COMM 362: Design for Print
Instructor: Ross Collins

Magazine production exercise

(NOTE: this advanced assignment is worth 100 points, so do your best....)

In this advanced ("capstone") exercise, you'll learn:
a. How to create a standard magazine.
b. How to set up bleeds, page numbers and PDF files.
c. How to choose and print spot colors.
d. How to work with a design team.

Magazine theme
You may choose to produce the "university" magazine as described below, or you may produce a magazine for another on-campus club, organization, church, workplace, or local group. Should you choose your own theme, however, your magazine must contain at least those elements described below, or their equivalents. This means you'll need to obtain photos and scan them, and obtain articles and keyboard them if not already in digital form. Grading will be a bit more liberal for those who choose to collect material from scratch, although I still expect a quality product!

Not acceptable: you CAN'T complete this assignment by producing a rehash of a national or local magazine already published, or based on a national organization's web site and printed material.

University magazine option
As director of public relations for East Shoe State U., you've been asked to produce a new quarterly magazine. You've set up an editorial board, and after several long discussions have settled on this version of the 4Fs, as described below.

Function: This magazine is designed primarily for the university's underclassmen, but also could be mailed to some high school seniors. Administrators hope it will serve as a way to encourage students to join and stay at East Shoe State U., by informally featuring issues students don't normally find out about. Sort of an "insider's guide" to the university, it is hoped the magazine will put a friendly, approachable face on what many young people feel is a distant, impersonal campus. The name of the publication for your nameplate: "Inside SU."

Formula: Your senior writer has worked with you to come up with story ideas. You won't be stuffy--no inevitable "President's corner," "Academic calendar," etc. Features will be light and readable, nothing preachy, but might sneak in a wee bit of learning. Topics are eclectic: whatever you think sounds like "insider info" to the younger student.

Format: You've decided on the basic format (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches vertical), photo on the cover. You can't afford full color (process color for color photos) throughout the magazine at this point, so any color photos you insert inside will end up printed in black and white. But you can afford ONE spot color, full-color for the cover, and bleeds. You'll want to use 'em.

Frame (margins): You still need to decide this, part of your duties as facilitator of your graphic design team. Also you need to decide grid, type, leading, headlines, etc. Quite a responsibility. Well, Diet Coke break's over, time to get started. Using the standard graphic artist's approach to a new project, you proceed thusly:

1. Quit all open game programs and chat rooms. (Just kidding. Maybe.)

2. Get together with the rest of your design team, as assigned by the instructor.

3. Each team member: On your own outside of class, cast about in your swipe file, the library, or your publications piling up in your room for ideas. Look at grids, look at covers, look at type, look at illustrations. Find something you think fits the audience, and take notes. You might not be able to afford a splashy full-color mag at this point, but you certainly can borrow ideas! You might even take possibilities to class to discuss with the rest of your team. In fact, at this point, it is strongly recommended that you base this mag on borrowed design ideas you're team agrees could be adapted to this audience. Reinvent your wheel when you're a professional and experienced graphic artist.

3. At home and away from the computer, draw up some thumbnails. Lots of designers begin with scratch paper and pencils--why not try it yourself? Just make simple sketches to overcome artist's block, get revved up for the computer. (Note: you don't have to actually hand these in for grading; it's just something to bring back to the team.)

4. Fire up InDesign, and do a few roughs. Experiment with column sizes, margin size (progressive or regular? How many picas?) See how your thumbnails match up to a full-sized practice design. Use lorem ipsum type or actual stories; try out headline typefaces. Use a few of your photos (class partition file or class web site) and print out to see what it might look like. Note: for a magazine, facing pages should be toggled ON so you can see how the spreads look.

5. Think about an appropriate spot color, where you want it, and how it will affect the "mood" of your publication. When choosing a color, keep in mind our discussion about color models: the additive (RGB) model begins with black (absence of color in projected applications) and adds Red, Green or Blue to make all colors. It's used for web sites, televisions, computer monitors, slide shows, etc. The subtractive (CMYK) model begins with all colors (a white page) and subtracts using inks to "filter" colors from the white and make all colors. Inks used are cyan (Green-Blue), magenta (red-blue), yellow (red-green) and "K," black, to give more snap to the printed image.

Choosing a color
a. If you're designing for the web, use the RGB model. Bring up the Color palette from the Window pull-down menu. In the flyout menu to the right, choose RGB (Lab mode is used mostly for photo CD editing, beyond the scope of this course, or the instructor, for that matter).

b. Select the object you want colored. Remember the two little boxes in the color palette (and bottom of toolbox); the one on top left fills objects and text with color. The one at the bottom right applies color to a stroke (rule or line). See Exercise Four, gradients, for review. Choose either to highlight.

c. In the color picker box at bottom, select a nice color.

d. If you want to remember that color, from the Swatches palette (choose from Windows), choose New Color from the right flyout menu, and add the color.

