Desktop publishing offers a wide variety of career options as the skills involved are highly transferable. Often called graphic designers or layout artists, these professionals are responsible for enhancing the visual impact of reports, publications, advertising, commercials, videos, posters and signs. Working on computers with specialized software programs, they use images, print styles and visual effects to communicate their message clearly and persuasively. Specific examples of the work done by desktop publishers range from designing corporate logos and letterhead, to creating store counter displays, banners and posters, to designing titles, credits and graphics for film and television.
In graphic designing you work closely and extensively with your clients to create a product that is both visually appealing and able to fulfill the clients' requirements. From estimating the cost of materials and time needed to complete the project to determining the medium best suited to produce the desired visual effect, the ability to listen to and understand your clients' vision is essential to your success.
Traits & Talents
For a career in desktop publishing, you must be comfortable working with computers. You need to have a good eye for colour, balance and aesthetic design, be innovative, creative and logical and able to use these qualities to find solutions to visual problems. People drawn to this profession generally display an interest in subjects such as photography, illustration, drawing or other artistic pursuits. Being well organized is also important as desktop publishers have to be able to stick to a budget and work to tight deadlines.
This profession requires a substantial degree of self-promotion and salesmanship in order to get your designs accepted and produced. Desktop publishing embraces entrepreneurial artists who have a flair for being able to convey messages to clients and co-workers clearly and persuasively. You will spend a lot of time working in teams with marketing and graphic production personnel, therefore better than average interpersonal communication skills and the ability to get along with others are essential.
Many employees work for graphic design firms, magazine or book publishing companies, television and film studios, mail-order houses and advertising agencies. A substantial portion of the workforce is self-employed, working on a project-by-project basis. The work environment is usually a well-lit, well-ventilated art and design studio located in an office building or home. The work schedule is conventional, though you should expect some overtime hours for special projects or at certain times of the year. Those who are self-employed tend to work slightly longer hours in an often stressful and competitive environment.
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