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Print advertising tips

2011 May 25

Busy this week, with a sudden request from my friend Wendi at 21 13 yesterday adding to other ongoing projects; haven’t even started my latest book cover assignment (fortunately I have the holiday weekend if all else fails).

But another friend sets an example of dedication, and I like to keep some sort of life around here most of the time. (Though I may occasionally deploy the the “summer hours” excuse starting next week.)

Right now, anyway, a few quick pointers on print advertising. If you think a print advertisement may be right for you, a designer can make your ad look great. I would love to help you out in this way. But, like most designers, I won’t be publishing your ad, so there are some details you need to establish with a representative of whatever business or organization will be publishing your ad.

Ideally, before you even contact me about an ad, it helps to know:

  • When is the ad due? (And for best results, get the rest of this information confirmed more than five or six hours before the deadline.)
  • What size is the ad? There is no “standard” ad (far from it, in fact), so specific dimensions in inches or millimeters are important.
  • Will the ad “bleed” off the page? This is a particularly important question if you’ve purchased a full-page ad. (You still need a specific size even if you’ve purchased a “full-page” ad, too.)
  • Is there a “live area” within the ad?
  • Is the ad color, or black and white?
  • What sort of file requirements does the publisher have? Usually, these days, a properly-prepared PDF works for most print advertisers. But it’s worth asking in case yours has any more-specific wishes.
  • How should final artwork be submitted to the publisher? Often, again, a PDF is adequate and can simply be e-mailed to a contact-person. But if files need to be uploaded via a web interface, e.g., you’ll need the details of this.

You can simplify a lot of this, it’s worth noting. Most publications will have some sort of rate card with the sizes and specifications of all the ads they sell, often available online; as long as you know which ad you’re purchasing, you can let the designer know and (in this case) he can probably download a rate card from the publisher’s web site and fill in the details from there. You can also feel free to put me in touch with your ad-sales contact, and I will gladly sort out details with him or her.

Follow these pointers—and choose Modern Alchemy to design your ad—and your print-advertising experience can be painless and even fun!

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