outsourcing magazine production

Outsourcing magazine production to another continent

Dean Cook

by Dean Cook, June 8, 2017
Category: Blog,   Tags: Asia, back room magazine production, back room production, bangladesh, cheap magazine design, cheap magazine layout services, cheap magazine production, Continent, Europe, freelance magazine design, Freelance Magazine Designer, india, low magazine page layout rates, Magazine Design, magazine design from, magazine design outsource, magazine design outsourcing, magazine design service, Magazine Designer, magazine desing, magazine production outsource, magazine production outsourcing, magazine production quality, magazine production services, magazines design services, outsource magazine design services, outsource magazine production, outsource magazine production layout, outsourcing magazine design, outsourcing magazine production, outsourcing magazine production services, quality magazine production, UK, USA,

Could outsourcing magazine production to another continent save you money? Dean Cook has an insightful awareness that production services outside the country you are based could attract lower page rates, but, does the price reflect the quality and timely service you and your publication would naturally deserve? Here, he takes a closer look at service levels of outsourcing magazine production abroad.

With an aim to save money, some independent publishers seek to outsource magazine design services to back-room production companies in another continent. Who wouldn’t consider an opportunity to save money but could it be a false economy?

While typically saving a few pounds/dollars/euros on each page may seem attractive, looking at the wider picture, it can often uncover unfavourable inefficiencies. These often include:

  • a low-level attention to layout and typography;
  • poor file management;
  • a non-fulfilment to properly check every single image and advert before placement;
  • an increase in the level of unnecessary communication and stress;
  • competence to deal with requests effectively;
  • extended response times;
  • operating in different time-zones;
  • a lesser degree to prioritisation;
  • longer lead times as production time is shared among other titles;
  • a lower standard of diligence to correct amendments;
  • you may not have direct contact with the production artist;
  • and a high risk of non-compliant artwork supplied for commercial printing.

Feedback we hearing from our prepress contacts is that they often receive non-compliant PDF files from inept magazine designers, thus initiating hard-pressed prepress teams to deal with increased workloads to correct typical problems which could lead to unexpected delays and cost. Should prepress contact the magazine designer to correct known issues (if different time-zones or even time allows); or, because the publication is on print deadline, attempt to deal with technical problems? Any page rate savings made at the beginning are likely to have dissipated by the end.

More often than not, the publisher would usually be unaware of the importance of artwork meeting compliant standards for commercial printing. Let’s be realistic. Why would they? It’s not their remit; instead, simply rely on the trust that the provider, representing the visual element of the publisher to its readers, can meet commercial print standards.

This industry is not regulated, and there is no professional recognised accreditation to clarify the production artists’ abilities. You only have the word of the production artist’s/provider’s experience.

According to our communication with several prepress managers, 80% of production artists are not able to supply files to required standards. A problem is that a large proportion of magazine designers have never set foot in a printing company or gained essential technical experience in prepress. Subsequently, they could create an abundance of errors which could easily filter through to print.

While on the one hand a short-term direct page rate savings could be had; on the other, a serious amount of time and money can be wasted to correct sub-standard work after files have been uploaded to prepress. This can repeat itself every time another issue goes to print.

We prefer to lead by example; to focus our energies with efficient scheduling, attention to element quality and being able to keep pricing at competitive levels for the service and experience we offer. Besides:

  • we pay close attention to layout and typography;
  • fully manage and track files;
  • we check every single image and advert before placement and respond with a solution to correct if we anything isn’t right;
  • provide a quality level of information and communication;
  • we deal with requests effectively;
  • respond within realistic time frames;
  • ensuring time-zones work to an advantage;
  • being able to prioritise;
  • work to dedicated production schedules for all clients;
  • work with a robust system when correcting amendments;
  • you have direct personal contact with our experienced production artists;
  • and able to send technically error-free artwork for commercial printing, therefore, requiring no intervention from prepress as we technically deal with issues as we construct pages.

Our aim is to upload print compliant pages to any printer’s prepress system in the world, technically approve and queue the publication for plating within just a few hours of client sign-off. If you are experiencing anything different, then give us a call.

So, if you think you have found the best price for the best service then give us a call. If you already have a price, then let’s see if we can match it — who knows, we may just be able to beat it!

To know more, drop us a line via our contact page.

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