Producing printed material
The designer takes the edited manuscript and the illustrations and lays them out in an
attractive, useful way (on computer or on paper). The designer will first produce a ‘flat plan’
showing the editor on which page each part of the text and illustrations will go. Once that is
approved, the designer or the typesetter sets the text in pages, and the photographs and
illustrations are set into the computer file using a scanner, which converts them into a digital
format that the computer can read and store on a disk. (If the designer does not have a very
good quality scanner, then it is better to get your printer or another specialist to do the
scanning for you.) The designer or typesetter produces a set of ‘page proofs’ for the editor to
proof-read. Once the editor has checked the page proofs thoroughly and made any
corrections (and this is the last stage at which corrections should be made) the designer or
typesetter produces revised proofs. The editor then takes these ‘revises’ to the printer, along
with a disk and any artwork that the printer will need.
The editor (or project manager) issues the printer with a ‘Print Order’, specifying exactly how
many copies should be printed and the paper that they have agreed, and telling the printer
where to deliver the printed publications. The printer scans in any photographs or artwork as
directed, then uses the disk to produce film from which in turn the printing plates are made
from which the publication is printed. The editor (or project manager) checks a set of proofs
from the film, to insure that they are exactly the same as the revises, and then authorises the
printer to print. Printing systems are changing rapidly, and depending on the technology that
your printer has available, this procedure will vary. Make sure you understand from the
beginning what system your printer will be using, and what they expect from you.
The method of distribution that you use will depend on who your target audience is. If the
document is to be distributed free to selected people then you must ensure that your mailing
list is complete, up-to-date, and accurate. Specialised distributors may be able to label,
package, and post your document more cheaply than you can do it yourself, so be sure to get
a quote before you decide. If you are sending out a regular newsletter, then you will need to
budget for maintenance of the mailing list, or maintenance of the subscriber list if you are
charging a subscription. If you want to sell your publication, then you will have to invest in
marketing it, either to booksellers or to your audience, probably both, particularly by sending
free copies out to people who will review your publication in, for example, magazines or
newsletters. Even if you are going to sell the document, there will probably be a small list of
people to whom you will send a free copy, including the author, donors, project team, and the
head of your organisation.
Useful contacts and further information
A dictionary and thesaurus – standardise on one of the main publishers.
Judith Butcher, Copy-editing: The Cambridge Handbook. 2nd Edition, Cambridge University
Press, Cambridge, 1989. ISBN 0 521 25638 0.
H.W. Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Revised edition (Ernest Gowers, ed.),
Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1996. ISBN 0 19 281389 7.
George Orwell, ‘Politics and the English Language’ Horizon, April 1946. (This essay is often
included in collections of Orwell’s essays and journalism.)
The Oxford Writers’ Dictionary. R.E. Allen (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1990. ISBN
0 19 282669 7.
Eric Partridge, Usage and Abusage: A guide to good English. 2nd Edition (ed. Janet
Whitcut), Penguin Books, London, 1995. ISBN 0 14 051281 0.
New Hart’s Rules: The Handbook of Style for Writers and Editors Oxford University Press,
2005 ISBN 978-0-19-861041-0