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We have a small publishing company (Physical Children's Books ages 2 - 14 of different sizes) and currently outsource all our design and illustration job. We however now want to hire an in-house DTP operator for Page layout and Interior Page designs and for handling the corrections found in proof-reading.

The person will be setting up the text and readymade illustration & pictures on the pages and will prepare print ready PDF for the Offset printing presses. This person won't be creating the Artwork (pictures / Illustrations) himself but will be using our artwork in already created in photoshop and illustrator. We will still outsource the illustration creation job to freelancers and design studios.

Since we are not experts ourselves, we would really appreciate if the community can guide what would be the appropriate hiring process, interview questions and other hiring tips. Should we ask the candidates to design few pages from scratch?

We mainly use InDesign, CorelDraw for Page Layouts.

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There are assessment tests you can use based upon whatever software you have available.

Here are a couple companies offering assessment tests:

Just Google "software assessment tests".

These verify overall skill with an application, not creative prowess.

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Generally, a DTP operator is not a designer, ie. not responsible for creating the actual artwork. A DTP operator will normally handle pre-press processing after a design is approved. What you probably need is an actual designer who ideally also knows how to prepare items for print production.

In which case you need to request a portfolio from applicants and inquire about their pre-press skills. Ideally show them some samples of past work you have published.

A person with the right portfolio should probably be able to easily revise content and arrange assets across pages.

  • Thanks, we donot want the person to design the artwork, we are still outsourcing the artwork from different freelancers and design studios. We want someone to place the artwork on the page and maybe deign the layout as well. We use like to reuse some of our artwork that we have created earlier and have the Illustrator and photoshop files for – udi May 16 '17 at 15:42
  • I think you are mixing the terms. A dtp operator will not normally do layouts, but it is true that both these jobs can be performed by a single person, if you can find the right person. Why not have the freelancers and studios you are still working with also deliver the layouts? – Lucian May 16 '17 at 16:09
  • the main reason we need a person in-house is because of the excessive delay in sending and receiving the revisions. our Books are voluminous and requesting and receiving revision / multiple versions wastes a lot of time. Also sitting next to a person and explaining to him the changes desired is much easier also. – udi May 16 '17 at 16:46
  • I agree with @lucian that you may be mixing up your terms. When I read the word "artwork" I think of the pictures/illustrations. I think you are looking for someone who can take these illustrations and create layouts that combine them with words to create individual pages. If this is the case, you really do want a designer--but someone with a specialty in page layout. You need to find someone who can demonstrate experience with a program specifically used for page layout, like InDesign, and who also has experience creating print-ready files. – magerber May 16 '17 at 17:27
  • That is exactly what I am looking at, please suggest if editing the question is required. Thanks – udi May 16 '17 at 17:29

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