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< prev - next > Information communication learning Producing printed material_KnO 100048 (Printable PDF)
Producing printed material
Practical Action
Even if some of these resources are in-house, find out whether you need to budget for staff
The role of editor varies, but in most cases the editor is the manager of the project, and the
smooth progress of the publication will depend on them. If there is to be a project manager
and an editor, it is important to clarify the roles at the beginning. It is usually the editor’s job
to get quotes from, choose, and commission all the external members of the project team,
such as the author, designer, artist, and printer, and to ensure that everyone knows exactly
what they are contributing, and that they complete their work on time. The drafts of the
publication will return to and be checked by the editor between each link in the production
The editor will also plan the publication, and commission the author. The editor must ensure
that the author understands exactly the subject to be covered, the purpose of the publication,
and the target audience. After the author submits a manuscript, the editor works through it,
compiling questions for the author where the text is unclear, correcting spelling and
grammar, marking up the text to highlight headings, bullet points, captions, etc. for the
designer. The editor will also compile a list of graphics, illustrations, or photographs that are
needed from the artist to clarify or illustrate information in the text. At each subsequent
stage of production, the editor will proof-read the text, read it carefully for mistakes and
check that any earlier alterations have been incorporated. Finally, the editor must ensure
that the draft and final manuscripts are authorised by a nominated person within the
The editor should get quotes from more than one designer if possible, telling them the aims
of the publication and who the target audience is. Show the designers examples of other
similar publications that work particularly well, and the finished manuscript if there is one.
If a manuscript does not already exist, the editor will commission an author, who will
research, collate, and write a manuscript to the editor’s detailed specifications. Agree the
topic to be covered, the tone and style, the number of words, the deadlines, and the fee, and
confirm everything in writing.
It may be necessary to commission drawings, illustrations, or photographs to complement the
manuscript. Brief the artist on the style that you want, the number of illustrations and the
content, the size that is needed, the deadline, and agree a fee per illustration or for the entire
job. You may also want the artist to provide an illustration for the cover of the publication.
Photographers need to be briefed in the same way, specifying colour transparencies or black
and white photographs, agreeing a fee, a deadline, and what expenses will be covered. Again,
confirm everything in writing.
The shape of your publication, the number of pages, and the number of copies you print (the
‘run’) will determine the cost of printing, which is often one of the largest budget items. An
unusual shape may mean that the printer has to use large sheets of paper and trim off a lot of
waste. Consult with your printer (or several printers) to see what shape their machines are
best equipped to print, and whether the sheets of paper they use cover 4, 8, or 16 pages at a