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Typical Timeline


Step 1: Initial Contact
To provide a clear understanding of your needs to Marketing and University Relations (MUR), please fill out a project request form. Use the form for print as well as new social media and web projects with a public audience. (For support on existing webpages, email webhelp@southern.edu.) While MUR is not staffed to take on video projects, the team serves in an advisory capacity and can point you to resources. The electronic project request form will automatically be sent to the project manager, who will respond to you directly and schedule a creative brief.  If you are unsure of your goals or even where to start, the MUR team can help with brainstorming and concept development. This process should be started six weeks before the project must go to press. Less time is needed for non-print projects, and MUR also welcomes requests several months ahead of deadlines. For last-minute or rush jobs, contact the project manager directly at 423.236.2686 to discuss options and the team's availability. 

Step 2: Creative Brief
For this preliminary meeting, the project manager will ask questions about budget allocations, delivery dates, messaging, photographs and graphics, and other details. Production procedures may be discussed along with design parameters and printing options. Even if you have a firm vision about your project, please remain open-minded to discussing and incorporating MUR's ideas and expertise. Writing the text (rough wording) will likely be your most lengthy task after the meeting. At minimum, MUR will need a strong outline that includes the core information to be communicated. If you do not already have high-resolution photographs, you will need to submit a photography request through MUR's online system. For social media and web projects, clients will be connected with the appropriate MUR team member. 

Step 3: Editing and Designing
MUR's editorial manager will review the provided copy and possibly make changes or improvements while following Southern's Writing Guide and the Associated Press Stylebook. For print and digital projects, the team's graphic design manager will work concepts into appealing layouts that are consistent with the university‚Äôs Visual Identity Standards Guide and fulfill the messaging goals of both Southern and the project.

Step 4: Proofs and Approvals
After the creative team provides a physical or electronic proof of the designs, you will review and mark changes to be made before returning the proof to MUR. This step is repeated up to three times before you will be asked to sign off with final approval.

Step 5: Quality Control
After you approve a designed piece, MUR will explore cost estimates with local vendors and share those options. Once you choose a vendor, MUR will package and upload the job for printing, continuing to monitor and respond to vendor questions as needed.

Step 6: Printing
Timeframe will be anywhere from two to three weeks for most print jobs, including bindery and/or folding work. The finished pieces will be delivered to your office, or special delivery/mailing options can be arranged. MUR requests 10 printed finals for samples and future reference.

Step 7: Printing Costs
You will be invoiced for the printing, mailing, and/or distribution costs directly by the vendor. All design fees are absorbed by MUR as a service provided through the university to all areas of campus with public audiences. In the event of rush jobs that need to be outsourced, you may be billed for design services.