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Commissioning work

Quick guide

Firstly, please ensure the following:

  • Your College or Professional Service has allocated a budget for the project and you have the authority to proceed
  • You have obtained the appropriate Cost Code.

Next, submit your design brief through online job tracking system, including any links and attachments. If this is your first time using our system then please contact us at and we will be able to grant you access.
We will then provide you with an estimate for the design time and printing/production costs. (We will keep you updated with any changes to the estimate as the project progresses e.g. size, photography requirements, print quantities, design time increases etc).
Once you have approved the estimate, your project will be allocated to one of our designers.
Before the artwork is sent to the printer, the designer will provide you with PDF proofs for approval. Please check and make any amendments/comments (Read our information on proof reading in the tab below for more details). 

You can track the progress of your job at anytime by accessing the job tracking system.

Once you are satisfied with the final proof you will be asked to give final sign off through email which gives your approval to send to print.
Our designer will continue to liaise with our suppliers/printers to ensure your delivery deadlines are kept.
Our supplier will invoice us and our finance officer will debit your account via internal journal transfer. Please see our Charges page for more information on cost.

How to supply text

Clean text

Your initial text should be as accurate as possible in terms of facts and presentation. Heavy text correction at proof stage will slow down the process and, if it entails more design hours than originally allowed for, will mean that extra costs are incurred.

If you need to make substantial corrections after you have passed the file to Carole FitzGerald but before you have been sent a first proof, resend the appropriate paragraphs and make it clear what they are replacing. If you notice minor corrections that will not substantially affect the design or the length of the document please deal with these at proof correction stage.


Please follow the University style guide.


Please present your text as simply as possible, following the guidelines below. Design elements are best given by written instruction in the text rather than attempting to format the document in MS Word.

  • Unless you are working on a very long document, present the copy in one file in the order that you wish to see it in.
  • Set the text ranged left.
  • Use single line spacing.
  • Indicate the paragraphs as follows: set the format for paragraphs to have a line spacing of 0 pt before and after, and return twice at the end of the paragraph. This allows the designers to see separate paragraphs – if you only return once and that return happens to be at the end of a line it can be difficult to spot. Action: turn on the invisibles (¶ on the tool bar) and check.
  • Generally use one font size throughout – if you want a sentence or paragraph increased in size it is best to give a separate instruction.
  • Heading hierarchy: make sure that this is clear to the designer. This can normally be done with caps, bold and italic but in longer or more complicated documents you can always give an instruction in the text eg, LEVEL 1 HEAD; LEVEL 2 HEAD etc.
  • Word has the facility to change from upper and lower case to ‘all caps’ by highlighting the words to be changed then selecting format and change case. This does not transfer to Quark: if you change your Heading to HEADING using this method it will revert to Heading in Quark.
  • Tables: if you have information that needs to be tabled, present it in the simplest possible table – it all gets stripped out but will give the designer the information as to what appears where.
  • Boxes, shading, drop shadows etc: don’t use as they all get stripped out. If you think some text needs to stand out give the instruction: please highlight this in some way.

Writing to length

New projects 
The design has to be able to accommodate the amount of information that you need to give to a particular audience. Your brief – do you want large pictures and a feeling of space or is this an information document that can be relatively text heavy? – will determine the number of words per page and therefore the length of the document. When you are thinking about page plans you need to be aware of length: for example in an A4 document page 1 cannot have 900 words, page 2 150 words and no pictures, etc.

The easiest way to start is to look at a comparable document and do a simple word count as a guide. More images means less text and vice-versa.

Updates to existing print 
We are often asked to update existing documents. Please remember that asking us to update a single line with a lengthy paragraph will have implications for the design and may not be possible in some cases without a redesign

Style guide

Please follow the University’s house style guidelines to ensure that all of Exeter’s publicity follows a consistent style. This style guide applies whether the material is for printed formats or for the web.

How to supply images

The majority of images we use are held in our image bank, in which case all you need to do is agree with the designer which images you want to use. If you supply new images for your project please follow these guidelines.

Digital images

Please supply original files as a jpg, tiff or eps. 

  • embed in word files
  • supply in MS Publisher or any other program
  • capture from websites.

The original image should be as high resolution as possible. The size of the file you supply will determine how we can use the image in a publication, eg full page pictures need high resolution; a lower resolution original file will only allow the image to be used at a smaller size.

Please always commission photos in colour even if you intend to use them in black and white.

Original prints

If you are only able to supply the image as an original print please be aware that a small original will not be able to be reproduced at a much larger size. Please make sure that the print is in good condition (without creases, stains etc) unless it is very old in which case blemishes may be unavoidable.


If you have obtained an image from a third party please make sure that they have the copyright and have granted us permission to use it. Does this permission have restrictions? Does the supplier need to be credited? Please give us all the details when you supply the image.

Proof reading and corrections

When you receive your proof please read it carefully against your original document.

The traditional way to communicate changes is to mark up a hard copy of the proof

  • Please use a red pen as this is easier to pick up.
  • Use the correct proofreaders marks if you know them but, if in doubt, please indicate clearly what you want done, eg cross out the word and write delete in the margin.
  • Use clear handwriting: the designer can’t make the correction unless they can understand it!
  • Don’t write in CAPS unless you intend the correction to be in caps.
  • Don’t use abbreviations and expect them to be corrected in full.
  • Check your spelling.
  • Write in the margins, not over text.
  • If the correction is substantial, type the corrections out and email.
  • If, despite your best efforts, your handwriting is not clear email a summary sheet.

We can also accept instructions inserted as comments on the pdf proof. This is only suitable for minor corrections.

Minor corrections may also be emailed but please make your intentions clear by using the following format: Page 1, para 2, line 5: change program to programme to read A degree programme offers …