What Is Desktop Publishing?

Desktop publishing uses computer applications, digital graphics, and multimedia formatting to create electronic documents and presentations. Desktop publishing can create digital pages that are meant to be viewed electronically, as well as virtual pages which are transferred to physically printed pages. Schools offering Visual Communication degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of Desktop Publishing Careers

Desktop publishing is a relatively new advancement in media production which allows publishers to view and revise their products digitally before printing or finalizing them. Newspapers, magazines, newsletters, promotional pamphlets, flyers, and websites can all be created using desktop publishing techniques and software. Digital design and editing skills are crucial within this field, and so a strong familiarity with computers and creative software is indispensable.

Important Facts About Desktop Publishing Work

Required Education Associate degree
On-The-Job Training Generally lasts a month
Key Skills Proficiency with modern graphic and creative design techniques, verbal and written communication skills, and an aptitude for working with digital systems and applications
Work Schedules Desktop publishers must sometimes work odd or extended hours in order to meet their deadlines
Similar Occupations Editors, graphic designers, technical writers, multimedia artists and animators

Common Products and Creative Utilities Found in Desktop Publishing

Electronic Pages

Electronic pages include basic websites, online manuals, guides, books and documents, emails, multimedia presentations, and digital archives. Because these documents are not physically printed, desktop publishing applications allow users to easily create, edit, and modify these documents on a computer before submitting the media to be shared digitally.

Virtual Pages

Virtual pages are created and formatted on a computer but are eventually printed as physical pages. Many newspapers and magazines are first rendered by using desktop publishing programs. Desktop publishers can organize a virtual page and minimize potential errors by viewing documents before they are printed. Many desktop publishers use WYSIWYG applications, which stands for 'What You See Is What You Get.' This type of editing streamlines the publishing process by allowing an accurate preview of documents prior to printing.

Computer Programs and Publishing Software

Desktop publishing relies on comprehensive computer applications to collect and organize digital files and material. Desktop publishers use these applications to create layouts, presentations, and formatting rubrics. These computer applications allow users to upload, edit, and rearrange files to create visually dynamic and appealing documents. The most popular desktop publishing programs include:

  • Adobe InDesign
  • Adobe PageMaker
  • Adobe FrameMaker
  • QuarkXPress
  • Microsoft Publisher
  • Corel VENTURA

Career Outlook and Salary

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that, as of May 2014, there were approximately 14,800 desktop publishing jobs in the country, but also that the overall number of opportunities in desktop publishing is expected to decline by 21% from 2014 to 2024. According to this same source, the median annual salary for desktop publishers in 2014 was $38,200.

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