You may ask yourself, where do magazines come from? Do two magazine who love each other very much get together and make a little magazine? No! A talented group of authors, editors, and designers get together and - in an extremely platonic manner - apply their respective trades.

The process of creating a publication is more complex than you might suspect. Magazines do not arrive fully formed in the back of the post office delivery van. Instead, they follow a circuitous route from the blank void of the ether to the corner of your desk. Here at THOR, we’ve mastered this process, simplified it to its essence, and use it to guide our customers to success every day. 

The Basics

At the top level, the basic components of the process are simple. Content is created in raw form by authors, photographers, videographers, and assorted other graphers. This content is delivered to editors who make it better, then delivered to designers who make it better yet. The designer is the custodian of the content and the design layouts. The designer is also responsible for managing the edit process. At the end of a series of proofing and editing rounds the editors sign off on finished layouts, the designers perform technical wizardry, and - voila! - electronic files are delivered to the printer. For the purposes of this article, that’s the end of the story (the printing process deserves its own article which we will get to some day).

The Workflow

But how does this process really work? Especially in this day and age where content needs to be deployed to print and digital on differing timelines. Enter the concept of the centralized document. The content pivot point if you will. The hinge on the gate. The buckle of Orion's belt. You get the point.

Our standard publication workflow utilizes the Adobe applications InCopy and InDesign. InCopy is a word processing application which syncs with the layout application InDesign. This means that, when an InCopy file is imported into an InDesign file, the two documents are linked. When edits are made to InCopy, the changes are automatically reflected in InDesign. In a similar fashion, the InCopy document can be used to deploy content to the content management system (CMS) of a website. See where this is going? The InCopy document is the central document. The pivot point. It’s the document of reference for print and web. It gives an editor control of their core content and the flexibility to deploy online at any given moment, free from the timeline constraints of the print document. 

Here at THOR we also employ a robust set of cloud computing tools to manage content and edits. Trello, for tracking the individual components of an issue and to exchange edits and notes in an easy to reference living document. Box, to sync our files between editor, authors, and designers. And plug-ins across all of these tools to process edits and make certain our production designers are capturing the detailed requests of our clients. 

So while it may seem romantic to think of the beauty of two magazines creating a precious new magazine purely out of their deep and enduring love for each other, the reality is that a magazine is derived from high levels of expertise and in the trenches experience. We at THOR have just those skills and are happy to guide your process. 

Contact us to discuss your magazine. Even if it’s a shambles. We can fix it.