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Maximizing Your Design Dollar

Posted on Wednesday, February 24, 2010 at 2:02 PM

Six money-saving tips for your publication.

By Lynn Riley

Controlling costs has always been a top concern in publishing. In the volatile economy of late publishers are trying to cut back even more in every way they can. Here are 6 ways to save money in the design of your publication.

Know What You Want Before You Begin

Make a firm decision on what format your project will take. Changing formats midstream, as from a postcard to a trifold brochure, can eat up design hours and end up costing you more. Clarify your goal for the piece and who the audience will be; these will be primary guidepoints for the designer.

Kick Off the Project with a Design Meeting

Meeting early on with the designer helps save headaches (and money) later. Clearly communicate all the points listed above. If you aren't sure what's the best format or what the piece can realistically achieve, your designer may have valuable input that will save you money in the long run.

Help the Designer Help You

Provide examples of what you do and don't like. This will give the designer a better idea of what you're envisioning. It will also help avoid endless revisions and "I'll know it when I see it" syndrome. Whenever possible provide art resources, images, and files to the designer so he doesn't have to recreate work from scratch.

Keep AA Costs Down

Provide fully edited copy to the designer that requires no further revision. (OK. OK. This should at least be the goal.) Many people catch copy changes only after the piece has been designed; avoid additional revisions (and fees) with careful proofreading beforehand.

Stick to the Schedule

Poor planning and delays can mean paying rush fees to bring a project in on time. Develop a schedule early on and stick to it in order to stay on budget. If planning is not your strong suit or you just don't have the time, ask your designer to map out a production schedule for you.

Put Out an RFP

Are you getting the best service and quality for a reasonable price? If it's been awhile since you casted your net in the pool of designers maybe it's time to solicit some fresh proposals. Many design firms are pricing their services to compete aggressively in the changing economy.

Communication is the underlining key to an efficient publishing process. The information you exchange with your designer will undoubtedly yield high returns on your bottom line.

Lynn Riley, of Lynn Riley Design, specializes in design for association publications. Visit the firm's website at www.LynnRileyDesign.com or email her directly at lynn [at] lynnrileydesign [dot] com.

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