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Design & Production Toolbox

Magazine Production HandbookMagazine Production

The Magazines Canada Magazine Production Handbook is the only resource of its kind: a comprehensive guide to magazine production for print and digital. Production veteran Kim Latreille of St. Joseph Media, along with a group of expert contributors, offers 83 pages of practical advice and information in this unique and invaluable resource.

dMAC Specifications

dMACS (digital Magazine Advertising Canadian Specifications) are de facto industry specifications for consistent and predictable reproduction of magazine materials, and are regularly updated to reflect the latest technologies and processes that continuously improve print quality. View the current dMAC Specifications Version 5.3 (PDF).

Soft Proofing: A Guide to Benefits and Best Practices

Soft proofing is a technical advance that can take magazine production to the next level of efficiency, predictability, consistency and accountability. A guide to benefits and best practices is available to present the case for why soft proofing is building momentum and to review the benefits and challenges associated with it. Download (PDF).

How to Make a Bullet-Proof PDF

Magazines Canada endorses PDF/X1-a files as the preferred file format for the blind exchange of advertising files with magazine publications. To create a bullet-proof PDF file every time, simply follow the steps outlined below (if in doubt, consultation with the publisher/printer is essential to determine the suitability of the file submission):

Digital Control Strip

The Digital Control Strip is primarily used as a control device for pre-press proofs. The strip must pass through exactly the same imaging process as a live image, including RIP curves, color management, screening, etc., and must be included on all proofs submitted for IDEAlliance Proofing System certification. Values measured from the strip will be used as part of the IDEAlliance proofing system certification process. View the IDEAlliance ISO 12647-7 Digital Control Strip 2009 as a PDF. Read more information about the control strip.

Look Like a Hero

The Magazines Canada Manufacturing & Technology Committee, in partnership with Masthead, created a must-read book of tips and strategies that will assist art directors in bringing the art of magazine ad design to life. To obtain your personal copy of Look Like A Hero, please visit


Want to hear from the experts? Listen to an AudioMag, Magazines Canada's podcast series featuring new views, opinion and timely information from the industry's best and brightest.

  • Episode 33 shares tips for a smooth publishing schedule and discusses how publishers and printers can work together to maxmize timelines and profits. Featuring Pamela Falkner, Vice President of Business Development at Dollco Integrated Print Solutions.
  • Episode 56 gives insight into what’s driving the biggest changes and trends in magazine design today. Featuring award-winning creative director and design instructor Caren Watkins.
  • Episode 62 talks about WORN Fashion Journal and why they decided to go smaller. Featuring Laura Kloepfer, Production Manager of WORN Fashion Journal.
  • Episode 63 gives tips for bending budget limitations to your publication’s benefit and using challenges to spark innovation. Featuring Bob Hambly, Creative Director at Hambly & Woolley.
  • Episode 64 explains how to use data to tell a great story. Featuring Donna Braggins, award-winning art director and Associate Dean of Design at Sheridan College.

More Production Resources

Magazines Canada has compiled a list of useful links to in finding information for most commonly requested topics, including colour management, preflighting, PDF and PDF/X, paper, and production associations.

For more production information, contact

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