Alternate Titles: Publications Specialist, Electronic Publisher, DTP Operator, Desktop Publishing Editor, Electronic Prepress Technician, Electronic Publishing Specialist, Image Designer, Typographer, Compositor, Layout Artist, Web Publications Designer
Desktop publishers use computer software to format and combine text, data, photographs, charts, and other graphic art or illustrations into prototypes of pages and other documents that are to be printed. They then may print the document on a high-resolution printer or send the materials to a commercial printer. Examples of materials produced by desktop publishers include books, brochures, calendars, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and forms.
Desktop publishers typically design and create the graphics that accompany text, find and edit photographs and other digital images, and manipulate the text and images to display information in an attractive and readable format. They design page layouts, develop presentations and advertising campaigns, and do color separation of pictures and graphics material. Some desktop publishers may write some of the text or headlines used in newsletters or brochures.
Desktop publishers use the appropriate software to enter and select formatting properties, such as the size and style of type, column width, and spacing. Print formats are stored in the computer and displayed on its monitor. New information, such as charts, pictures, or more text, can be added. An entire newspaper, catalog, or book page, complete with artwork and graphics, can be created on the screen exactly as it will appear in print. Then, digital files are used to produce printing plates. Like photographers and multimedia artists and animators, desktop publishers can create special effects or other visual images with the use of film, video, computers, or other electronic media. (Separate statements on photographers and on artists and related workers appear elsewhere in the Handbook.)
Computer software and printing technology continue to advance, making desktop publishing more economical and efficient than before. Other innovations in the occupation include digital color page-makeup systems, electronic page-layout systems, and off-press color proofing systems. In addition, most materials are reproduced on the Internet as well as printed; therefore, desktop publishers may need to know electronic publishing software, such as Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and may be responsible for converting text and graphics to an Internet-ready format.
Some desktop publishers may write and edit, as well as layout and design pages. For example, in addition to laying out articles for a newsletter, desktop publishers may be responsible for copyediting content or for writing original content themselves. Desktop publisher’s writing and editing responsibilities may vary widely from project to project and employer to employer. Smaller firms typically use desktop publishers to perform a wide range of tasks, while desktop publishers at larger firms may specialize in a certain part of the publishing process.
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook