The production manager is responsible for directing all tasks and staff involved in producing printed advertising. This includes overseeing the print production aspects of various media, including newspapers, magazines, digital advertising, promotions, displays and exhibits.
Production Staff Management
The production manager is responsible for hiring the production staff, directing its day-to-day work and approving completed tasks. The manager must have a keen ability to assess the individual capabilities of each staff member so that jobs and tasks are appropriately assigned. Certain managerial responsibilities are often coordinated with human resources for recruitment of talent to fill job openings, conducting interviews and job evaluations.
Collaborates With Art Directors
The production manager works closely with the ad agency art directors. He gets to know assigned advertising accounts, deadline requirements and unique product needs or specifications. Art directors often consult with the production manager to make sure than an idea is doable. The manager also shares and exchanges knowledge about new techniques and innovations that might be of use for different art directors and agency clients.
Fulfill Client Needs and Expectations
It is essential that the production manager gain a close understanding of the needs and expectations of all agency clients. Some clients not only expect but demand super sharp layouts that are close to the actual finished piece. Others may be more flexible. This requires developing a good relationship with the agency account executives because they generally "own" the agency-client relationship and may have to explain any errors, missed deadlines or work that doesn't meet client expectations.
Production managers review and approve all layouts with staff and the art director. Requests or needs for revisions or adjustments are discussed and agreed to. The production manager informs the art director of any techniques that may pose production problems and offers solutions, alternatives or cautions. The pre-press layout is then prepared to obtain estimates from printers and other related suppliers.
Selects Outside Sources and Suppliers
Printers, display producers and photographers are among the many outside vendors and suppliers that the production manager must source. This is often done collaboratively with art directors. The production manager also attends trade shows, demonstrations and exhibits to find new sources for the agency and the creative team.
Conducts Press Checks
One of the most important roles is to conduct press checks. They are usually staged in one to three visits: prepress, during the press run and to approve the final job for shipment. In each case, the production manager must closely review the work for approval, revision or rejection. Upon completion of the printing job, the production manager assigns a coordinator to distribute samples of the actual job to the art director and account executive, and to place the remaining supply in the agency archives.
Approves Materials to Submit to Publications
The art director, account executive and creative director review digitally prepared materials (which is often the case for magazine and online ads). Each must sign approval. The production manager makes sure that the production coordinator keeps the approval process going to meet publication deadlines.
- Photo Credit Color guide to match colors for printing image by Piter Pkruger from Fotolia.com
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