|Career skills toolkit part 3 of 7: How to conceptualise a Research Uptake publication formula and how to brief a designer and editor|
|Wednesday, 12 March 2014 13:30|
Your Research Uptake Publication may take the form of an e-book, a brochure or pamphlet, a poster series or something else. It may be something you only use in digital, or print – or in both. This section covers how to nail down the look and feel of your concept, and how to communicate this to an editorial and design team.
Q: What value is there in a ‘formula’?
A: In the publishing world we often talk about a successful publication as ‘knowing what it is’. In other words, the publication’s purpose is clear and the content and appearance practically support the strategic purpose in a way that make it really easy for a reader to see, read and understand. This is also known as the publication ‘formula’ or recipe.
It’s important to consider your publication’s formula – i.e the way in which you present your text and visual package – before production begins. This is so that you have a fit-for-purpose concept in mind to streamline your brief to content contributors.
Q: How do we devise our Research Uptake Publication formula?
A: There is no single or correct way to do this. It depends very much on what you are producing (an e-book, a brochure or pamphlet, a poster series, a powerpoint presentation or something else) and why you are producing it i.e. what is the purpose of the publication and who do you want it to reach? It also depends on the budget available, and if you are producing your publication using internal or external resources.
These factors will all impact on your Research Uptake Publication formula (note: we use the term ‘formula’ in the context of ‘recipe’, rather than ‘cliché’!). If you need some help in devising your publication formula here are some suggestions you can draw on.
Q: How did DRUSSA work out the formula for PLATFORM2013
written up in the early stages of the project and compare the two, then you’ll see how the finished publication is a product of the brief.
It might be useful to you to work through the following stages when analyzing PLATFORM2013 with a view to learning how to create your own publication formula and brief. Taking a step-by-step approach will help you to see the links between a briefing formula that was planned and devised ahead of a publication, and how this influenced the final product.
Stage 1 – Creating a formula and/or editorial and design brief
Stage 2 – Creating a flat plan
Take a look at the example of the ’PLATFORM2013 Flat Plan’.
A flat plan is a publishing term for the planning sheet that shows how the articles in a publication are ordered, or laid out. It’s also referred to as a pagination or page plan.
· IFC – or Inside Front Cover
· IBC – or Inside Back Cover
· OBC – or Outside Back Cover
· As well as other relevant content relevant to the publication such as a list of all the DRUSSA Universities websites, introductory articles from the DRUSSA Programme leaders, an editor’s leter, copyright credits; and information to create awareness of DRUSSA’s social media sites, with a ‘call to action’ to encourage readers to go and take a look and ‘Join the Research Uptake Conversation’.
Stage 3 – Scaling and adapting this information for your own publication
Think about how you can adapt this information when devising a formula for your own Research Uptake Publication. In terms of scaling the flatplan for use in project of different sizes – you can make use of the flatplan for an e-book of any length – just add or delete pages as you need to. Similarly, for a brochure or pamphlet you can delete pages so that your flatplan is customized to the amount of pages you have. For a poster series you could adapt the flat plan to show a progression of poster themes over specified dates. The flatplan is there to help you and your team control what goes where and why, so adapt it to suit you. It’s a very useful tool to keep track of page numbering in a longer length publication.
Stage 4: Drafting your brief.
and the Flatplan/pagination template
to conceptualise and write up an editorial and design brief for your publication. They may be useful to you whether you work out your own publication formula and want to write it up as a brief, or whether you work with an editorial and design team to work out a publication formula.
Q: What happens after I’ve briefed the editorial and/or design team?
A: If you are working with an editorial and/or design team they will get to work after you’ve briefed them and typically present a few design ‘mock-ups’ or ‘dummy layouts’ i.e. early imitations of page layout design options for you to consider. These mock-ups will be based on your brief. A good designer works within a brief if that brief is on the mark, and will also push the boundaries of the brief if they feel the publication can benefit from this. Work with the designer to fine tune the visual representation of your publication, so as to create a strong and cohesive design identity, where form meets function.
Find the previous post in this series: ‘Career skills toolkit part 2 of 7: How to begin a ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign’
Find the next post in this series: ‘Career skills toolkit part 4 of 7: How to project manage a ‘Publishing for Research Uptake’ campaign.’