After writing my last article I went back to re-designing my professional website where I offer desktop publishing and design services. Admittedly, I've been stumped on designing my own site. So off to browse the internet I went to peak at what other desktop publishers were doing.
Where I ended up was on the US Department of Labor, Bureau of Statistics website. Under the Publications tab was the "Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2010-11 Edition." And the outlook for desktop publishers was looking bleak -- they predicted that between 2008 and 2018 the amount of desktop publishing jobs available are likely to drop by almost 25 percent! This is, of course, because of the increased use of the internet for publications such as newspapers, periodicals, books and newsletters.
What other opportunities are there going to be for desktop publishers in the future? Well the first answer is right on the page I was looking at -- the little PDF link up in the corner. I clicked on it and a PDF file downloaded and opened presenting to me the same information on the screen but in a double column format, with headings, bullets, photograph, chart and captions, and I thought to myself "this was desktop published." How many PDF files are on the internet to download? When was the last time you bought a computer or software package and the manual was a PDF file included on disk? How did the Bureau of Labor Statistics miss that little market for desktop publishers? Well, they were defining desktop publishing as creating publications that would be heading for the printing press.
Not anymore! That definition can be expanded to include not only PDF files, which are almost any document that can be downloaded from the internet or put on disk, but also publications for eBook readers, or even PowerPoint presentations. Who says what you create can only be sent to press?
As a desktop publisher, if you can create a newsletter, design a logo, crop photographs, then you can also transfer those skills into website design. There are many programs available that you can drag, drop and arrange all your elements for the page you are creating without knowing any HTML code.
Now although it may not be long before restaurants hand you a Kindle to view their menu options, or your doctor's office passes you an iPad to fill out a patient form while sitting in their reception area, and even as many small printers are going out of business, desktop publishers can expand their areas of expertise to keep their jobs secure and their businesses growing.