Taming the Gala Journal

Gala journals have a unique set of challenges:

  • They are large page-count documents printed in small quantities — a very inefficient combination for printers. And since the journal is a fundraising device, costs need to be kept down.
  • Much of the content — the ads — are not quality-controlled by you or your designer. They may come in late, or the quality may be unacceptable so they require retouching or doing over.
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce Gala

Above: a recent Gala package for our clients Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.

Here are a few suggestions for making the gala journal process go more smoothly.

Graphic Design

  • Get the front section done ahead of time. Ads typically come in at the last minute, but content that you can control, such as honoree biographies, or a letter from the board chair, can be written, proofed, and designed well before the ad crunch.
  • Make sure you allow time for proofing during the design phase. The proofing circle needs fresh eyes — not just the copywriter. The writer will tend to see what they think they wrote, rather than what is actually on the page. Although using PDF files has made it quicker to move documents around, if possible allow at least 2 days during the design process for proofing.
  • Get ads in hardcopy as well as PDF files. That way, if the PDF files have big problems, it may be possible to recreate the ad.
  • Make a complete list of ads to share with your designer, and update it frequently.
  • Ask your designer to create an ad specification document including sizes and file setup guidelines. Sometimes it helps advertisers submit good quality ads.


  • Make sure to include the printer in planning the journal. He may have suggestions that will improve the journal or make it less expensive.
  • Keep your printer updated on changes to the schedule — he needs to order paper, allow for proofing time, schedule press time, bindery time, and set up delivery — and he usually has other jobs in-house as well.
  • Usually, printers need a minimum of 5 working days to produce a journal. However, that assumes everything will go perfectly. We recommend 7-10 working days if possible.
  • Avoid making changes once the journal is at the printer — he will charge you for them! Printers’ proofs are not the place for major alterations — they need to be made earlier, when the journal is being designed.



Dr. Seuss wrote “Green Eggs and Ham” after his editor dared him to write a book using fewer than 50 different words.