Powerful policy solutions and compelling marketing and communications products don’t take shape overnight. They’re the result of copious research, countless development meetings and a lot of hard work. But at PSC, the process doesn’t end as soon as pencils are down. For decades, the firm has housed an ever-evolving team of production professionals to ensure that reports, pieces of collateral and everything in between aren’t just finished, they’re polished.
Whether it’s promotional work in support of our groundbreaking policy work or marketing products perfectly tailored to a client’s specifications, PSC’s production team lives to create sharp copy and stunning graphics. Comprising several editors, writers, formatters and designers, the team toils behind the scenes to make certain that every piece of content goes out the door clear, engaging and in support of the firm’s reputation for high quality — and its clients’ and consultants’ tireless work.
There are four main components to the production process at PSC: preproduction planning, content development, editing and formatting/design.
Before many big projects, consultants will engage the team for a preproduction planning meeting. This allows the editors and designers to familiarize themselves with the details of the project, learn the consultants’ and clients’ production needs and offer their expertise on how best to get the work done on time and on budget. These planning meetings also give editors and designers an opportunity to predict and correct any snags in the production schedules, line up the capacity to complete the work and — primarily on the design side — begin working on any necessary concepts.
After the plan is in place, it’s time for content development. Depending on the type of content they’re working on, consultants/writers often engage an editor at this stage for things like outline assistance or writing strategy. Designers sometimes lend a hand here as well; if the deliverable involves a heavy visual component, they can provide expertise on a data visualization concept.
Once the writer(s) have finished their content, editors step in. Editors are there to help incredibly smart people translate highly complex information into clear, accessible resources, so this is when the tough questions are asked — and answered. Does this explanation resonate with the target audience? Is this the most reliable source to use? Have we explained the policy challenge thoroughly? Did we capture our recommendations as best as we could?
Editors will also check for adherence to house style, grammar, spelling, proper citation and more. This stage often takes a few rounds, particularly if clients need to offer feedback and edits as well. No matter how many last-minute tweaks get added, the editing team aims to review every new batch of changes to make sure that valuable client feedback is included and new mistakes are not.
Finally, after the text is settled, the formatting/design team takes over. From ensuring pages of text are styled correctly to whipping up sleek infographics from scratch, all things visual take place in this stage. Formatters make sure everything from indentation to page numbering is correct, and designers flex their creative muscles to frame consultants’ content and communicate the bigger picture with rich, engaging graphics. If the team can’t do something in house, they will seek it out — things like illustration, photography or offset printing. PSC’s formatters and designers also ensure that all final products adhere to the standards of the firm’s recently refreshed brand.
Since its founding in 1979, clients have looked to PSC for the most innovative solutions to the toughest public policy problems. And just as the firm’s consulting staff will continue to consistently deliver on this promise, the company’s dedicated production team will ensure our work doesn’t just do good, it looks and sounds good.
For a better idea of how the firm’s production team brings policy to life (and light), check out the Engaging Detroit: URC’s Contributions to Resurgence in the Motor City report or this infographic we prepared for the Children’s Leadership Council of Michigan.