Desktop Publishing vs. Graphic Design

Desktop Publishing vs. Graphic Design


While desktop publishing and graphic design share many similarities, they are not the same. However, they do have some common capabilities and features, and that can lead to confusion for those who aren’t sure exactly what sets each apart from the other.

An Introduction

Both DTP and graphic design are processes used to bring creative things to life. DTP centers on creating things that would once have been traditionally published, including flyers, brochures, books, websites and more from a computer. Graphic design, on the other hand, is the name given to processes used to create graphics, from product packaging to website design to social network avatars and more.

What Is Desktop Publishing?

Perhaps the best definition of DTP is that it’s the use of software on a computer, smartphone or tablet to create projects that can include business cards, book covers (and entire books), flyers, brochures, signs and more. It does involve design, and DTP can be considered a component of graphic design (but GD is much more than DTP alone). There are numerous tools used in DTP, including programs like Microsoft Publisher and Word, Apple’s iWorks suite and dozens of others. Usually, these tools combine a text editor or word processor with at least rudimentary tools for creating graphics and designing layouts. Tools range from those geared for home use to professional-grade software.

What Is Graphic Design?

GP is more than DTP – while it encompasses DTP, it also touches on many other things, including full website design, product packaging graphics, form, layout and design, advertising design and more. A graphic design company can be a desktop publisher, but desktop publishing companies are not always graphic designers (GD requires considerably more expertise and experience than DTP does). Like DTP, there are many different tools used in GD, including programs like Adobe Photoshop, Dreamweaver, Flash and too many others to list.

The Logical Separators

It might help to clarify the differences between DTP and GD if you think about them in terms of what’s created. DTP is generally concerned with creating text material, often combined with graphical elements. Those elements might be created by the desktop publisher, or by a graphic designer. GD, on the other hand, is concerned more with the creation of graphical means of conveying information. A business logo is an excellent example, but it goes far, far beyond that to typography, color grading, photography, web design and even advertising. In short, a graphic designer must have more knowledge and experience than a desktop publisher.

In the End

When everything’s said and done, it’s important to know what type of professional you need. Do you need to work with a graphic design company to create logos, stationery or a full website? Or do you need a desktop publishing company to help you bring text and graphic elements to life in a professional manner? Verify that the company you’re considering offers the services you need, but also that they have experience in the right field.

– Artwork Abode

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