Every organisation produces some printed materials, and whether you want to start a
newsletter, create an annual report, or publish a book, the same principles apply. This
Technical Brief explains the basics, and will help you to organise your materials production,
or perhaps reorganise it.
The main reason for producing printed material is to share useful or interesting information
with others. You may also wish to publicise your organisation, or to raise money by selling
your material, but whatever the case the information had better be useful or interesting too!
Start by asking yourself ‘What is the purpose of disseminating this material?’ and ‘Who is the
audience?’. Keep the answers to these questions in mind throughout the publishing process;
they determine what format, language, level of detail, and system of distribution you should
If you are new to materials production, following these established procedures will help you to
avoid costly mistakes. Depending on the size of your organisation, you may have some or all
of the following skills or resources ‘in house’. This Technical Brief will assume that you do
not, but the same rules with regard to consultation, scheduling, and budgeting apply to both
staff and freelances. Make sure that you use the expertise of your fellow professionals. For
the purposes of this Technical Brief we will call the printed material the ‘publication’, even if
it is not being published for sale.
The first step is to produce a schedule that notes key dates and internal deadlines. It is
imperative that a schedule is drawn up from the very beginning, and that everyone involved in
the process has a copy and knows their own deadlines. An Annual Review, for example, may
need to be ready for a launch, but cannot be produced before your accounts are ready. The
schedule should include a period for consultation to allow time for you to get quotes or
estimates from designers, artists, or printers. Once you have chosen your editor, they will
help you to revise the schedule, which should be finalised once you have chosen your
designer and printer and agreed deadlines with them.
The amount that you spend on a publication should be determined first and foremost by the
purpose of the publication, and its target audience. You may have a set amount of money to
spend on a publication, and this budget may limit what you are able to achieve. If, on the
other hand, you are constructing a budget in order to try to raise the money to produce a
publication, then you should aim for the best format for the purpose. The main costs that
you will need to budget for include:
translator (where necessary)
typesetter (if your designer is not doing the typesetting)
photographic reproduction fees
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