Publication Style Guide

Definition of University Publications and Official Correspondence

A university publication or official correspondence (funded by grant or a general fund) is defined as printed or electronic matter originated and produced by NMU faculty or staff (or students under the direction of faculty or staff) that is intended - either wholly or in part - for an external audience.

It does not include:

  • Items produced by student organizations with funds generated by student fees.
  • Classroom support materials intended solely for students enrolled in a specific course.
  • Internal only letters or memoranda.
  • Other materials for internal use only.

University-sponsored publications must be designed to show Northern Michigan University as the primary provider. If the publication describes a school, department, division or program, that entity must be portrayed in the context of the university as a whole and keep with overall university goals and objectives.


All publications intended wholly or in part for an external audience must be approved by the university editor or the director of University Marketing and Communications prior to printing/transmission. Revision of prior publications may not require this action. The above description includes media advertising.

If you are uncertain whether your publication or brochure should be reviewed, contact University Marketing and Communications.

Role of the Office of University Marketing and Communications

The Office of University Marketing and Communications - in cooperation with the Office of Printing Services and the Broadcast and Audio Visual Services - is available to assist all university departments in producing professional quality, attractive and well written publications.

We can work with you on editorial style, copy writing, layout, typography, and photography. No charge is made for these services. Costs of publications requiring design and typesetting are paid by the requesting departments.

Whenever possible, printing should be done by NMU Printing Services. Cost estimates are provided prior to printing.

Depending on the complexity of your publication, or if you wish to do so, NMU may request bids from outside sources, which you may designate. The bid process is handled through Printing Services and the NMU Purchasing Department. The final decision on the printing job is determined by the requesting department.

Content and Format of Publications

Normally, the content of your publication is your responsibility. However, University Marketing and Communications may edit your submitted publication as needed for grammar and style according to standard publication guidelines.

NMU has three professional graphic designers on staff (two in the Broadcast and Audio Visual Services and one in the Printing Services) for designing publications. The cost of their service is paid by the requesting department.

With the proliferation of desktop publishing programs on campus, some departments may choose to format their own publications.

University Marketing and Communications or Printing Services may make modifications to your publication prior to printing to meet acceptable standards of design or readability.

Desktop publishing programs should be used to design layouts, rather than word processing programs or "cut and paste" procedures.

You may be asked to provide a diskette for publications prepared on a desktop publishing program for ease in editing of content or format. Printing Services has both MS-DOS and Macintosh format, using QuarkXPress and PageMaker 6.0 and PageMaker 6.5 desktop publishing software. If your office or department chooses to format its own publication(s), University Marketing and Communications recommends that your purchase either PageMaker or QuarkXpress.

Publications Procedures


  1. Consult with University Marketing and Communications prior to beginning your publication. Among other things, the objective and audience, format, and design can be discussed, as well as the time schedule necessary to complete the work.
  2. Request a printer's estimate of cost or arrange for competitive bids.
  3. Before you submit a draft for review by the university editor or the director of University Marketing and Communications, double check the following items:
    • Signature: The Northern Michigan University signature should appear on a prominent position in your publication.
    • Names: Check the spelling of all people and place names. Even the most familiar name is not immune to misspelling.
    • Dates: Make sure that your dates and days correspond with each other.
    • Phone numbers: Verify that all phone numbers are correct.
    • Courses: The name, number and description of each course should correspond exactly as it appears in the University Bulletin.
    • Tuition: Check with Admissions to make sure the figures you are using are current.
  4. Provide a typed manuscript or draft layout for editing by the university editor or director of University Marketing and Communications. (If you do not do this prior to submitting your publication for printing and there are errors, Printing Services may contact University Marketing and Communications for pre-printing approval or editing, resulting in the delay of your publication.)
  5. If typesetting or layout work is contracted, you will approve the final project before printing. Printing Services or Broadcast and Audio Visual Services may consult with University Marketing and Communications at this point.
  6. Please provide University Marketing and Communications with a copy of the finished product.

Printing Services

Printing Services is located in the Services Building. Their services include layout and design, typesetting, darkroom work, press work and bindery applications.

They can advise you on layout, design, type styles, ink colors, paper colors, and textures.

Two types of printing are available:

Quick Copy (photocopier): For small or simple jobs. Plan on three days turnaround time. Larger jobs such as books (200+) pages with binding may take three to five weeks.

Note: If your publication includes photographs or art with tint screens, DO NOT specify Quick Copy. The resulting quality is not acceptable for publications directed to off-campus audiences.

Contract Printing: For publications that contain photographs or require sharper reproduction, larger paper sizes, colored inks or longer runs. Examples include posters, flyers, brochures, newsletters, business cards, letterhead and envelopes. One to two weeks is the normal turnaround time for simple printing jobs.

Photographs and graphics may be reduced to 25 percent and enlarged up to 300 percent. When printing with black ink only, black and white photographs reproduce best; color photographs can be produced in black and white, but the results may not be satisfactory.

Computer graphics reproduce best when printed on a laser printer of at least 600 dots per inch (dpi). If you provide a disk, Printing Services can print out graphics at 600 dpi. Most laser printers on the market today have a resolution of no less than 600 dpi.

Bindings include saddle stitching, plastic spiral, velostrip and tape binding. The most common binding, saddle stitching, involves collating, folding, trimming and stapling along the fold (usually two staples). Booklets from 4" x 5" to 9" x 12" can be bound; 5 1/2 " x 8 1/2" are the most common sizes.

Note: Standard printing practices allow printers to deliver 10 percent over or under the ordered quantity. It is a good idea to order 10 percent more than the quantity you require.