Spotlight on Inserts and Tips-ons
In an ideal world, magazine production managers would maintain control over every aspect of their publication's content, including advertising. But it's not an ideal world, and production managers—those not working with ads created in-house—are subjected to the variations of ads created by outside organizations. Such is the case with inserts and tip-ons, whereby publications receive preprinted materials that are sometimes within spec, sometimes not.
Experienced production managers have learned techniques for working with tricky ads and for avoiding the occasional production faux pas. In the following Q&A, a few industry-savvy production managers and directors share their insight:
Q: How should a production manager handle an insert that is supplied out of spec?
Lisa Earlywine, production director, World Publications, Winter Park, FL: First, talk to the printer and see if there is any way to make it work … . We have received inserts that we could not perfect bind, but maybe we could tip them on. So, sometimes there are other options; maybe those options are more expensive, but if the client really wants the insert in, it may be worth it to them.
Paula Hayden, production director, Condé Nast Publications, New York City: Most advertisers have their insert printers phone in and follow-up with an insert spec sheet. I then sign-off on the spec sheet, indicating that (we) agree on all the specs of the particular insert. If a spec sheet arrives and I need a copy or a paper dummy, I ask for one. If the insert needs an approval from upper management, I (request) a dummy …. Any approval that I make on a paper dummy and a spec sheet is (considered to be) final approval, providing I see a copy of the creative.
Gaye Whyte, associate production manager, Gruner & Jahr USA Publishing, New York City: Before we get any inserts, we usually request a blueline from the client so we can check it, and if it is out of spec or there are any problems, we can catch them in the blueline stage before they go to press.