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How to Do Desktop Publishing


Beyond the basics of combining text and images are the specific tasks and techniques involved in creating readable, effective page layouts.
  1. Step-by-Step Overview
  2. Graphic Design Basics
  3. Creating a Page Layout
  4. Composing Page Elements
  5. Choosing Fonts
  6. Choosing Artwork
  7. Working With Text
  8. Working With Images
  1. Designing for the Web and On-Screen
  2. Using PDF
  3. Getting Ready to Print
  4. Printing Methods
  5. Design Trends
  6. Practice Projects
  7. Pick Another Path to Explore

Step-by-Step Overview

Reset Software Document Defaults

Get an overview of the entire process from start to finish.

  1. How to Do Desktop Publishing and Desktop Printing
  2. How to Do Professional Desktop Publishing
  3. How to Do Desktop Publishing as a Freelance Business
  4. How to Create a Greeting Card

Graphic Design Basics

Elements of Graphic Design

Desktop publishing involves the technical application of the elements and principles of graphic design.

  1. Elements of Design
  2. Principles of Design
  3. The Graphic Design Process
  4. Traditional Design & Prepress vs. Digital Design & Prepress
  5. Basics of Graphic Design Online Class

Creating a Page Layout

Doing page layout in desktop publishing software

Beyond the technical operation of the software, good design needs the right colors, exciting layout ideas, and tried and true elements such as balance, contrast, and white space.

  1. Best Page Layout Practices
  2. Parts of a Document
  3. The Perfect Page Layout
  4. The Rules of Desktop Publishing

Composing Page Elements

Compose Page Elements

Text composition is not only about choosing fonts and arranging elements, it's choosing the right elements to include in the layout.

  1. Text Composition
  2. Visual Artwork Elements
  3. Titles & Heading Elements
  4. Body Text Elements
  5. Navigational Text Elements

Choosing Fonts

Use a single typeface

Too many fonts clutter up a layout. The wrong fonts make it harder to read.

  1. The Single Typeface Document
  2. How to Mix 'n Match Fonts
  3. How to Choose Body Text Fonts
  4. How to Choose Headline Fonts
  1. True vs. Fake Bold Type
  2. True vs. Fake Italics
  3. Classic Serif Fonts
  4. Classic Sans Serif Fonts

Choosing Artwork

Choose Artwork Image by J Bear

A picture is worth a thousand words if it is used correctly.

  1. Before You Use Graphics in Desktop Publishing
  2. Using Clip Art on Resale Products
  3. Using Pictures of Paper Money
  4. Using Pictures of People

Working With Text

Type Composition

For most desktop publishing projects the text is the main element. Text composition involves both selecting the right fonts and arranging the text on the page.

  1. Typographic Punctuation
  2. Line Length
  3. Tabs & Tab Alignment
  4. Paragraph Spacing
  5. Leading & Line Spacing
  1. Kerning & Tracking
  2. Line Endings: Widows & Orphans
  3. Initial or Drop Caps
  4. Hanging Punctuation

Working With Images

Images are an important part of desktop publishing

Learn how to create, combine, and modify clip art, photos, and other kinds of images in your page layout.

  1. Calibrate Your Scanner
  2. Resolution
  3. Halftone Basics
  4. How to Draw
  5. 5 Ways to Modify Dingbat Fonts
  6. 10 Ways to Modify Clip Art
  7. How and Why to Crop Images
  1. How to Create a Clipping Path
  2. Drop Shadows vs. Cast Shadows
  3. Combine a Color and B&W Image
  4. Turn Color Pictures to Black & White
  5. Using Office Charts & Graphs
  6. Using Office Word Art

Designing for the Web and On-Screen

Add Web Design to Your Skillset

Desktop publishing software is increasingly integrating rich media content tools, making it easier than ever to produce complex content for multiple uses without specialized knowledge of HTML, Flash, or other programming.

  1. Language of Rich Media
  2. Learn Web Design
  3. Print Design vs. Web Design
  4. Text Wraps: Web vs. Print
  5. Designing Web 2.0
  1. Web Site Navigation Trends
  2. Dark Blue on the Web
  3. The Color Red on the Web
  4. Create Better PowerPoint Presentations

Using PDF

Create a PDF

Acronym for Portable Document Format, the PDF file format created by Adobe Systems, Inc. uses the PostScript printer description language and is highly portable across computer platforms.

  1. Get Text and Images Out of a PDF
  2. Subsetting Fonts in a PDF
  3. Make QuarkXPress PDFs for Desktop Printing
  4. Color Separations for PDF

Getting Ready to Print

Spot Color Separations

Prepress refers to the preparation of digital files for printing. Preflight is the final checks and double-checks to make sure that the files are ready for printing. These steps come between the design and printing.

  1. Traditional vs. Digital Prepress
  2. Preflight Checklist
  3. Sending Files to a Service Bureau or Printer
  4. Sending Fonts to a Service Bureau or Printer
  5. Sending Graphics to a Service Bureau or Printer

Printing Methods

Printing from a desktop printer

After creating a project you'll want to get the best output whether you use your desktop printer or commercial printing services.

  1. Person or Machine: Commercial vs. Desktop
  2. Offset Printing vs. Desktop Printing
  3. Common Printing Methods
  4. How to Specify Spot Varnish
  5. Binding Methods

Design Trends

Is it getting easier to find a desktop publishing job? What are the trendiest colors this year? Explore old and new trends in design and design careers.

  1. Trends in Logo Design
  2. Trends in Web Site Navigation
  3. Trends in Desktop Publishing Employment and Education
  1. 2008 Color of the Year
  2. 2005 Color of the Year
  3. Trends in Advertising Design

Practice Projects

Representation of the box for a bar of Saphon soap.

Flex your design muscles. Submit makeovers for critique by your peers. Build your portfolio with these makeover projects. Follow the parameters of each job to both hone your design skills and learn how to work with real world restrictions.

  1. Book Jacket
  2. Box for a Bar of Soap
  3. Brochure
  4. Business Card
  5. Calendar
  6. CD Case Sleeve
  1. Christmas Card
  2. Logo for T-Shirt
  3. Poster for Hot Dog Cart
  4. Poster for Art Festival
  5. Wedding Invitation
  6. Additional Graphic Design Portfolio Projects

Pick Another Path to Explore

If you find yourself struggling with some of the terminology and tasks described above, be sure to revisit the basics of desktop publishing to build a good foundation. Some of the tasks and techniques learned from the above tutorials are actually easier to perform with more advanced software too. Consider all the options available depending on the type of work you are doing.

  1. Basic Guidelines and Requirements
  2. Desktop Publishing Software
  3. Careers in Desktop Publishing
  4. Back to School With Desktop Publishing
  1. Things to Make Using Desktop Publishing
  2. Templates for Print and Web Publishing
  3. Jacci's Desktop Publishing Blog

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