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developing print materials


image of art student installing her sculpture on the quad



Working with design firms

When you work with a design firm, following some simple guidelines will help minimize revisions and keep charges down.

Finding a Designer

Creative Services can create your publication or Web site and oversee the printing process. You can also contact them for recommendations for external vendors.

Purchasing's list of Preferred Vendors for Professional and Artistic Services is also a great resource.

Also see Contracting for Services for tips on hiring designers, writers, photographers, and other creative services.

The First Meeting

Here are some critical questions to answer and information to share with the design firm:

Be sure to bring with you samples of printed materials you like and ones you don't like even if they seem unrelated to your project.

creating Text/copywriting


If you need photos for your publication, discuss it with the design firm early in the job. Public Affairs maintains an Image Database exclusively for campus use. If you are considering shooting original photography using people, be sure to obtain model releases for all of your subjects. If you need to shoot new photos, a designer can help you put together a bid, find the right photographer for your subject matter, and then art-direct the photo shoot to bring consistency and vision to your piece.

Be careful if you are planning to use digital images not taken by a professional photographer. The resolution may not be adequate.

It is most efficient to send all the photos with the text when the project begins.

Sample pages

If you’re commissioning a large piece (for example a 32-page brochure), a great way to keep costs down is to ask to see the design of one or two sample spreads and the cover. That way you can ensure that the design is going in a direction you’re comfortable with early in the process.

The first proof

Now’s the time to make changes. If you don’t like the colors, if the type seems too small, or if the pictures don’t seem to match the text, let the designer know. Be sure to get input from all members of your committee. If you don’t understand the reason for a specific design choice, then ask.

The Editing Phase

Return a single set of page proofs with changes marked clearly. If you had multiple reviewers, compile a master proof, so that the design firm is working from one copy. If you’re adding more than a sentence or two of text, type it out and send it digitally as a Word document, then indicate its insertion point on the master proof.