What is the importance of desktop publishing


What does DTP stand for?

The abbreviation DTP stands for desktop publishing, which literally means “publishing from the desk”. In fact, DTP means the computer-aided production of the layout or typesetting for a printed product, i.e. a prepress process. This has been technically possible since Apple, Adobe, Aldus and Linotype introduced programs such as Ventura Publisher and PageMaker in the mid-1980s. The QuarkXPress layout program followed in 1987.


Predecessor and history of DTP

As early as the 1960s and 1970s, mainframe computer applications allowed text capture and the determination of graphics space using punched tape. These in turn were fed into an exposure computer, which exposed films for the creation of printing forms.

From around 1992 DTP replaced various prepress techniques that were previously used for the production of print templates. At the beginning of the development, the DTP products could not keep up with the conventionally produced products in terms of quality - especially because the printers offered a resolution of just 230 to 300 dpi. But over time, advantages and time savings outweighed: For example, DTP made it possible for unformatted texts to be automatically read into the layout software and formatted there without having to be entered manually.


From desktop to cloud - publishing today

While DTP was intended exclusively for print productions, the next upheaval in the technical area related to publications on the Internet: Content management systems (CMS) were introduced for filling and maintaining websites, which - similar to DTP applications - simultaneously process one Enable content to be shared by several people from different locations. Another thing the two systems have in common: They are set to the respective publication channel.

At this point, cloud publishing has increasingly emerged in recent years. Its goal is to provide content across channels, i.e. to play it in the right form and at the right time in the right medium. To this end, editorial systems manage the data centrally in standard formats such as HTML, Word or InDesign. In addition to print, the media used in everyday life through which the content is then played include the following:

  • Web, e.g. B. via desktop PC for news platforms and forums
  • Mobile, d. H. Smartphone and tablet e.g. B. for messenger apps and social media
  • Wearables, d. H. Smartwatches and data glasses e.g. B. for apps in the health sector, augmented reality

Another feature of publishing via the cloud is that the publishers are no longer necessarily operators of the systems. Rather, they rent the software and related IT services. Examples of cloud publishing solutions are Adobe Creative Cloud or MEI TruEdit.


How is a print template created?

In summary, a print template is created in three steps. In consultation with the publisher of the publication, the prepress department creates a so-called Raw layoutthat reproduces the design, but is equipped with dummy text and placeholder images. That follows Pure layoutin which the final text and images will be inserted. If the publisher gives his approval for this, the prepress finally produces the Final artwork.


What is a DTP final artwork?

A DTP final artwork is the extension of the final layout that contains text and images in their final form. The parameters required for printing are set in the final artwork. These parameters are:

  • Bleed allowance and Crop marks for orientation in the cutting process
  • Color management for the exact reproduction of colors regardless of paper and printing process
  • Contour trapping to avoid white spots when several colors are printed on top of each other


What is a DTP point?

A typographic point, or point for short, is a typographic measurement system and a DTP point is a special digital unit. In general, the typographical point represents the smallest unit of the measurement system that applies, for example, to determining the size of letters. Accordingly, the DTP point is the smallest unit of the digital measurement system on which the PostScript page description language is based. It measures 0.353 mm.


Which DTP programs are there?

Some of the established desktop publishing programs have been around since the early days of desktop publishing. Since then the market has grown naturally and offers specializations in various directions (e.g. DTP for the creation of e-books). The following overview presents nine software solutions with their main features:

DTP program (first version)categoryoperating system
180 g of vellumMedia creationMac OS
Adobe Creative Suite (2003)
  • Multimedia suite
  • Video editing
Mac OS, Windows
Adobe InDesign (1999)Desktop publishingMac OS, Windows
Apple iBooks Author (2012)Desktop publishing with the option of including videos, photos, etc. in e-booksMac OS
Corel Ventura (1986)Desktop publishingWindows
Magix Page & Layout DesignerMedia creationWindows
Quark XPress (1987)Desktop publishingMac OS, Windows
Scribus Open Source Desktop Publishing (2001)Desktop publishing
  • eComStation
  • Haiku
  • Linux
  • Mac OS
  • OS / 2
  • Unix
  • Windows
Serif PagePlus (1991)Desktop publishingWindows


The world of work desktop publishing

As is so often the case today, a computer is at the center of the desktop publishing world. On the one hand, he needs software for creating and designing layouts and, on the other hand, a possibility to output the print template, for example as a PDF document.


What does a DTP operator do?

A classic DTP operator creates the print templates for later print products, working according to templates or designing the layout himself. The activity includes both the text and the image area: Text documents are formatted as well as images are optimized and assembled. On the organizational side, the DTP operator is responsible for project processing from order acceptance to briefing of those involved and documentation.

Today, DTP operators also contribute to the production of digital media, and text and image processing is also a central task here. Instead of the layouts for print products, screen designs for websites or apps are created. But the organizational area also resembles that of the classic DTP operator activity.


Where do DTP operators work?

The most obvious area of ​​application for DTP operators is the prepress and media prepress of a print shop. But they can also be sought after in the advertising industry, for example by advertising agencies. Or they work directly with the publishers of the media that are to be created, for example with software developers or in publishing houses.


Jobs in the DTP

Anyone looking for a job in the DTP - or in another area of ​​the graphics industry - should regularly visit the print.de job market. Here you can filter the job advertisements of the companies by profession, industry or company as well as place of work and you will always find the latest offers. The job advertisements are placed directly by the company.

⇒ You can access the print.de job market here.