Desktop publishing is a lucrative industry ...
From simple computer applications in 1985 when it was first introduced to highly-sophisticated and advanced layout programs today, this field allows anyone to publish their work: whether you're an artist, novelist, business person, self-help guru or want to design printed material and web sites for others. (If you aren't familiar with the term at all, click on what is desktop publishing to learn more.)
Before the advent of software programs, people had to hire professionals who used expensive machines to design brochures, newspapers, books, magazines or newsletters. Needless to say, design and layout was only for skilled professionals. But today, virtually anyone can do layout as competently as professionals who work for the big publishing companies by following the instructions in a book or watching a series of video tutorials.
The programs available that allow you to layout publications on your personal computer are constantly evolving. The big three are Adobe InDesign CS4, QuarkXpress 8 and Pagemaker. Each program is designed to meet certain needs. The big expensive programs like CS4 and Quark are for those who want to layout complex documents like books and magazines or for independent publishers and design houses. These programs will give you all the features you'll ever need to handle any project. A program like Pagemaker is perfect if you just want to make logos, flyers and brochures or layout books and ebooks.
Among the variety of publishing programs, Adobe InDesign, QuarkXPress and Adobe PageMaker are considered as the top choices. InDesign and QuarkXPress have multi-user capabilities that allow more than one designer to work on a book or catalog project simultaneously. Of course, these programs are also great for small and independent publishers. For instance, I have used both QuarkXpress and InDesign (I own both programs) to layout my books. Come to think of it, I also own an old copy of PageMaker. Click here for a review and comparison chart of the best software.
PageMaker doesn't quite have the feature set of other two. However, it offers intuitive and user-friendly functions that are best for designing smaller publications, like brochures and newsletters. The varied features of the top three desktop publishing programs will allow you to quickly determine which software package is right for you. One of them is sure to be right for your desk top publishing career, whether you are a publisher and layout the books you write or you are planning a career as an independent graphics designer.
Speaking of careers, you can create a lucrative career for yourself in this industry. By developing your aesthetic skills, understanding the software and how to use it to create the final product you've envisioned in your mind, you can work as an artist or as a freelance desktop publisher from the comfort of your home, attracting hundreds of clients from the internet. (To learn more about how to make yourself a career in the lucrative field of desktop publishing, see the last paragraph of this article.)
Working as an artist is a good way to go because you can experiment with your designing skills which in turn furthers develops your eye for aesthetics. What you learn in desk top publishing can be applied to all other art-related fields like digital art, photography and traditional art.
For the second career option, you can make a regular income just by sitting in front of your computer, getting jobs from clients and designing them based on what your clients want. Some writers and researchers, because of time and technical constraints, seek the expertise of those who are skilled with desk top publishing programs. You can design book covers, brochures, layout books or do countless other jobs. You can attract clients from your local region or online if you build a web site or both.
There is so much you learn and do in this dynamic, growing field. All you need is a piece of software, a personal computer, an artistic eye and your own creativity. Desktop publishing is a lucrative career choice that is here to stay.
~ Laura Ramirez