Putting together a magazine

When you pick up the newspaper in the morning or read your favourite magazine it can be easy to overlook the work that goes in to putting it together. As a diverse marketing agency one of projects that we undertake on a regular basis is designing, compiling and sending magazine’s to print for a reputable publishing house. There are a range of publications that we are involved with including magazines and tabloids however the process for putting these together is pretty much the same. We are going to explain each step from when the editor has written the articles to when it lands in your hands.

The Flatplan

magazine flatplan
A Flatplan layout

Once the editorial team have decided what articles will be going in the magazine and the sales team have booked all the adverts then we begin stage one of the design process. At this stage a flat plan is put together, specifying where everything will be laid out in the magazine.

A flat plan shows a rough 2D version of the magazine, with pages in order so you can write down what is going to go on what page to make sure everything will be in the correct order.

Page Layouts

At the same time that the flat plan is being laid out articles will start to come into the designers who will put the article into the style of the magazine and design the individual pages or DPS features. At this point it is not vital that the designer knows where it will be placed in the magazine. These are then proofed off to the editorial team or client who has booked the article to ensure everything looks correct before they are put into the magazine.

Compiling the magazine

When the flat plan has been completed, the features (which have been designed individually) can be brought together onto the correct pages to create the magazine in its entirety. This is where the flatplan starts to come to life with real features in the right places.


In the majority of magazines there will be advertising positions, these will also be identifiable on the flatplan. The ‘copy chaser’ is an important role at this point as they will chase adverts which have not been sent as of yet, they will contact the companies who have placed the advert and request the artwork.

As adverts come in they will be placed into the magazine which will have already started to be compiled by the designers. This is where gaps around editorials are filled with the adverts.

Proofing the magazine

Either once everything is in the magazine or when there are just a few adverts left to place a proof of the magazine will be printed off. A proof allows different people within the office to check the magazine.

Different people will look for different things, for example the magazine designer will look to make sure the design of the magazine looks correct. The editor will look for spelling and grammar mistakes. The sales team will look to make sure adverts and editorials have been put in and in the right category. This is a vital part of the process to ensure the magazine looks and reads well.

Adding Enquiry Numbers

For the magazines that we produce enquiry numbers on the paid for advertisements or editorials are an important part however this is not used in all magazine publishing. The enquiry numbers are used for readers who want to make an enquiry about a company who have been advertised in the magazine. A number is placed under the adverts or editorials which will reference a company. An enquiry form is sent out with the magazines for readers to fill in.

Printers Proofs

Once everything is placed in the magazine and it has been proofed by other in the office then it needs to be sent to the printers. Our system for this is an online software called XMF this is linked to Buxton printers who we use to print our magazines.

The software allows you to upload all of the pages of the magazine and approve them. This is the final check of the magazine to ensure everything is ok to go to print. Once all pages have been approved the final approval button will be clicked and the magazine is sent to print.

Linking Enquiry Numbers 

The enquiry numbers which were added to the adverts and editorial now need to be referenced to somewhere so that when somebody enquires we know exactly which company and advert they are referring to.

The circulation manager uses the enquiry number, so when some one is making an enquiry they know what company they are enquiring about and they can give the readers contact details to the company who has been advertised. A program called reader response data system is used for this process, where all the enquiry details are put into. This then sends an automatic email to the advertised company with the reader enquiry details on.

Digital Edition

The last stage of the magazine process is creating a digital version of the magazine. The magazine, which was sent to print, is made into a PDF. This is then loaded onto our digital edition software, which is called mygazines. This creates a turn page edition of the magazine on the web. A member of the online team will then go through the magazine creating links from website, emails and enquiry numbers. The reader will use the links to get in contact with the company advertising. Again, this is checked over by different people before it is sent out.

An E-bulletin is sent out to a circulation to tell subscribed and interested readers that the magazine is available to view online. In the majority of cases the digital edition will land before the printed version does.

Delivered to your door

Finally the printed copies of the magazines are sent to the readers in the post.



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