University Communications and Public Affairs

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Design Guidelines

Read through these guidelines, so that your design project is accomplished as smoothly as possible.

Note: we do our best to avoid mistakes, but it is the client’s responsibility to review the publication’s content—including names, dates, fees, addresses, and other information—for accuracy.

  1. Submit a project request form and/or arrange a consultation: It is important that a project request form [PDF] be filled out in its entirety so that there is a clear understanding of the scope of the project. Call the Office of University Communications and Public Affairs at (310) 243-2001 to schedule an initial planning meeting, if necessary.
  2. Come prepared: an editor and designer will help you plan the type of project that will work best for your audience and budget. We recommend that you bring along with you to the meeting your budget, your timeline, the quantity of finished pieces you’ll need, and examples of similar pieces that you feel are effective. This will help us set deadlines and determine what can be accomplished within your budget.
  3. Send us your copy, photos, and art: provide us with the copy or text ideas for your project; see the guidelines below for how text and photos should be submitted to us. Send along art and/or photography, or we can arrange to have photos taken or selected from our collection.
  4. Creativity takes place: our designer will create a mockup of the project for your review. Once the design has undergone an internal review by UCPA professionals and has been approved, you will receive a first proof of the project with the copy in place. We may provide editing to ensure that the project meets university standards. Show this proof to the person responsible for giving the final sign-off, making sure that the design meets your needs—you don’t want to wait until the final proof to find out that changes must be made. Read the copy thoroughly for any errors; often, if you haven’t seen the text for several days, you may find things you missed at first. If you are concerned with any aspect of the project, this is the time to bring up issues. Contact UCPA and we will go over the piece and address your concerns.
  5. Edits and changes: return the first proof with your department’s changes or corrections.
  6. The finished product: we’ll send you a second proof. If it’s perfect, you sign off on the project approval form, and we send it to the printer.

How to Submit Text and Photos

When you submit text, please:

  • use Microsoft Word to create the document
  • put only one space between sentences in a paragraph
  • single space all copy and use a double space (or hit enter twice) between paragraphs
  • set one-inch margins on an 8.5 x 11 inch, horizontally formatted page
  • use tabs instead of the space bar or a series of periods to separate text
  • use a comma before “and” in a series (i.e., I need a stapler, a paperclip, and a pencil.)
  • run spell/grammar check
  • send all documents as an email attachment
  • send a hard copy and highlight or mark with red pen any specific text that should be emphasized

Please do not:

  • format the document, including underlining and justifying the text—any extra formatting you do will have to be stripped out by the designer
  • put in page breaks
  • add page numbers
  • put page numbers in an index or table of contents
  • hard return at the end of sentences (let it flow—it will change when formatted)
  • say “continued” at the top of a page
  • use more than one exclamation point, ever!
  • use “etc.” or “…” unless absolutely necessary—try to explain as best as possible instead
  • use bold or all caps unnecessarily

When you submit art and/or photography, please:

  • provide high-resolution files that are at least 300 dpi
  • send art and/or photography that you have permission to reproduce
  • send original files (jpg, tif format)

Please do not:

  • crop images
  • provide art and/or photography from the web for publications
  • send photos that are over three years old
  • send photos or graphics inserted into a Microsoft Office product (Word or PowerPoint)

What you need to know about deadlines

Due to our volume of work, meeting deadlines is very important to keeping projects on schedule. However, sometimes adjustments must be made to the timeline. Please keep in mind that any changes or delays (for example, when copy is submitted) will impact the delivery date of the project.

For each day a milestone is extended, your delivery date could be set back at least two business days, due to the impact on other projects that are in progress.

Estimated Timelines Per Project Type

The timeline to complete a project varies according to its complexity. A one-page flyer could take a week or two, while a full-color publication or mailing with variable data could take two months or more. Here are a few general time considerations:

  • Editing—two to three weeks
    • All copy will be edited and proofread. The editors in UCPA edit and proofread all copy thoroughly. They will proof your text for grammar and spelling, as well as consistency with University style and factual information about Michigan Tech.
  • Design—two to five weeks
    • Even if your publication is very simple, it may be queued behind several other projects on the designer’s desk. Included in this estimate is time needed for final proofreading and approval by UCPA.
  • Printing—two to four weeks
    • The time involved in printing a project will also vary widely, depending on the size, complexity of the project as well as any late changes that happen after a project is sent to print.
    • Projects are generally scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. The more advanced notice you can give us about your publication, the better.