D is for Desktop Publishing 1


Desktop Publishing is a very unique term, in my mind, because it refers to a service that many individuals and businesses need, but have no idea what it is called! Many graphic designers technically have a career as a Desktop Publisher, but they rarely lay claim to that title (at least in my experience) because it is often met with blank stares.

Desktop Publishing is, in simple terms, computer-based publishing. If something is going to be printed, a desktop publisher is the one who will prepare it to go to print, using programs specific to the print industry.

Technically speaking, if you create a report through your preferred document program – Word or Pages, etc – throw an image or two in their and send it to your in-office printer, you have completed the tasks of a desktop publisher on a very basic scale.

Professionally speaking, the process is much more complicated and the programs are much more comprehensive, expensive, and have a learning curve that discourages most amateurs. It’s why Desktop Publishers are able to stay in business! Our skills, our crafts and our equipment are the barriers to entry for the field.

Personally, I use Adobe InDesign for most of my publication work, whether it is to be printed or digitally promoted.

D is for Desktop Publishing_Post Image

Print & Digital Magazine Work in Progress

Desktop Publishing is also more than throwing a few paragraphs together within the margins and hitting print. In addition to the composition of the artwork, which you may remember requires just the right balance – there are many, many details that go into even a simple pre-production project.

  • Paragraph Styles (Headings, body style, call outs, quotations, bullets and more)
  • Page layout (margins, bleed, headers, footers, columns and more)
  • Color settings (print vs digital, process vs spot and more)
  • Fonts and typography
  • Image styles (resolution, borders, framing, alignment and more)
  • Alignment (justified vs jagged, hyphenation, widows and orphans)
  • Character Styles (drop caps, bold, italic, captions and more)

These are considerations that average letters and reports do not have to adhere to, but this is just a sampling of the professional printing requirements. If you are interested in publishing a book, brochure, flyer or any other printed piece, it is best to engage the help of a Desktop Publisher!

Need help right now? Send me an email: monique@designedbymonique.com

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Monique Nelson is the head designer for Designed by Monique and loves to focus mainly on creating epic, attention grabbing and click demanding book covers!

What's your take on the topic?

One thought on “D is for Desktop Publishing

  • Colleen Sheehan

    So many people don’t realize how much work goes into even a simple-looking design or that there’s even really a name for it. It’s good reason for a designer to not undercut their work just because it looks clean and simple. Odds are good just as many hours went into that as some of the fancier designs!

    Great post!