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The real publishing production workflow.

An art director posted to our local publishing email list, DC Pubs, a question about workflow production. Here's one version of reality.

It started as a simple question from an art director/designer.

Question: How does your workflow ‘flow’" was the subject line and she asked “how are things working in your group?” My colleague offered her publishing team’s process and wondered if others had any suggestions to improve it.

Here's my colleague's workflow:

  1. Write
  2. Design
  3. Edit
  4. Correct the layout
  5. Proof
  6. Correct the layout
  7. Final proof
  8. Publish (be it print or web)

I've never seen a workflow that perfect!

I have never experienced such a utopic workflow in 30+ years of publishing: my colleague's version was missing a few steps — actually, quite a few steps.

Here's my “normal” publishing workflow:

  1. Write.
  2. Edit.
  3. Design.
  4. Layout.
  5. Copyfit.
  6. Proof.
  7. Correct the layout.
  8. Proof again.
  9. Correct the layout.
  10. And proof again.
  11. Correct.
  12. Final proof.
  13. Correct.
  14. No, this is really the final proof.
  15. Correct.
  16. Seriously. Last proof.
  17. Correct.
  18. OK, it’s not our fault…it’s the author’s changes.
  19. Correct.
  20. Please, just one more teeny tiny change?
  21. Correct.
  22. And since you have the files open, can this be fixed, too?
  23. Correct.
  24. Here’s a double-latte and espresso brownie. And another proof.
  25. Correct.
  26. How was the brownie? Doesn’t the pair kerning between the e and o in the 4th word in the 23rd paragraph on page 1,024 look a bit off?
  27. Correct.
  28. If you stay late, we’ll order pizza and finish the proofs.
  29. Correct.
  30. What’s this “*&^%$#@ editors” that’s on the title page…I don’t think that was in our last proof.
  31. Correct.
  32. Is this a smudge? Looks like 6 point type that spells "e-d-i-t-o-r-s-m-u-s-t-d-i-e"
  33. Correct.
  34. Look. We’ll gladly cut the copy. You don’t have to get out your Exacto knife.
  35. Correct.
  36. <Gag> You’re getting blood on the proof! <Cough.>  <Sputter.>
  37. <Silence.>
  38. Preflight files.
  39. Package native files and press-quality PDF for print shop.
  40. Export web-quality PDF and extract HTML/XML version for web and media devices.

OK. I might be a bit biased in this assessment. But what did you expect?

I'm a former magazine art director! <g>

Bevi Chagnon www.pubcom.com, November 10, 2008


These are my thought about the production workflow.

Any from you? Leave a comment on our Facebook page. www.facebook.com/pages/Takoma-Park-MD/PubCom/139231069223



Contents, this article

So. How does YOUR workflow "flow?"

Use our Facebook webpage to leave your comment.

— Bevi


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