Almost every magazine client of ours require that we either help them with - or make for them completely - the magazine map. Sometimes referred to as the flat plan, the issue order, or just the map (and a bunch of other names, depending on where you are), this is the part of a magazine's production where we know how many advertisements are going in the issue, how many pages of editorial, the order that each of those editorial pieces must flow in, and the order of appearance of advertisements, along with any special requests for ad placement - either because an advertiser has bought the inside front cover, or for example, wants to be very close to, or inside a particular piece of editorial.
At this point, most if not all of the magazine editorial page layouts are very much in progress or complete. Ad sales have finished. Advertisement files will be being received and proofed, or created as necessary.
There’s usually several places that the information we need in order to make the map: an issue order document, which tells us the order of the editorial content, from front to back. An advertisement list, which tells us the name of advertisers, the size of the ad, any particular placement requests or priorities, number and size of house ads, and importantly, how many pages are in the issue. Sometimes there might be a third document that tells us how this issue compares to the same issue from last year in page count, revenue, and the like - this isn’t necessary to make the magazine map, but it can be very useful information in general.
We’ll usually do a first version on paper, and - 9 times out of 10 - the first draft will look like complete garbage, as we move things around, make extensive notes, go back and forth with the advertising and editorial teams as we fill the map out, and make sure that everything is accounted for, and in the correct place. Once that is complete, we’ll make a much prettier, easier to read version which we’ll then distribute to editorial and advertising team leaders for final approval, before we make the actual magazine document according to the approved map.