According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the MTSU Board of Trustees, publications that will be seen by outside audiences must be either created or approved by Creative and Visual Services before the job can be produced, whether on campus or off.

We encourage you to set up an appointment to meet with us early in the process. An investment in planning brings big returns, both in terms of your satisfaction and the money saved by being prepared. We can help you with writing, editing, design, and photography, and we coordinate with printers to make sure you get the best price possible. If you are putting together your own piece, we can help make sure that what you create can be produced by vendors and that it meets MTSU and THEC/TBR standards.

As a public institution, there are a few items MTSU is legally required to have on all materials that are seen by outside audiences, including the equal opportunity statement, a publication number, and the MTSU wordmark. You obtain all three from us, either as a function of our creating the piece or when you pass it by us for approval.

We are more than happy to help save you time and effort by creating your publications and graphics for you. However, we recognize that sometimes offices and departments have specific reasons for designing their own materials or working with outside firms. In those instances, please send us via email or campus mail (Box 49) a paper hard copy or a PDF file of the proposed publication or item along with a publication order form. We will review the publication, offer guidance on how to meet MTSU standards if necessary, and send you the publication number and proper branding mark. After final approval from us, you will be able to output the publication either at Printing Services (Blue Print Solutions) or another outlet, such as a tshirt vendor or similar entity.


Creating a publication requires time. As a result, you'll need to plan your project far enough ahead to accommodate the production process. Work backward from the date you want the publication in your hands or in the hands of your audience. Allow 10 working days for printing. Then add 15-20 working days for layout, design, and approval for most jobs. Publications that are more than 12 pages or require concept development or lengthy design times, or promotions that need to be coordinated with Marketing and Branding will take longer, and it is best to allow three weeks to a month in production for those projects. Also, allow yourself enough time to write the text or to consult with the University editor beforehand. Plan your photography needs in advance of submitting the project. Finally, build in time for mailing services (addressing and sorting) and postal delivery if you intend to send the publication to a mailing list.

A sample timeline for the production of a trifold brochure would look like this:

Before submitting your job:

  • Have a conversation with Creative and Visual Services staff.
  • Write, edit, and proofread your content.
  • Schedule your photo shoot(s).

Production Timetable

Submit your information to Creative and Visual Services Working Day 1
Layout and design Working Day 2-15
Proofing and corrections* Working Day 16-20

A suitable timeline for your project will be established when we initiate the job in Creative and Visual Services.

Sometimes a project will deviate from its anticipated production schedule. If the job deviates from some oversight or error in our office, we will still hold ourselves to the established ultimate deadline. If the job deviates from a delay or oversight on the part of a client, we will push the deadline back accordingly. If the client requires adherence to the original deadline date nonetheless, a 15% rush fee will be added to the total amount invoiced.

*Jobs that go out for proofing to clients but do not return for six (6) weeks will be moved to inactive status. You will be invoiced for time and materials spent to date. If the job returns to Creative and Visual Services, it will be given a new job number and reentered into the existing queue in due order. No priority treatment will be assigned to the returning job as a result of it having been previously submitted but then voided.

Proofing Process

  • You will receive an email with a link to an online proof.
  • Submit your changes at that link and either accept or reject the proof.
  • You will get a new email with a new link and the process will continue until you accept the proof.
  • Your job will not move forward until you hit the accept button in the online proof.

    As we work with you to create a professional publication, there could be up to three proofing rounds. These proofing rounds are built into the time schedule and design process.

    If the job runs into more proofing rounds than three, particularly if the additional proofs are because the client has been indecisive or changes direction when the job is already in process, there will be an additional 10% charge on the total fee per proof sent. There may be some forgiveness in this fee if the changes are due to circumstances beyond your control, such as a sick speaker or a catastrophic event. Forgiveness of the additional proofing fee is at the discretion of Creative and Visual Services.

    By approving a proof, you agree that you have reviewed the piece thoroughly, that there are no errors, and that you agree that it should be moved into production and you will be billed for the design work and the printing.
  • When completed, your project will be delivered directly to your office. In the unlikely event that a problem is noticed after the job is delivered, please contact Ed Arning, director of Printing Services (2924 or Ed.Arning@mtsu.edu), and he can address the issues.


Creative and Visual Services (CVS) partners with Resource and Operations Management (ROM), also an office in the division of Marketing and Communications, to invoice our clients. ROM processes and sends out invoices. Please contact ROM at 615-898-2875 with questions about your invoice. Feel free to continue speaking with CVS about questions related to the work we do for you at creativeservices@mtsu.edu or 615-898-2896.


  • MS Publisher, PowerPoint, and Word are not design programs. Many printers will have difficulty producing work for you if you use them. Consult with us, and we can create files that can be printed correctly and cost-efficiently.
  • Black ink only is the most cost effective for printing.
  • Two-color (blue and black, for instance) is also cost effective.
  • Four-color (full color) printing is more expensive and is often not cost effective for printing quantities fewer than 1,000 unless printed digitally.
  • Color can be printed on a digital press, however, in any quantity.
  • When you print digitally or photocopy, your cost per copy remains constant. If you use a printing press, your cost per copy decreases as you produce more.
  • It is more cost effective to print a larger quantity than to print a smaller quantity several times. Each time you print, you are paying for labor and materials. If you plan ahead, you can save those additional labor costs by printing more of the item at a comparatively lower cost per unit.

820 Fairview Ave., Room 130
Box 49