Key stages of print magazine production

The key stages of the print magazine production workflow

Discover the key stages involved in an efficient print production workflow for magazine publishers and content creators.

In the world of magazine publishing, a well-orchestrated print production workflow is vital for the success of the publication. Each stages plays a crucial role in creating engaging and visually appealing magazines.

Let's delve into the diverse tasks and considerations involved in each stage. Exploring the seamless integration of these elements, that results in a workflow that optimises efficiency and delivers outstanding results. These stages and their sequence may vary depending on the publisher's internal processes, client requirements, and the nature of the magazine, but the broad workflow is consistent across the majority of publishers.

Whether you are a publisher, content creator, editor, or designer the following article is your go-to resource for the stages of magazine print publishing.

Client briefing

The magazine begins life with the the client or, in some instances, the internal stakeholder. To kick-start the process they provide the publisher with a detailed brief. This will encompass the theme, target audience, and specific requirements for the publication. It may include prior issues or examples of other magazine titles that the client wishes to emulate.

The frequency of the issues—weekly, monthly, or annually—will also be determined during this stage.

Content planning

The publishing team - editors, designers, and production managers - set out to plan the magazine structure. They will run through any article topics and consider the visual elements that make up the publication such as the cover design, or corporate styling. Commercial components like advertisements, advertorials, and sponsorship content are also taken into account.

A flat plan of the publication is compiled and should be readily available to the entire production team. This will also need to be adaptable to meet the ever-changing needs of production. Articles may need to be pushed back to future issues or additional advertising space could be required.

Say hello to perfectly streamlined print production, arrange a free trial of GoPublish.

Pantone swatch

Content creation and design

Writers and contributors compile the articles, interviews, features, and other content. Many modern publishers will use Adobe InCopy to compile this copy and pass among the editorial team. This material will be edited and proofread for accuracy, style, and grammar before being handed over to the design team.

Read our guide to Adobe InCopy.

Designers take this content and begin crafting the magazine's visual design. They choose appropriate fonts, colours, and layouts to create a cohesive design that fits the client's brief.

If the magazine requires specific photography or illustrations, they are either sourced or created.

The software of choice for publication designers is Adobe InDesign due to its link with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator and InCopy, which allows them to incorporate artwork and articles from these applications more smoothly.

Read our guide to Adobe InDesign.

Proofreading and approval

Internal editors and proofreaders go through the compiled document proof to identify any errors, inconsistencies, or formatting issues. This production phase often involves several iterations between these teams until the work receives an internal approval.

The publication is then shared with the client for their review and feedback. The client may request revisions or provide additional input, supplementing the suggestions made by the internal teams. This stage emphasises the effective communication and collaboration that is required between the publisher and the client.

Magazine production

Print preparation and production

Once the client grants final approval for the proof, the publisher proceeds to prepare the files for printing. This entails ensuring the use of correct colour profiles, resolution, and file formats. Typically, files are converted into print-ready PDFs and may undergo preflight checks to identify potential printing issues.

The print-ready files are dispatched to a professional printing facility or an in-house printing department for production. The chosen printing method, such as offset or digital printing, is employed to replicate the magazine.

Distribution, feedback and evaluation

The printed magazines are packaged and prepared for distribution. This process may involve coordinating with shipping companies, distributors, or mailing services to ensure the magazines reach their intended audience.

Once distributed, the publisher gathers feedback from readers and the client to assess the publication's success. This feedback aids in improving future issues and fostering long-term client relationships.

Archive and digital distribution

The magazine content may be archived for future reference and digital distribution. Digital copies of the magazine can be made available through websites, apps, or digital publishing platforms.

GoPublish, magazine production workflow software

If you're looking to streamline your current magazine production workflow and bring together the many teams required to produce a quality magazine, GoPublish is the answer. Sitting within the Adobe InDesign and Adobe InCopy side panels, it brings these two software apps together, uniting your editorial and design teams.

Your clients and production team can collaborate seamlessly with the in-build proofing functionality. Never miss an amendment or typo again!

With the GoPublish digital flat plan, magazine production is able to adapt in real time to the many needs and considerations of your commercial team, client or editorial team.

Having managed the production workflow of a wide range of magazine, periodical and journal publishes since 2010, GoPublish is the go-to magazine production workflow software solution.

Say hello to perfectly streamlined print production, arrange a free trial of GoPublish.

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