Guide to Painless Projects
Why should I seek assistance from the Communications Office?
It is important that Colorado College’s communications materials present a message and image consistent with the high quality of the college’s faculty, staff, students, and programs.
What services can the staff provide?
Writing and editing
Design (in-house and freelance)
Photography and illustration
What are the steps in the process?
Set up a meeting at least six weeks before your communications piece is needed. Call Communications at X6603 to get started.
Once your copy is written and approved by the appropriate individual, we will schedule a meeting where you will submit your copy and discuss the project. Note: Our office does not begin layout on your job until we have your final, approved copy. Please send your copy to Editorial Director Jen Kulier via e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) as a Microsoft Word attachment.
Review and sign off on your project before it goes to press. You will see a layout, or proof, of your project before it is printed. You and your department are responsible for proofreading and confirming the accuracy of all copy. If mailing is involved, you are also responsible for postage, and postal or mail-house coordination. (We normally allow two days for proof review. If you anticipate needing more time for this step, please mention it during the meeting so we can schedule accordingly.)
Approve the project bid. The publications staff will ask you to approve the printer's bid before the project goes to press and provide us with a budget code to charge your project to.
Wait for delivery. After we release artwork to the printer, you will usually receive delivery of your piece in about two weeks.
Watch for billing. After your project has been completed, you will receive photocopies of all invoices when we send them to the business office for payment.
How should I prepare before coming to you for help?
Please be prepared to answer these questions:
- What is the project? What’s the task at hand?
- Why are we doing it? What is the objective, problem or opportunity?
- Who is it for and why should they care?
- Where and how will it be used?
- Who will become engaged with it directly and indirectly?
- How will it be remembered and retold?
- When do you need it? How many copies do you need?
- Postage information; i.e. bulk rate, non-profit, or first-class
- Distribution details (e.g., quantity with and/or without postage indicia, quantity with and/or without tabs or glue spots)
- Delivery instructions
- Details about your electronic distribution plan, if applicable (e.g., will you need a copy of your piece for the web?).
- What is your budget?
- How will you measure its success or failure?
When you meet with us to discuss the project, we will go into more depth with some of these questions. Be read to answer:
- Overview. What is the project? What are we creating and why? Why do you need this project? What are the key challenges? What’s the real opportunity? Are there any emerging ideas and trends to consider?
- Drivers. What is our goal for this project? What are we trying to achieve? What is the purpose of our work? What are our top three objectives? What thought, feeling, or action can we bring to life? How will success be measured?
- Audience. Who are we talking to? What do they think of you? What will make you more appealing to them? Why should they care about this brand? What inspires, motivates, interests and amuses them? Who are they talking to? How can we help them better connect with their own community? What causes buzz in their world? What competes for their attention?
- Tone. How should we be communicating? What adjectives describe the desired feeling, personality, or approach? Discuss how content (images/words), flow of information (narrative), interaction (physical/virtual) and user behaviors (pro/con) should affect mode and style.
- Message. What are we saying with this piece exactly? How can you back that up? Are the words already developed or do we develop them? What do we want audiences to take away?
- Visuals. Are we developing new images or using existing ones? If we are creating them, who, what, where are we shooting and why? Should we consider illustrations and/or charts? What type of thematic iconography makes sense and is appealing?
- Details. Any mandatory info? List of deliverables? Pre-conceived ideas? Format parameters? Limitations and restrictions? Timeline, budget? The best delivery media? And why?
- People. Who are we reporting to? Who will approve this work? Who needs to be informed of our progress? By what means?
How long does it take to complete a project?
The time we need to complete a project depends on such factors as job complexity, degree of copy editing, routing and approval time, special photo or illustration needs, and workload. We also schedule around college holidays and your availability to review proofs. In general, we follow these guidelines:
- Revision of an existing piece — 4-5 weeks
- New project or substantial revision — 6-12 weeks
- Book-length piece — 3-9 months
Note: Production schedules begin when we receive final approved copy and end on the date the printed piece is delivered to campus or a mailing house.
What if I miss my copy deadline?
We will adjust the end date of the project accordingly. For example, if your copy is two weeks late, the project delivery date will be at least two weeks (maybe longer) later than originally scheduled. If we have less than six weeks to deliver your project, you may be required to pay for freelance writing, editing or design services, which we will coordinate.
How much do I have to pay?
In general, our editing and design services are free to Colorado College administrative offices and academic departments. However, in some cases, a piece may require freelance writing, editing, and/or design to meet its objectives or to be produced according to your timeline. In these instances, project sponsors are responsible for paying these outside charges. All project sponsors are responsible for printing, photography, and illustration costs. If mailing is involved, you are responsible for postage, postal coordination, and any mail-house fees.
What is the key to the process?
Collaboration. We strive to create publications that meet your needs and budget while representing the college’s desired image. In turn, we ask your cooperation in submitting copy and returning proofs. It's truly a collaborative effort. We look forward to working with you.