How Do I Become a Desktop Publisher?

If you have artistic abilities and computer skills, you might be wondering how to become a desktop publisher. With the help of special computer software, desktop publishers plan the designs for print or digital publications, such as fliers, brochures, books, newsletters and newspapers. Desktop publishers combine text and images in a way that communicates information effectively and is visually appealing.

Many desktop publishers work in publishing and printing industries. Others work in companies in various industries that produce publications in-house rather than outsourcing the work. Still other desktop publishers work as independent contractors, assisting clients on a per-project basis.

Getting a publication ready for print or digital distribution takes excellent organizational skills. Desktop publishers have to collect the content that they will use in the publication. Some desktop publishers are responsible for writing text content or creating images themselves, while others coordinate the creation of these materials with writers, editors and designers to ensure that the content is ready when necessary. Desktop publishers may also be called on to locate and edit existing content that can be used in the publication. If images are created by hand rather than using computer tools, the desktop publisher must scan the image and create a high-quality digital file.

Desktop publishers use special software to create page layouts. They must import text and visual content into files, format text so that it can be easily read and design the publication to have a balance of images and text that looks good and conveys information appropriately. Before publication, a desktop publisher must review digital or printed proofs of the project to ensure that there are no mistakes. Printing can be expensive, and a mistake that requires companies to print additional batches of a project can be costly. It is imperative that a desktop publisher be focused and detail-oriented enough to find and correct any mistakes before the project goes to printing. Technical skills may also be important for desktop publishers. They must be capable of converting file types, sending the files to be printed and, in some cases, even assisting with website and webpage design work.

To secure a job as a desktop publisher, candidates should pursue formal education. Though some aspiring desktop publishers choose to learn their skills through a non-degree program, as the field becomes more and more competitive, candidates with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees may have an advantage in finding a job. Coursework for any desktop publishing program may include graphic design, graphic publishing, graphic arts, computer courses and desktop publishing courses that teach basic skills such as formatting and importing content. Many employers expect candidates to have some work experience with the desktop publishing process. Since computers are constantly evolving, desktop publishers must continue to learn new software and techniques throughout their careers.

If you have computer skills and a natural knack for making projects look visually appealing, knowing how to become a desktop publisher may be the start to an exciting new career.

Featured Degree Programs