Learn the Ins and Outs of a Career as a Desktop Publisher

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Anyone who uses desktop publishing software could be called a desktop publisher. However, in the job market, a desktop publisher is more than just a software user. A desktop publisher is proficient in the use of desktop publishing software — perhaps even having certification in specific programs such as Adobe InDesign.

What Is a Desktop Publisher?

A desktop publisher uses the computer and software to create visual displays of ideas and information. The desktop publisher may receive text and images from other sources or may be responsible for writing or editing text and acquiring images through digital photography, illustration, or other means. A desktop publisher arranges text and images into the correct visual and digital format for books, newsletters, brochures, letterhead, annual reports, presentations, business cards, and any number of other documents. Desktop publishing documents may be for desktop or commercial printing or electronic distribution including PDF, slide shows, email newsletters, and the Web. The desktop publisher prepares the files in the correct format for the method of printing or distribution.

Desktop publisher usually denotes a more technical job; however, depending on the specific employer and job requirements it may also require a greater degree of artistic and design skills and/or writing and editing proficiency. It is also known as desktop publishing specialist, desktop publishing technician, documentation specialist, graphic designer or prepress technician.

Desktop Publisher Skills and Education

For desktop publishers, less formal education including on-the-job or vocational training is often sufficient for employment. Although a degree is not usually required, there are still certain skills necessary to successfully compete for desktop publisher jobs — even as a freelancer. Specific software requirements will vary by employer but general skills and knowledge include advanced PC or Macintosh computer skills, basic to advanced design knowledge, prepress skills, and understanding of printing technologies.

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