Design and publications

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Design and conceptualizing publications are an integral part of project planning. This is because planned publications can often comlicate schedules and take a lot of time in the final stage of a project. Design is a part of your Corporate Identity which implies that it is complementing your corporate communication and your corporate behavior. In the best case, all of these aspects merge to a consistent image or appearance of your activity.

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[edit] Form follows function

When they hear the word "fairy-tale," most people think of a book. But collecting fairy-tales in a book is not necessarily the best method. If an international project wants to collect fairy-tales from different countries, it might be good to work with digital media. This way, one can easily send texts, comment on them, or make connections between passages from one fairy-tale and another. A conservative audience will, however, prefer a printed product.

The form of the publication should be subordinated to the question of 
how to reach one’s most important target group as efficiently as possible.

[edit] A project is not realized for a brochure

Project teams often feel pressured to present something tangible after their projects are through. A common perception is that a seminar alone will not convince anyone of my project’s significance. Therefore, many people complement a one-week workshop with a 60-page brochure.

Over the course of the project it often becomes apparent that working on a brochure takes more time than the project itself. This is because one underestimates the conceptual work and the technical effort after writing the first texts. Or because of the constant pressure during the work that the processes will produce the desired results. And if they do not, this will create even more stress.

Perhaps everything happens differently than planned – one should accept this instead of putting pressure on oneself and the participants. So the logic should be reversed: After the workshop, check to see what its outcome was. How can it be processed? What were we able to accomplish with regard to our organizational competence and our skills?

[edit] Editorial and proofreading phases

The production of a printed publication often drags on because one has not arranged for a proofreading phase but only for a phase of writing the texts. At least three phases of proofreading are realistic:

  1. Solve structural and content-related problems before an editor submits the texts to a designer.
  2. Check spelling before the texts are submitted to a designer.
  3. Proofreading after the finished layout. Structural problems of texts (“Is this a headline or an emphasis?”, “Is this a third or fourth-order headline?”) often become evident during the layout and design phase. Also, the text itself only becomes clearly visible after it has been given shape.
  4. This implies: A fourth phase of proofreading is likely.

[edit] Involving designers from the start

Someone who visually designs a text looks at it differently than someone who writes it. The former can therefore recognize other strengths and weaknesses. If a person does not think of design as a mere service but takes it seriously as a contribution to the project, the designer’s involvement in the planning of the content can be worthwhile.

[edit] Language and gender

Since language affects our reality and reflects societal structures, norms, and values, you should try to use a style of writing that is gender-sensitive. This also implies examples that you wrote yourself: If the text represents project managers and professors as male and secretaries and students as female, it is likely that neither group will feel adequately represented. On the other hand, you can try to use the male and female forms of personal descriptions or neutral forms. Depending on the particular language, this will work more or less elegantly. In Hungarian, for example, gender-neutral phrasing is uncomplicated, but in German one often makes use of phrases such as "Studierende" (instead of "Studenten") or constructions such as "StudentInnen" (instead of "Studentinnen and Studenten").

[edit] Translation and linguistic conventions

In the case of international publications that are translated, one has to agree on linguistic conventions. Texts have to work in different languages and therefore require more freedom than a close translation. Special characters from other languages are also important. Without them, texts often become incomprehensible and change their meaning. A Hungarian person can differentiate between O, Ö and Ő!

Transcriptions have to be consistent: Not everybody knows that Lodsch, Lodz, and Łódź mean the same city. The same goes for Lemberg, Lwów, or Lviv – in this case the particular notions of national languages play an important role.

Supporting organizations and invited persons want to be mentioned as correctly as possible. Often they also have clearly defined linguistic conventions in mind – and also an idea of how they want to be mentioned in publications (whether with or without logo, in Latin or another typeface).

A minor practical example is that of the Theodor-Heuss-Kolleg, which is "a program by the Robert Bosch Foundation and MitOst e.V." This is translated into Russian as following: : "Коллегия им. Теодора Хойсса. Программа Фонда имени Роберта Боша и объединения MitOst."

[edit] Fonts

The more international a publication is, the more difficult is the choice of the right fonts. Free fonts often have very few special characters. In the case of multilingual publications, the font has to include the characters of all languages that are used in the publication. Standard fonts from large word processing programs at least include Cyrillic characters and different versions of Latin typeface. If you use unusual fonts, make sure that those who work with your text also have them at their disposal. See also Typography

Various fonts can be downloaded for free on the internet. Typography resources

[edit] Checklist publication

Before sharing your product with the public or giving it to the printshop, here is a Checklist publication that is based on our experience.

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