A Day in the Life of a Desktop Publisher

What does a day in the life of a desktop publisher look like? These professionals are the ones that create the attractive layouts you see on books and brochures.

As a database developer, I’m excited to share my experience with you now. Let’s explore the joys and challenges I have every day!

What Does a Desktop Publisher Do?

Desktop publishers design and create page layouts for books, brochures, newspapers, etc. Then, they will be published online or printed.

The responsibilities of desktop publishers vary depending on the company. For example, if they work at a small company, they may carry out multiple tasks simultaneously. Meanwhile, those at big companies often focus on the steps of the publishing procedure.

Sometimes people are confused between desktop publishers and graphic designers. The difference is what they work with.

Desktop publishers create text messages, then combine them with graphic elements. These elements can be the responsibilities of other desktop publishers or graphic designers.

On the other hand, graphic designers work on the overall design look. They also have to convey the information clearly.

Desktop publisher working online using laptop

Throughout the day, I constantly switch between tasks. Thus, there is no fixed schedule for my job. Moreover, my timetable may vary depending on the project I’m working on.

I will list the tasks that I perform in eight hours a day. No matter which project I join, I’m always in charge of them. So let’s see what makes my day!

1. Check proofs

I check proofs and errors of my work. More specifically, I carefully review the publication after my colleagues have done their parts.

Next, I look for errors in the content, design, and alignment. If there are any mistakes, I will correct them to ensure the final copy meets the client’s requirements. It should also look appealing to readers.

2. Run software

Desktop publishing software, or DTP software, is a program that helps me develop and design editorial projects.

The software is a powerful assistant as it reduces much time working on the design. For example, I can use it to outline texts and edit documents easily.

There are tons of software choices out there, but I only choose the one that best suits my project’s requirements. One of my favorite DTP software is Adobe InDesign.

This software offers many functions. I can even design the tiny detail down to the level of a pixel. It also supports multiple languages.

Another powerful software I love using is QuarkXpress. It’s excellent at executing digital publications and content designs.

What’s more, QuarkXpress gives me complete control over the designs. Thus, I can easily turn my ideas into real life.

Besides those two options, I also use Canva, Scribus, LibreOffice Draw, and LaTex. They have unique features and are great for various design tasks.

Choose the best software for my task

3. Set up Text and Art

Another part of my job is to set up the text in a format that aligns with the client’s preferences. I also have to adjust it until it fits perfectly within the available space.

To perform this task, I work with various elements of the text. For example, the margins and spacing should follow the designated rules. The font size is important to establish the final look, too.

4. Collaborate with colleagues

Collaboration is an essential part of a desktop publisher. I work closely with copywriters, content writers, and graphic designers within my company.

In every meeting, we brainstorm ideas. Then, together, we decide on the best design and layout for the publication.

Sometimes, I work with the marketing team. I need to understand the publication’s purpose. It’s an excellent way to align the design to meet needs.

5. Design graphics

Designing graphics is one of the most enjoyable parts of my job. I use various tools to create eye-catching layouts. So to me, it’s a valuable chance to unleash my creativity.

When designing graphics, I have to ensure that all elements flow in a logical order so readers can follow easily. I can also remove unnecessary paragraphs and text to keep the design clean.

To create visually appealing designs, I pay attention to balance. It means the elements should feel harmonious and pleasing to the eye.

6. Write reports

Before starting any project, I meet with clients to learn their requirements. During the discussion, I take notes and write a report which outlines the tools and procedure.

This report helps me keep track of costs and resources for the project. I may also share it with my manager or project leader. In this case, it acts as a reference tool for future designs.

Write reports for all projects

How To Optimize Your Day?

I used to get stuck with my duties. Luckily, I successfully overcame my stress. After that tough period, I learned some tips to make the most of my working day.

To solve my time-management problem, I create a schedule to organize my tasks. I also set specific time limits for each.

Then, I list all the tasks and prioritize the more important ones. This tip ensures I tackle them first to stay on top of deadlines.

Besides, I choose the right publishing software and tools to help with your tasks. Thanks to their assistance, I can complete my tasks faster and more effectively.

Maintaining a work-life balance is essential too. So, I take short breaks throughout the day to remain focused at work.


Being a desktop publisher requires creativity, attention to detail, and a passion for design. Although the numerous tasks keep me busy, I love them! It is rewarding to know that my work can connect with readers.

Hopefully, my story can give you valuable details for those who intend to follow this career path. If you need more information to decide, please feel free to ask.

Thank you for reading!