Print Originator Careers

How to become Print Originator

What does a Print Originator do?

The work of a print originator covers a range of pre-press tasks from the design and approval of artwork, images, illustrations and text up to the actual printing process. These tasks can include:

  • digital scanning of images for insertion into documents
  • retouching images and creating example proofs
  • laying out artwork to plan how a finished page will appear (imposition)
  • using desktop publishing (DTP) software packages to layout the artwork, images and text in line with design requirements
  • proofreading and checking the whole document for accuracy and visual impact
  • preparing the item for reproduction in a format specified by the printer (reprographics)
  • preparing and checking the quality of any film or digital outputs
  • transferring the final image from film onto printing plates using an imagesetter (platemaking).

The type and size of the employer will determine how many of these different roles any one print originator performs. Many companies specialise in pre-press production for design houses or printing firms. Familiarity with computerised technology is increasingly important as digital printing processes become more widespread .

Origination printers work on the production of a wide variety of products including newspapers, magazines, books, stationery and packaging.

What's the working environment like working as a Print Originator?

Printers work 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, but flexibility is often needed to meet urgent deadlines. There are opportunities for overtime and shift work.

Print originators are mainly office- or studio-based. Some travel may be necessary to discuss contracts or products with customers.

Those involved in the preparation of material for scanning or checking of films will work in a clean and dust-free environment. Print originators responsible for outputting films may have to wear appropriate protective clothing to handle inks and when cleaning and maintaining machinery.

What does it take to become a Print Originator?

To be a print originator you should:

  • be able to pay careful attention to detail
  • be able to work quickly under pressure
  • have good colour vision
  • be able to concentrate for long periods
  • have excellent creative skills
  • have an aptitude for working with new technology
  • have some knowledge of common DTP software
  • have strong communication skills
  • be able to work as part of a team.

Print Originator Career Opportunities

The printing, packaging and graphics industry is the UK’s fifth largest manufacturing industry, and employs around 200,000 people in over 12,000 companies. The largest concentrations of employment are found in London and the south-east, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Leeds, Bristol and Glasgow.

Opportunities for print originators exist in specialist pre-press production companies, design houses, reprographics houses and printers. Many companies are small to medium enterprises, so duties may span several aspects of the print process. It is possible to move into printing administration roles such as estimator or production controller, or related areas including account management and general management.

Increasingly, traditional reprographics houses are diversifying into design, artwork, new media, website design and management. It is possible to move into any one of these areas with the skill and knowledge gained from print origination.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Print Originator that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Print Education and Training Forum
962 Alum Rock Road
Ward End
B8 2NS
Tel: 0121 789 5100

Get Into Print

British Printing Industry Federation
Farringdon Point
29/35 Farringdon Road
Tel: 0870 240 4085

Scottish Print Employers Federation
48 Palmerston Place
EH12 5DE

Proskills UK

The Institute of Paper, Printing and Publishing

Facts and Stats:

  • There are one million people in the sales profession, excluding retail sales

  • Half of all sales people are in business-to-business sales.

  • Until something is sold, nothing happens (think about it).
  • The sales process in company IT may take three years.

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