Designing ads to spec for Prairies North Magazine requires a few things: good software, the know-how to use it, and an understanding of what we require. In this article, ad designer Robin Cline explains ad sizes and print terminology.
Creating a custom page size is an easy way to keep your ad design in check. Most software offers this option when you create a new document or under the File menu of a current document (exact location varies depending on the software, so don’t be afraid to explore or search the Help menu).
When you find the spot to enter the specific height and width of your custom page, enter the values for the size of the ad you’re creating, as listed on the Prairies North spec sheet (shown in inches, width by height):
Full page (no bleed). . . . 7.375 by 9.75 in.
2/3 page (vertical) . . . . . . 4.85 by 9.75 in.
1/2 page (vertical) . . . . . . . 3.6 by 9.75 in.
1/2 page (horizontal). . . . 7.375 by 4.8 in.
1/3 page (vertical) . . . . . . 2.35 by 9.75 in.
1/3 page (square) . . . . . . . 4.85 by 4.8 in.
1/6 page (vertical) . . . . . . . 2.35 by 4.8 in.
1/6 page (horizontal). . . 4.85 by 2.325 in.
*We’ll address full-page ads with bleed in a moment.
Setting a custom page size allows you to create your ad design right to the edge of the page so that the PDF you generate for submission is exactly the right size for our publication.
If you’re using a professional or higher-end consumer design program, please note that there is no need to apply any of the optional printer’s marks to any of the above ad sizes. Your ad is placed on the designated magazine page in the layout process and printer’s marks (registration marks, colour bars, etc.) are applied to the page as a whole when it is made ready for press.
Full-page ads with bleed are fairly straightforward as well, when you take the time to get to know them. Let’s familiarize ourselves with a bit of terminology first.
If you were to grab a ruler and measure any page of an issue of Prairies North, you would find that it measures 8.375 inches wide and 10.75 inches high. This is referred to as the “trim size” of the magazine. Each page of the publication is printed on paper that’s larger than the finished trim size so that the magazine can be neatly and squarely trimmed after binding. While this process is quite accurate, it’s not always precise. This is where bleed comes in.
Many full-page advertisements look best when they’re designed to go right to the edge of all sides of the page. Since we cannot guarantee with absolute certainty that the chopping blade will strike that fine edge on each and every one of the thousands of magazines produced in each run, we must design such ads to allow for slight error. In other words, we “bleed” the design off the edge of the page by 1/4 of an inch on all sides.
Trim size + 0.25 in. on all sides = . . . . . . . 8.875 by 11.25 in.
*Please note that the above measurement is the ad size as listed in our spec sheet. This measurement includes the bleed.
The same consideration must be taken to safeguard the important information contained within the ad space as well. By subtracting 1/4 of an inch from the trim size on all sides of the ad, we create what is called the “live area” of the page.
Trim size - 0.25 in. on all sides = . . . . . . . 7.875 by 10.25 in.
All text and images contained within the live area of a page are guaranteed to be safe from any imprecision in the trimming process. While photo credits are often placed quite close to the edges of a page so as not to be distracting, we would advise that if you consider them indespensible, that you also keep such credits within the live area of the page.
If you wish to add bleed marks to your full-page (with bleed) ad for clarity, you’re welcome to do so, however please offset them 1/8 of an inch or more so that they don’t intrude on the bleed significantly. As mentioned earlier, we ask that you do not apply any other printer’s marks to your ad as we take care of that step on our end when preparing the magazine as a whole for press.
As always, if at any point you or your designer have questions regarding the submission of press-ready ads for publication in Prairies North Magazine, you are more than welcome to contact our design department at email@example.com.