Sometimes a client requests a printed marketing piece in a “less than average” time frame. Sometimes we can do it and sometimes we can’t. What factors help us make that determination?
Due date: When do you need it in your hands? That triggers a process used by most creative firms to allow each individual on the “production tree” ample time to produce a satisfying end product. In the agency business, this is what’s involved:
Printer (Rush: 3-4 days at a minimum, dependent upon size and quantity): Select your printer. Ask them how much time they need from time of receipt of the file to final printing and delivery. Confirm the proper dimensions, paper available and any additional needs (folding, perforation, etc.). For rush jobs, they may have to readjust their schedule by pushing other work back to accommodate your timeline and that could result in extra fees.
Copywriting/Editing (Rush: 1-4 days): The writer needs information from the client for content or direction on how it should be written or what needs to be included. After the content is written, it’s submitted to the client for review and reworked, as needed. Upon approval, the designer receives the copy to flow into the layout.
Design (Rush: 3-5 days at a minimum): Is the necessary information ready and provided to the designer: approved copy, photography to be used, desired dimensions and logo or branding information. If in a rush, a designer who has the dimensions and general information can create a basic layout with “dummy” text and photos as fillers for when the real stuff comes in. Designing “on the fly” is challenging and not usually a good idea as the amount of creativity and number of revisions allowed may be sacrificed in the rush to complete the job within the timeframe desired.
Photography (Rush: 1-2 days): Will it be purchased or provided? Either way, after receiving photos, the designer needs to make them the appropriate resolution and format them or locate them to purchase.
Design Approval (Rush: 2 days at a minimum): Once all of the needed photography is purchased/adjusted, placed into the document, and the design is finished, it is proofed internally and changes made. From there, it’s sent to the client for approval. After revisions and approval from the client, the press ready files can be sent to the printer.
Making our clients happy is always the number one priority, but there are limits to what any design shop can churn out on short notice, and the above projections assume the creative team has time to fit the project into its existing job flow.
As you can see, a rush project takes a minimum of 1 – 2 weeks to produce from start to finish. So if you are planning a marketing piece, ideally allow for at least twice that timeframe to do it right!