Steps to Producing a Publication

Plan for Your Project

Before you begin your project, you should decide if you are going to reproduce an existing piece or create a new one. If you decide to create a new piece, or significantly change an existing one, you should answer the following questions:

  • What is the message/purpose of the piece?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What quantity do you need?
  • What is your budget?
  • How will the piece be created — copied or printed?
  • Who will do the copywriting? (If the publications staff is not doing the copywriting, all copy must be complete and on disk before the job can begin.)
  • How will the piece be distributed?
  • When do you need delivery on the piece?

Time Frames

Time frames are dependent on the complexity of your piece and the amount of work on hand. It is a good idea to expect a typical project (simple newsletter, brochure, etc.) to take between four and six weeks from the time complete copy is received by publications to the day the printed piece is delivered. A multipage piece, involving conceptualization, photography, copywriting, etc., will take longer.

Keep in mind that project schedules are affected by college priorities, the number and complexity of existing projects, and printers’ schedules. It is advisable to give as much lead time to your project as possible, even if it seems to be a simple one. Please allow extra time for special treatments, illustrations, elaborate layouts, extensive corrections/changes, or several proofs. Projects that you provide to publications in programs other than text only or a word-processing format will take more time to convert to a layout program. Projects completed in layout programs other than Adobe PageMaker, InDesign or QuarkXpress generally must be reproduced in one of those programs, so it is strongly recommended that you DO NOT provide a piece that has been designed in another program.

Prepare Copy for Your Publication

If you are providing the copywriting, the information must be provided electronically and as a hard copy. It should be complete, with headlines, all copy, captions, and mailing information. If you want photos or artwork included with your project, these should be provided at this time as well, unless other arrangements have been made. Please DO NOT provide scans of photos you've done yourself. Each printing press or copy machine has different requirements, and what might print clearly on your desktop printer may not work on another machine.

If the publications staff will be doing the copywriting, it is essential that you get in touch with the publications office as early in the planning process as possible. Call 716.286.8747 or email

If you have a particular layout in mind, or have samples of pieces you like, send those along. They will be helpful in designing your piece. However, drawing out any specific ideas, or mocking up the publication ahead of time may not be helpful, because the design will be dependent upon the information you provide and the copy/artwork you want included.

Meet with the Associate Director for Publications

All publications that carry the Niagara University name and/or logo and are printed with university funds are coordinated by the publications office. Once you have determined that you need to produce a publication, and have answered your planning questions, call the associate director for publications (ext. 8747) to set up a meeting. Requests that come through without a meeting are delayed while follow-up work is done to get all the information necessary to schedule the project.

The publications staff will suggest ideas to help you develop a piece that will meet your objectives; develop a schedule; help you choose paper stock, ink color(s), typeface(s), photo(s) and clip art; edit your copy to ensure readability and conformity with university style; design or oversee the design of your piece; oversee production, acting as a liaison between you and the printer; check proofs; and review the finished project to ensure the requirements have been met.

A completed publications job order form is necessary to schedule your job. (This can be completed during your initial meeting, or download one here.) This form allows us to schedule and track the project, and provides the information we use to prepare printer’s specifications.

If you do not have your copy ready for the initial meeting, your job cannot be scheduled. Once we receive all necessary materials from you, we will add your job to the schedule.

Writing, Editing, Design

After your meeting with us, and we have received the copy, photos and other materials needed for your project, we will develop a proof for you to review. Please note that, although the editor/writer will review all materials to ensure consistency with university style, you are responsible for proofreading and ensuring accuracy of all proofs. Be especially cautious when reviewing curriculum, class schedules or lists of names. Note that extensive change at this stage or delays in this process will alter the time frame, and your project will take longer to complete.

Copy and Design Approval

Generally, a project should not go through more than two rounds of proofing. The first proof should be carefully checked for changes, and the second (final) proof should be used to be sure your original changes were made. Should changes to the second (and subsequent) proof(s) be required, the project’s completion date will be delayed.

A signed approval form must be received by the publications office before an order to print will be given. Once you have approved a final proof, and the publications staff is satisfied with the content and appearance of the piece, the job will be sent to the on-campus document center or to an off-campus printer.

If a blueline or matchprint proof is required, the associate director for publications will review it for registration, position, cropping of photos and art, and imperfections on the negative. At this stage, changes other than printer’s errors will add to the project’s cost and delay completion time. You will be notified if there are significant changes at this stage.

If Printing Will Be Done by the Document Center

The publications office will release your job to the document center. From this point on, you will work with the document center to have your publication printed or copied.

If Printing Will Be Done by an Off-campus Printer

A purchase requisition must be received by the business services office before printing can begin. The information you provided on the Publications Order Form will be used to prepare a printer’s specification sheet, which will be given to you to attach to your completed purchase requisition. It is advisable that you complete your purchase requisition as soon as possible once you receive the specification sheet, and ensure that the sheet is attached to the requisition before forwarding to business services. Printing begins once a purchase order number is issued to the printer by the business services office.

The publications staff will act as liaisons between you and the printer selected for your job, working with the printers to review proofs and oversee production of your publication.


For reprints of publications produced through the publications office and printed by an off-campus printer, please contact us. We will update the information as necessary, obtain a price and work with the printer to complete the reprint.

Copy Preparation

  • If the publication is a reprint of an existing publication and needs few changes, circle the changes on a copy of the current version and print new information in the margin in red ink, or type changes on a separate sheet of paper and attach it. If the changes are minor, and/or the original piece WAS NOT designed by the publications office, a reprint form may be issued, which would enable you to go directly to the original printer/designer to make the necessary changes. You would then work directly with the printer/designer to reprint your project.
  • If you are creating a new publication, or there are extensive changes to be made to the existing version, type the copy, preferably in text-only format (word processing formats can also be used), and save it to a disk. Bring disk, hard copy and existing version of the piece to the director of publications. When preparing copy, please follow these guidelines:
  • Type only one space after periods.
  • Do not hit the return except after paragraphs.
  • Do not justify right margins.
  • Use upper- and lowercase letters, not all caps!
  • Copy should appear in the order it will appear in the final publication.
  • Do not try to lay out the piece (i.e., do not use spaces or more than one tab to line up information in columns, do not underline, bold, italic, or alter the appearance of the type).
  • Do not manually hyphenate at the end of a line.
  • Do not place tinted or outlined boxes containing copy within your document because they cannot be translated into text.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  


If you need photos for your publication, the Office of Public Relations, Communications and Marketing has photographs on file that are available for university use. Should you request that photos be taken specifically for your publication, add one to two weeks to your publication’s timeframe. If you want assistance selecting a photographer, contact the associate director for publications.

If you have photos, please provide original prints for best results. Photo scans you’ve done yourself may not print clearly on a printing press or copier because requirements vary. Once a photo is scanned, it cannot be easily adjusted. A photo you’ve scanned and printed will need to be rescanned to place in the document, which means it won’t be as clear when printed or copied again.


The associate director for publications will edit all copy for consistency and accuracy, checking grammar, punctuation, spelling, organization, clarity and usage, using the AP Stylebook and Niagara University’s style guide as references. A meeting may be scheduled to review the copy if significant changes are needed.


Publications can be designed by the publications office or by an off-campus designer. If an off-campus designer is required, design coordination will be done by the associate director for publications. The direction the designer takes will be determined by the information you provide in your initial meeting and any samples of pieces you want to share as examples of the look you want. Typically, one layout will be prepared for each job based on this information. The layout will show you type style, placement of art and photos, and color. At this time, you may make minor changes to the design. Extensive changes at this stage are strongly discouraged, and will delay your completion date.