Recently I was offered the opportunity to delve back into the world of Graphic Design and Pre-Press design by my friend Sean Sennett working with EMI Music Australia on a street press style magazine all about their artists called the EMI Music All Australian Selection. Sean and I worked together back at TimeOff magazine in Brisbane in 2006 for a couple of years.
I hadn’t had an opportunity to do any medium to large scale print work since then and I was equal parts nervous and excited to get back into it. It was great fun to get back into InDesign and get my master pages set up, sketch out my layout template in pencil and paper and start looking at how to make this magazine look the business.
The job was going to have be a quick turn around job, the magazine was a last minute idea and the production of it was going to have to be done over 2 days, which suited me pretty well as that was the same time frame I used to have working for Timeoff, and this magazine was only going to be 24 pages, so I felt it was going to be a pretty smooth ride.
Of course, this is where I was grossly mistaken… as with all fond memories I had blocked out the parts of pre-press and magazine production that make it a stressful, annoying job.
The trick to a pre-press magazine layout is that it’s fluid, but that it’s mostly dependent on ad space, the more ads you get, the more editorial content you can have. Seems pretty straightforward, except that you must always increase or decrease your page count in multiples of 4. So if you’ve received an extra 3 pages of content, then it’s up to the producer and senior editor to come up with a way to make the magazine stretch to the 4 pages needed, and that is pretty much 75% of the job.
The first 25% is the fun part, picking fonts, deciding upon image sizes, prepping artwork for CMYK printing and getting it all up to a shiny 300dpi quality, that step took a couple of hours tops, the next day and half was all about getting it all to fit into the 24 pages we had in a nice way, and still have it legible and look good.
In the end I really enjoyed getting back into the pre-press world for a little while, as with every client I would have loved to have had more time to finesse the design and do more creative things with the layout, but the brief was to keep it simple and make it loks liek a street press magazine, and I think we managed to do that.
Also would have been great to have been able to design the front cover… maybe next time. Special thanks need to go to Sean Sennett of TimeOff Media & Darryl Bailey of EMI Music Australia for the opportunity to work on the EMI All Australian Selection magazine. You can check out EMI list of All Australian artists and listen to their Spotify playlist here