Guidelines for Projects & Printing

Our staff in Marketing & Creative Services works on a variety of design projects, from print pieces such as brochures, posters and environmental branding, to digital graphics for websites, social media and videos.

 


 

Lightbulb illustration

 

 

Guidelines for Project Success

As you kick-off your project, review our staff’s tips to make sure it runs as smoothly as possible.

  • Remember your goals: What do you want your audience to take away from your design?
  • Simplify your message: Shorten your copy to highlight the most important details.
  • Define a hierarchy: Prioritize the content in your design so the components do not compete with one another. Not everything can be prominent.
  • Be prepared: The more prepared you are at kick-off, the more successful your project will be and the more efficient the designer can be.
  • Be detail-oriented in proofing: We like to keep rounds of revision to a minimum (under three hopefully) in order to keep your timeline in check.
    • Carefully read the piece in its entirety and try to catch any typos and errors in style, grammar and spelling. Reading the piece out loud can often be helpful, as can be referring to The Style Guide (PDF).
    • Verify the accuracy and completeness of information (including things such as phone numbers, email addresses, locations, times and dates), as these may change over the course of a project.
    • Make sure that lists (names of people, organizations, programs, etc.) are in alphabetical order, or in an order that will make sense to the reader.
    • Check all URLs to make sure they are working and contain up-to-date information.  If you have long URLs that you would like to shorten, you can create a custom shortened URL at go.gwu.edu
    • Take a look at all photos and images to confirm that they appear as you intended.
    • If this is not the first proof, check to see that all feedback/edits provided in the previous round of review have been addressed.
    • Run the proof by others—particularly those involved in the decision-making process, if applicable—and compile all feedback/edits on the PDF proof using the “Comments” feature in Adobe Acrobat.
    • The designer will run spell check at the project’s completion, but as the client, it’s very important that you take the time to read over everything to make sure it is correct.

 


 

Illustration of Documents

 

 

Working with Print Vendors

We have a wonderful network of vendors who have years of experience working with the university and will help guide you in the process. Here’s what to expect from the print production process:

  • We’ll provide several vendor suggestions at the project outset when printing will be required. Depending on the size and scope of the project, you may want to get price quotes from a couple of vendors to assure the best cost. 
  • Talk with your designer about the project specs so that you can request print pricing from the vendors. The designer can make recommendations, but you can also ask the vendors for their suggestions. Here’s the info your vendor will need to develop the price quote:
    • Quantity: How many pieces do you want to print? If you’re not exactly sure and you want to find out the best pricing range, you can ask the vendor to price out several different quantities.
    • Size: How big will the final document be? Dimensions are usually given width x height. If you are printing a brochure or booklet, you will give both flat and folded sizes.
    • Color: You’ll want to indicate if the project will be black and white or color, and single or double sided. 
    • Paper type and weight: You’ll want to indicate the paper weight (given in pounds and often abbreviated as “#”), finish (glossy, satin/dull, or uncoated), and type (heavy-weight cover or lighter weight text). For example, a poster might print on “100# satin cover” and a flyer may print on “80# satin text Ask your designer/vendor for the recommendations.
  • Once your design is finalized, the designer will give you a print-ready file, which you can then send to the vendor. Make sure to ask for a digital proof back from the vendor. If you require a hard-copy proof to be mailed to you, please let them know that (and account for it in your timeline). 

    Review the proof carefully to make sure everything is correct. Also share it with the designer so that they can check it from a design perspective. If everything looks good, you’ll let the vendor know it’s approved for print. If you need any edits, let both the vendor and the designer know. The vendor will usually be able to make them for you, but the designer will also want to make them on their copy of the file so that we have the correct version in our records. Please note that vendors usually will charge for edits made at this point.

 

  • All vendors can accept a p-card for printing charges. Talk with your vendor about if they need you to pay up front or if they will invoice you after project completion. If you do not have a p-card and cannot access one within your unit, please let us know. Timely payment is strongly encouraged.