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Planning Tools
Thorough preparation can help your project go smoothly. Consider the following questions when determining your needs and expectations for your project:
  • What is my goal? To inform, educate, recruit, solicit funds, etc.?
  • Who is my intended audience?
  • What is the most effective format(s) for reaching my goal? Brochure, advertisement, website? What is my budget?
  • Who must approve this project?
  • What written content do I need for this project? Is it available or will it be written specifically for this project?
  • What visual content do I need for this project?
  • What services will I need to complete this project? Graphic design, printing, mailing, advertising? Do I have preferred style samples I can provide to my designer?
  • What is my target delivery date?
  • Will my materials be dated?  Will I be able to use them again for future communications efforts?


Content consists of both text and images. To help ensure timely completion of your project (and reduce design costs), submit content (text as well as images) that is as complete and organized as possible.
  • Text:  A Word file is the preferred method for providing text. Avoid elaborate formatting since your designer will apply new formatting that is complimentary to the design.
  • Images/Graphics:  Digital photographs should be a minimum of 300 dpi at the size the image will be used in the publication. Digital images may be submitted as high resolution jpeg or tiff files. Logos should be provided as Illustrator EPS files (not as jpegs). In most cases, the larger the file, the better the resolution.


Effective communications and complex projects take time to produce. Here are a few questions to consider when developing a project schedule:
  • Is my timeline realistic in terms of staffing?
  • Have I allowed enough time for discovery meetings, writing and refining drafts, gathering resources, etc.?
  • How much time do I need to allow for graphic design and internal proof review?
  • When do I need my marketing materials to deliver?
  • If mailing, what is my target in-home date?

General Scheduling Guidelines

After your upfront planning and project design is complete, you still need to allow time for printing, proofing and/or mailing (depending on your specific project). Your vendor can provide you with a schedule for your project, but the following can be used as a general guide for turnaround time:
  • Simple Printing Projects (postcards, posters, flyers, invitations (simple), forms, certificates – 2 days for printer’s Glossary Link proofs; 3 days to deliver upon proof approval
  • Standard Printing Projects (brochures, invitations (complex), small booklets or programs-less than 16 pages) – 2 days for printer’s proofs; 5 days to deliver upon proof approval
  • Large Printing Projects (booklets-more than 16 pages),  perfect-bound books, large run brochures or programs – 3 days for printer’s proofs; 7 days to deliver upon proof approval
  • Custom items (signs, banners, t-shirts, medals, etc.) – 2 days for printer’s proofs;  Glossary Link up to 2 to 3 weeks  to deliver upon proof approval
  • Lettershop/Mailing – 3 days for addressing sign-offs; 3-7 days to enter mail stream upon sign-off approval depending on complexity of services and quantity of mailing
  • In-Home Mail Delivery – 3 days for First Class Mail; up to 15 business days for Non-Profit mail (possibly longer during the winter holiday season)
  • Electronic publishing (conversion to E-Book PDF) – 1 week
  • Websites -- Websites schedules vary depending on the complexity and functionality of the website. At a minimum, allow two months for design and programming of a simple website with limited functionality. Major websites may take over a year to complete