This is easy for net design, but for printed design it's best of choose colors using precise spot color numbers.

a. To do that, choose Swatch Libraries from the Windows menu, and Pantone Coated (or uncoated, depending on your stock). Pantone is the country's largest company offering spot color mixing systems, and most printers rely on PMS (Pantone Matching System) numbers provided by the graphic artist. Be sure to write down the PMS number you've chosen: I'll expect you to indicate your spot colors by PMS number on your comp!

b. Scroll through the menu until you find a color that suits your needs. Choose, and from the flyout menu, choose Add to Swatches.

c. Bring up your Swatches palette. Choose that color for the element you've highlighted. Note: you can't apply the color from the Swatch Library! You must first add it to your Swatch palette, then choose it.

6. Settle on at least three versions of your magazine to use as comps (comprehensives) as if you needed to show them to a client. These comps should be two pages each, and the cover, and be substantially different from each other, to offer a clear choice. They'll need to be handed in with your final magazine exercise, or before. I recommend that each team member do one comp on their own, for experience and variety of choice.

7. With your design team choose the final design, and write a little style guide (one or two pages) for the publication. Here's what you need in your style guide:

a. Grid size (1, wide 1, 1+1, 2, 2+1, 3, etc.); rationale for choosing this grid. Number of picas between columns.

b. Typeface chosen for headlines; rationale for choosing this type face. ("Because it looks nice" isn't good enough. Look back to your book and notes for ideas.)

c. Typeface chosen for body text; rationale for choosing this type face. Note: you CANNOT choose Times or Times Roman. Sheesh, let's be a li'l creative, here....

d. Body text size, leading.

e. Margins: progressive or regular, size.

f. Cover nameplate: style, size, borders, reverses, screens, angles, etc.

g. Standard spacing: number of picas/points between headlines and beginning of stories, between end of story and beginning of another story, between photos and cutlines, etc.

h. Typeface for pull-out quotes, if you use them. You'll be using them, I confidently predict....

i. Typeface for folio. Note: need to have running folio on each page except the cover, saying, something such as "SU Inside, Issue 1, April 2002." Look at other magazines for ideas.

Page numbering
You could manually type and style page numbers into each folio, but it's such a pain. Worse, if you add or delete pages, you have to change all the numbers. Why not let your ever-obedient slave InDesign do it for you?

a. Go to Pages palette, double-click on A Master (or another master you set up; see Exercise Three) to bring that master to the fore. Go to left or right side of facing master page.

b. Make a small text frame in the area you want the folio to appear, usually upper corner or center. (Note: don't put the folio outside the margin lines, unless you're bleeding it off the page, likely not the case in this instance.)

c. Add the text as you wish it to appear on folio. Put the cursor where you want the page number to appear.

d. From the pull-down menu choose Layout, and Insert Page Number. Drag over the folio to style it as you choose.

e. Do the same thing for the other side of the master page.

f. Go back to page one. Note folio has obediently appeared, and will automatically be renumbered should you add or subtract pages.

j. Any other standard elements from your design, including size of rules, use of screens, use of story-end characters such as bullets, use of decks, use of subheads, etc. To get ideas, look at other magazine designs.

k. Spot color: PMS numbers, where used.

NOTE: Hand in this style guide with your project.

8. Time to begin setting up that first issue. If you choose to design the mock university magazine, you'll find a variety of stories saved as text-only files, and photos mostly saved as TIFF files, in the class server folder. (Admittedly you'll have to use your imagination to write cutlines connecting some of these to a university-themed publication.) Drag all stories and art to copy into a separate folder on the hard drive, and also copied into your Zip disk. In addition you can use clip art, but ONLY EPS files (not GIFs or JPEGs from the net, PLEASE--you can't steal other people's copyrighted images in the real world, and they look hokey printed anyway), or other art that will print as a high-quality image (no pixillated images, that is). Better alternative: use your own photos! Scan images using the IACC or Reineke scanners, if you'd like. Adjust all images (including those supplied, if you use them) in Photoshop: dark/light/contrast (Levels), crop, burn, dodge, adjust color (Variations), dustspot. Choose quality images; I will deduct points for out-of-focus, poorly-exposed or poorly-cropped photos, or photos clearly not cleaned up in Photoshop, but imported "raw."

9. You may use the headlines as indicated on the stories, or write your own. You may edit, but do it carefully! Remember to clean up "rabbit-ear" quotes, double hyphens for dashes, single hyphens for en-dashes, bullets changed to asterisks, etc. (Check lecture synopses for review of this.) One way to clean up problems is to bring the copy into MS Word, us the Replace command to find and change problems, save as MS Word File, and THEN Place into InDesign. However, InDesign also offers a Find/Replace option under Edit menu.

