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desktop publishers discussing a graphic design project Desktop publishers help produce books, brochures, calendars, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, and forms by using computer software to format text, data, photographs, charts, and other graphic art into prototypes.  After formatting the prototype, desktop publishers print it on a high-resolution printer or send it to a commercial printer.

Specific tasks for the desktop publisher include designing and creating graphics, finding and editing photographs and digital images, and manipulating text and images into an attractive format.  In addition to layout and design on pages, some desktop publishers are also responsible for copyediting and writing original content.  Desktop publishers at smaller firms may be responsible for a broader range of tasks, while those working at larger firms may only specialize in a certain part of the publishing process.

Desktop publishers typically work a standard workweek in an office, but may work overtime when on a tight production schedule.  They usually learn skills on the job or through taking classes online or at local colleges.  An associate's or bachelor's degree in graphic arts, graphic communication, or graphic design is often helpful, and those with certificates or degrees will have the best chance of employment and advancement.

Aside from experience, good manual dexterity, detail-orientation, good eyesight, and the ability to focus and work well independently are important qualities in a successful desktop publisher.  Artistic ability and adaptability to deadlines are also desired.

Desktop publishers may start out assisting more experienced staff and advance as they demonstrate mastery of skills.  Some desktop publishers may move into supervisory or management positions, while others may start their own companies or work as independent consultants.  Some may decide to move on to opportunities in graphic design or commercial art.

Employment of desktop publishers is expected to decline rapidly as more people in other occupations learn basic desktop publishing as part of their regular job functions.  Additionally, more organizations are formatting materials for display on the Internet as opposed to print publications.  Job prospects will be the best for those with some training and experience in desktop publishing.  Please visit the Graphic Arts Information Network website for information about careers and training in desktop publishing.

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About Desktop Publishing Services