Quick guide to print strategy

The information in this section and the print tools provided on this website (Click here for more information) will help you plan, develop and publish a large-scale print project, such as a newspaper or book, or a one-off or smaller-scale project such as a poster, factsheet or brochure.

The more carefully you plan your printed publications, the easier the process will be. The questions below can be used as a starting point. The rest of this chapter provides in-depth information about planning, production and evaluation for all kinds of print projects, alongside useful case studies that illustrate how publications can be sustainable and successful.

This section will help you think, before you start, about how you want your final print production to look, its style, scale and the number of copies to print. This may sound obvious, but projects can have a way of expanding drastically as enthusiasm grows.

What skills do you need to develop?

The most important things that you'll need to start your print production are ideas, a strategy and teamwork. Print production, especially for periodicals like newsletters and magazines, can be a wonderful team-building experience, but careful and patient coordination is required to make it a sustainable one. At the outset, make an inventory of the skills you'll need to produce your publication.

Human resources and skills:

  •  Coordination and planning
  •  Layout and design
  •  (Grassroots) marketing & networking
  • Budgeting (Read more)

Extra skills - for larger print jobs:

  •  Writing
  • Editing (Read more)
  • Image sourcing, creation &/or manipulation (Read more)
  •  Desktop publishing / word processing

For more about finding and managing human resources, building teams and maintaining energy and focus, see our strategy for making media section.

What resources will you need?

For simple (but effective) smaller projects

It is a myth that to produce something printed you need a high-end computer. Newsletters, brochures,fact-sheets, posters, stickers and t-shirts, for example, can all be produced without computers. A good idea is the main essential for a high-impact campaign. A series of fact-sheets can be produced with only a typewriter (or even clear handwriting) and access to a photocopier.

For publications sustained over the longer term

It is difficult to sustain ongoing complex print publishing without some computer resources. Basic equipment that you can use to get started:

  •  Computer – to run the software listed in this section, you will need access to a personal computer with at least a 486DX 66 megahertz (MHz) processor and 128 megabytes (MB) of memory.
  •  Software – See the print tools section for further information (Read more).
  •  Printer – laser printers can be a very cost-effective way to do simple print projects. Printers are also useful at the editing and drafting stages of larger projects. See Printing & Distribution in this section to help you decide if you will be using a laser printer to produce your finished work (Read more).
  • Digital camera or scanner – a digital camera will create ready-to-use digital photos that you can download onto a computer. A scanner will allow you to digitise a printed image. See the our create and use images section (Read more).
  • Memory stick – if you do not have your own computer, or if you will be using more than one computer, a USB memory stick is useful for moving files between computers.

How will you distribute your publication?

Early on, estimate the size of your publication, and the number of copies that you can effectively distribute. Think about how to get them to your audience. There are already too many dead trees sitting around boxed up in corridors, or being pulped!