You may jump stories (move parts of them to other pages), but you'll have to set up jump pages (jump lines say something like "go to page..." and jump heads say "from page...").

Probably you ought to put teaser headlines on the cover to bring people into the magazine. Most definitely you'll need cutlines for the photos, and need to use several photos. Probably you'll want to try screened boxes, gradients, perhaps cutting out backgrounds in Photoshop, or other interesting things we've tried this semester.

10. Design at least four to six pages, plus front and back cover, no advertisements. Don't put more than one story on your lead page--make it a showpiece, even if you have to jump. Think about the ATSI (Art, Title, Subhead, Initial cap) checklist to get started. Use a bleed on at least one inside page, either a spot color or photos. (Reminder: a "bleed" is art or color going off the trim line, or edge of page.)

11. Likely you'll want to bleed the cover photo, and overprint the nameplate and other material. To indicate a bleed: drag the photo or other element until it lays about 2 picas beyond the edges of the page (trim lines). Our laser printer can't do bleeds, so the photo will be cut off, but that's okay as these are FPO (For Placement Only) photos anyway. The printer would get the bleeds right.

12. Run a preflight. Refer to Exercise Six for instructions.

12. Print out two mechanicals of your magazine. This first example should include all colors and elements on one page, for reference (actually this is more of a comp than a mechanical, but we're getting a wee technical here). The second should include colors as overlays, that is, separate pages for each color. This, as you know, is what a printer would need to run each spot color onto a separate plate. Instructions:

a. Choose Print, and Color from the Advanced menu to bring up the color dialogue box. Toggle on Separations. You see you have some option on printing colors. Under Inks, The CMYK process colors would be needed to print color photos. The spot color would be needed to print your spot color, unless you toggle the "All to Process" button, which converts the PMS color to process. Usually you don't want to do this. You can choose Print All Inks, or Print No Inks, and then choose just the spot color and toggle on Print This Ink.

b. If you choose Print No Inks, then choose the PMS color and black process color only, you'll just get separations for the spot colors, and black (black is not considered a spot color). Some graphic artists do this, and let the printer take care of the complex work of preparing color photos. With the process inks turned off, the color photos won't print, but the printer will add them later. Try this method to save paper--otherwise you'll get five separate pages for each magazine page, kind of a waste for our class project.

If you want to get a feeling for what the colors look like, you can print to a color laser printer in the cluster. Ask the cluster manager how to do that nowadays (it seems to change each year I teach the class).

13. Now print one more time, but this time, make it a PDF file.

Generating a PDF
PDF (Portable Document Format) is an Adobe invention based on PostScript language that offers a complete "snapshot" of your document. Printers can use PDF files or, even more handy, they can be added to web pages for download. Adobe Acrobat Reader is necessary to read these files, but it's a free download, or bundled with web browsers. However, used to be you'd have to buy Adobe Acrobat Distiller to make PDFs. Now InDesign makes it super-easy. Okay, okay, so maybe InDesign IS better than my old friend PageMaker....

a. Choose Export from the File menu.

b. Under Name, choose a name, and add a PDF file extension (Such as: myfile.pdf). You don't have to add the extension, but it's good to tell the world of various platforms and browsers that this is indeed a PDF file.

c. Save to your own folder.

d. In the options dialogue box, leave all defaults, unless you really want to change something for a good reason. Choose Export.

e. From the Finder (Macintosh platform), double click on your new PDF file to make sure it opens. Adobe Acrobat should open automatically. If it doesn't, probably your computer somehow lost the program. Download it again from Adobe or, if you're working in a cluster, forget it and move to another machine. Cripes, it's not up to you to keep all these clusters in working condition. Okay, so you could report malfunctions to the ever-doughty Help Desk Folk.

13. Assign a team member to analyze your design using the CRUD PROB formula, or based on the text, and write out comments--at least two or three sentences for each. Be specific; no "we chose it because it's pretty" stuff. You may want to make changes to your design after this analysis. Take care with details!

14. Choose paper, binding and possible embossing or die cuts (based on class discussion), and explain why you made (or avoided) each choice. Choices might include newsprint, rag content, coated stock, uncoated stock, perfect binding, saddle stitch, mechanical binding, etc. If you can, include a sample of the kind of paper/binding you choose.

15. Based on this assignment, formulate one question that could become part of the final exam. I'll answer all questions submitted, and add the best ones to the final.

16. Checklist: Hand in for grading:
a. printed out composite mechanical and spot color overlay (two versions of mechanical).
b. PDF file: Send this to me ( as an e-mail attachment.
b. CRUD PROB analysis.
c. Style sheet. Must be at least a page.
d. At least three comps.
e. Paper/binding choice analysis and actual samples of stock.
f. One question based on exercise.