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Desktop Publishing (DTP)

What is DTP?

Desktop Publishing (DTP) software allows people to create documents with a mixture of graphics and text. Examples of desktop publishing software are Microsoft Publisher and Serif PagePlus.

Desktop publishers can be used to produce documents such as business cards, leaflets, brochures, newspapers, magazines and newsletters.


DTP software can be cheap and printers at home are more common these days so people can design and print their own documents. Professional-looking documents can be made simply and without an extensive knowledge of graphic design.

The biggest advantage of using DTP is that it is frame based. Text and picture frames can be laid out on the page, and rotated, moved or resized as necessary. It is easy to import images from clip art or the web.

The view of the page is known as WYSIWYG (What You See IWhat You Get) because the view on the computer will be very similar to what you get when it is printed.

Graphic Designer Working
Graphic Designs

What to consider when using DTP


Will your document be landscape or portrait? Some document types are more commonly one orientation than the other. For example, business cards are generally landscape but newsletters are more often portrait.


The size of a typical piece of paper is A4. But that is too large for most DTP documents. The larger the number, the smaller the piece of paper. A5 is half the size of A4 and A3 is twice the size of A4. Documents can also be measured in millimetres, for example, an appropriate business card size is 85mm wide and 55mm high.

House Style

A house style is a set of rules to ensure that each document made by a person or company is part of an identity. To be consistent, each document should use the same logo, titles, colours, graphics and layout. For example, the NHS always uses a blue colour, the same logo and similar layout on each of its documents. Some companies have perfected their house style so that they are synonymous with a single colour - e.g. McDonald's use yellow and Coca-Cola use red and white.

DTP Documents

Business Cards

A business card is a small piece of card that must be simple and stylish.


The purpose of a business card is to clearly state the contact details of a person or company. Sharing your business card with other people is one way to promote your business or skills to attract new business partners or customers.


A business card must be uncluttered and clearly display relevant contact information, such as an email address, phone number or physical address. Today, business cards may also state social media contacts, such as Facebook pages or Twitter accounts.

Business Card Design


A flyer is a small handout that advertises an event or new product.

The purpose of a flyer is to clearly and quickly promote an event. It must be eye-catching and to-the-point so that people can immediately understand what it is about. Flyers are often handed out in the street or posted through letterboxes so if it is not clear people will just ignore it. 

A flyer should use a large title to promote the event, as well as appropriate graphics and information about the date, location and time. It should also contain contact details including a telephone number, website and email address.

Exhibition Poster


A poster is a large piece of paper that is put up to advertise an event and display more information than a flyer.

Posters should promote an event by using large titles and graphics to clearly describe where the event is taking place, when it is and why people should go. Because there is much more space on a poster than a flyer, additional information can be added and some kind of persuasion to entice passers by to attend.

Vintage Music Posters


A leaflet is a small folded handout that provides more information about an event or new product.

The purpose of a leaflet is to give additional details about an event. It can be used before an event to describe the different parts, such as the different acts in a circus or different bands at a festival. It can also be used during an event, such as at a school fair to list the different stalls. Because it is folded over it can display a large amount of information, with both text and graphics.

The front of the leaflet should clearly display the purpose of it and the text inside must be readable with images to break up the words. There may also be contact information inside the leaflet, such as directions to a website or social media page.

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