared for the Web, please indicate this in the appropriate area of the publications requisition form.

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