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Career and Job Search Guide
  

Desktop Publisher

Desktop publishers prepare documents with text and graphics to be published. After material has been prepared for publication, it is forwarded to a printing center. Desktop publishers can prepare manuscripts to be published as books, magazines, newspapers, or any other printed materials.

Desktop publishers usually design the visual aids, or use photographs, that will be combined with the text to appear attractive to potential readers. Additionally, desktop publishers prepare page layouts, alter colors in visual aids and photographs, and market their products, and certain desktop publishers write the content and headlines they publish. Since more companies are conducting their own marketing, more desktop publishers are working for individual companies.

Desktop publishers use computer software to format content and graphics. By using software, text and the size and appearance of images and charts can be inserted into the layout. Desktop publishers use scanners to insert graphics into page layouts. Using software, desktop publishers are able to adjust the color and appearance of a graphic, and software enables desktop publishers the ability to see how a magazine or newspaper layout will appear before it is published. Desktop publishers also develop special effects that are placed in electronic publishing.

There are a variety of desktop publishing jobs. The increased availability and affordability of PCs has made it possible for desktop publishers to perform tasks that in past years would require expensive equipment. New design software and printing technology has improved productivity and made production less expensive. A few examples of new technology include off press color, electronic page layout, and digital color design systems. Since most published materials are placed on the internet, desktop publishers should understand how to use Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) software and should be able to convert text and graphics to be internet friendly.

Certain desktop publishers write content and copyedit completed layouts. However, their duties depend on the industry and company they work for. Desktop publishers at small companies usually have many duties but those at big companies usually specialize.

The following are common desktop publishing specialists: web publication designers, layout artists, compositors, typographers, electronic publishing specialists and prepress technicians, DTP operators, and image design specialists. Their titles often reflect their job responsibilities.

Work environment. Desktop publishers often spend their days in quiet, comfortable offices. They usually work 40 hour weeks, but occasionally work evenings, weekends, and holidays if they have a deadline to meet.

Desktop publishing can be stressful since they usually do not have a lot of time to compete their work because of deadlines. Sitting in front of a computer screen all day can lead to back problems, eyestrain, and joint problems such as carpal tunnel syndrome.
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