Publications - what we do
The Communications and Public Affairs division can help with enquiries about all forms of professionally printed materials, including:
- Editorial consultancy to help you find the right tone of voice for your target audience
- Finding a designer
- Finding a printer
- Writing a clear and comprehensive print specification
- Explaining a printer's estimate to avoid extra costs that may accrue during production
- Helping you choose the right paper
- Advising on desktop publishing software, fonts, and the compatibility of different applications used in the print industry
- Customising official College campus maps for a specific purpose
Contact us at Style Guide for guidance or see some helpful tips below.
You can see examples of what we produce on our Publications page
Print publication guidance
First steps if you are thinking of producing a publication or other form of communication
Please take a while to consider some basic points before you get going. Ask yourself the following questions before you write anything:
- Who is the audience?
- What is the message (what do you want to tell the audience)?
- What is its aim (what do you want the reader to do)?
- Does your communication need to be printed or should you consider a digital medium (e.g. an email that includes graphics, a webpage, an embedded video or podcast)? Contact us for advice.
Please pay particular attention to the aim, as this not the same thing as the message. For instance, the message of our Undergraduate Prospectus is that Imperial is a first class place to study, however its aim is to get people to make an application. You need to be clear about the aim in order to get your message across.
Generally speaking, a publication with more than one message or aim will be less successful than one which is more clearly focused, so it is worth spending a little time considering this before you start.
Other materials for print
If you are going to print something, you will also need to supply images to support your Imperial-specific text – you may find the College Asset Library useful for this. A designer should also be able to provide generic science or other images to help with illustration. Avoid clip art as this does not look professional.
A designer or printer will need original, high resolution photographs. Do not insert them into a Word document before sending, as this renders them useless for print. As a rule of thumb, an image needs to be at least 2MB for print. If in doubt, ask us for advice or see our photo guidelines.
You can also use diagrams or charts to illustrate your text, although these will need to be re-drawn by the designer so that they look high quality. They will charge extra for this and it will take time, so make sure that you let them know what will be involved at the outset.
You will need to have sufficient funding available to pay for design and print - Communications and Public Affairs Division does not have any funds to support College publications, other than those already in our strategic plan.
Suppliers will be happy to give you a quote but can only do so upon sight of finished text and images, as there are many variables affecting cost:
Print costs depend on a large number of things, such as the length of the text, number of printed pages and folds, type of paper, number of copies printed, binding type, delivery requirements, the required quality of the piece and its required longevity.
It is very hard to provide guidance on costs without this information but ‘ballpark’ minimum costs that may be helpful are as follows:
- Four-page A5 leaflet, litho printed in full colour 500 copies £375; 1,000 copies £385; 1,500 copies £395; 2,000 copies £400
- Four-page A4 leaflet, litho printed in full colour 500 copies £470; 1,000 copies £500
- 8-page A5 leaflet, litho printed in full colour 1,500 copies £550.
- 20-page A4 booklet, litho printed in full colour 500 copies £1,200; 1,000 copies £1,400
Items with a print run of fewer than 500 copies are best printed digitally and prices are available on application from Service Point's digital print facility on the Sherfield Building walkway at South Kensington. Contact Service Point
Design costs are not included in print costs. Rates for design start at about £30 per hour. Most designers will quote per job, as well as by the hour, to give you a clearer idea of what you are likely to pay. The designer should outline exactly what is covered by the estimated cost. If you need extra revisions or illustrations not covered by the estimate, you should expect the cost to rise.
We can put you in touch with freelance designers, whom we have used successfully, and who understand the College’s graphic identity guidelines and academic requirements. Contact the Style Guide team.
Please also see our guidelines on producing college publicity.
High quality publications and event materials take time to produce, so make sure that you start planning well in advance.
Some minimum guidelines for lead-times (from start of design to delivery with signed off and finalised text and images that do not require further rewriting or image searching) for different types of publication are:
- Four-page A5 leaflet - Three weeks
- sixteen-page booklet - Six weeks
- Major College collateral, e.g. Annual Report or Graduation Programme - ten weeks