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Careers in Desktop Publishing: Printing Jobs

written by: Joe Taylor Jr.•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 2/3/2011

Government statistics suggest that about a quarter of American desktop publishing professionals work in the commercial printing industry.

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    Printing Jobs Supply 25% of DTP Careers

    Overall, industry analysts expect the number of professionals working in the printing business to decline over the next decade. However, most of those lost jobs are the result of new desktop publishing technologies that replace complex, mechanical tasks with computer-driven DTP processes. Printing jobs requiring desktop publishing experience often pay more than $16 per hour. For many experienced printing professionals, getting desktop publishing training is one of the best ways to guarantee job security as the industry evolves.

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    Lithographic Printing

    One of the most popular printing methods involves a form of offset printing that is well suited to desktop publishing. DTP professionals can use industry standard software to create lithographic plates. In full-color offset printing processes, desktop publishers must create four or even five separate plates to handle the different colors of ink applied by a printing press.

    Careers in desktop publishing that involve lithographic printing require a keen eye for color and attention to minute detail. In many cases, desktop publishing experts working at printing companies must adjust or adapt layouts submitted by clients to accommodate the needs of print technology.

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    Screen Printing

    Many printers specializing in posters, apparel, and other objects of unusual sizes and shapes. According to industry experts, T-shirt printing accounts for more than half of the screen printing jobs in the United States. Desktop publishers find careers in the screen printing business by blending their design sensibilities with their technological skills. Many screen printing facilities employ desktop publishing specialists who can turn client designs into stencils using DTP tools.

    For more information on this lucrative field, see Wendy Finn's History of Screen Printing.

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    Quick Printing

    Over the past few years, desktop publishing tools have allowed the local copy center to evolve into a hub where businesses can get expert help on their printing needs. Many quick printing businesses now combine self-service photocopying machines will fully realized design consultation services.

    Quick printing jobs require a combination of desktop publishing prowess and customer service skills. Some quick printing centers offer fast-turnaround design services that require DTP experts to put together layouts with very little preparation. Other quick printing centers rent hourly computer workstations with desktop publishing professionals on standby to help users with their own creations.

Careers in Desktop Publishing

Though desktop publishing professionals tend to use similar tools, their jobs can involve a wide range of activities in a variety of fields. This six part series explores five of the most common industries employing DTP experts, along with tips for students who want to find desktop publishing jobs.
  1. Careers in Desktop Publishing: Exploring Job Opportunities for Publishers
  2. Careers in Desktop Publishing: Printing Jobs
  3. Careers in Desktop Publishing: Sign-Making Jobs
  4. Careers in Desktop Publishing: Web Developer Jobs
  5. Careers in Desktop Publishing: Freelance DTP Jobs
  6. Careers in Desktop Publishing: Getting Training