What is desktop publishing? 🖥

Creating visual displays for distribution or printing
May 26, 2023

‍Desktop publishing is how we create printed materials using a desktop computer rather than usual printing methods.

It's using a computer and software to produce visual displays of information and ideas. These desktop publishing documents can be included for actual commercial printing or just electronic distribution online, and includes PDFs, email newsletters, books, websites, even slideshows.

Desktop publishing is about using software to add and combine elements like texts and images, creating digital files for viewing online or for print. It’s not an active term used - most people just specify the type of document, but it’s a good broad term that covers all of them!

Many of these are done by people who specialize in graphic design, business-oriented people who need some documents to provide proof of concept, or really - anyone who needs more visual materials.

With desktop publishing and the right software, you can create many assets with it! You can:

  • Create brochures, flyers, ads, and posters
  • Make directories, catalogs, reports, case studies
  • Design logos and business cards
  • Publish magazines, news, newsletters
  • Write and design books and PDFs
  • Convert formats that are responsive for the web and devices like phones and tablets
  • Create resumes
  • Build forms like invoices, inventory sheets, memos, and labels
  • Publish blogs and websites
  • Design presentations, slideshows, and handouts
  • Create greeting cards, banners, postcards, and wraps
  • Make scrapbooks and digital photo albums
  • Design decorative product labels, envelopes, calendars
  • Draft product packaging for retail merchandise
  • Create store signs and logos, highway signs and billboards
  • Recreating work designed by others easily online

Whatever benefit it can bring is totally up to you and your business! So be sure to identify your business goals and see how various materials can help with them.

How do you get started with desktop publishing?

By the days pass, there are more and more solutions and platforms to create digital materials. Fortunately, many of them are free or are available for subscription!

We’d have to say that the leading desktop publishing software channels or programs come from Adobe’s Creative Cloud. All of the products by Adobe are customized to specific types of materials, such as Adobe InDesign for magazines and newsletters, Adobe Illustrator for creating attractive vectors and graphics.

Adobe provides monthly/yearly subscriptions, with a selection of products you can choose from. You can subscribe to just one or a few. Subscribing to all of the apps per month would be USD$80, but can be lower depending on which apps you need. Check out their menu, they would sometimes have package deals!

Make sure that when looking at desktop publishing software or platforms, look out for these features:

  • Layout and tools for typesetting
  • Character and paragraph attributes for customization
  • Multicolumn uses for pages tools
  • Vector replacement and editing

Here are a few other tools out there that we love (and use!):

  1. Good ol’ Google Docs/sheets/slides - for basic PDF’s, formal business documents etc.
  2. Canva - for resumes and social media postsa and videos, to logos
  3. Webflow - for websites
  4. Miro - for charts

In a nutshell, Desktop publishing is putting together digital files for almost any use, put in proper formats for printing or distribution. Graphic design is part of the process, especially in making attractive pieces of materials. Many of these are done through desktop publishing software, graphic design software, web design software, and many more. Today, there are hundreds of different solutions and platforms online. Explore them and choose what could be the right tool to making your materials!

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