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Who Are Typesetters And What Is Their Profession About?

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Summary: While choosing an advertising agency suitable to you. You should consider the agency which has a work flow pattern which can accommodate and support an in house typesetter with traditional typesetting equipments. Another option to look for is the typesetting services. These companies work for advertising agencies and provide services related to type and mechanical paste ups.


Typesetters work directly with graphic designers giving them input on the overall effect certain type styles will have on a finished piece and the special techniques available that will enhance the way type interacts with the other graphic elements of the project. Therefore, a good typesetter is more than a fast and accurate typist with the ability to operate typography equipment. They are usually well versed in the principles and methods of graphic design.

If you are interested in typesetting, there are several sources for training in this field. First, if you are still in college, check out your school newspaper many of these publications have their own typesetting equipment. This is an excellent opportunity for you to learn how to operate the equipment and gain some practical experience. In addition, many typesetting houses are now offering courses like "U Set It" or "Set It Yourself Typesetting." These are six or eight week programs primarily geared to nonprofit organizations and small businesses that cannot afford professional design and type services. I have known quite a few typesetters who got their basic training this way. Some technical schools and community colleges around the country offer programs in typesetting. The advantage of a formal training program is that many of them will require you to take additional support courses in advertising and graphic design. And the accredited institutions will offer degrees or certificates upon completion of their programs.

An ad agency with in house typesetting has a definite advantage over its competitors. Since type is a major part of most agency projects, the ability to generate it quickly and make changes immediately can alleviate production stress and client aggravation. Production stress occurs when clients make last minute changes just before a deadline for something to go to a publication or a printer. Graphic designers panic with last minute changes because they usually mean running out to a typesetter and losing valuable time as the deadline approaches. Client aggravation runs rampant when production people tell them that they will miss their deadline if more changes are made. The in house typesetter can save that valuable time.

In house typesetting has become more prevalent in agencies of all sizes. Equipment, once extremely expensive and space consuming, is now relatively affordable and compact. Traditional typesetting is also getting pushed aside by personal computers like Macintosh, IBM, and Amiga that run programs specifically designed to provide graphics and typesetting capabilities. These systems enable the designer to produce camera ready layouts and near typeset quality type using a laser printer. Laser printed type is usually considered acceptable quality for newspaper ads, brochures, some magazine publications, and newsletters. When greater clarity is needed, the type produced with these computers can be easily transferred to a disk or sent by modem to a linotronic printer which can produce typeset quality. Because of the expense, few agencies have their own linotronics, but typesetting houses are making their units readily available to those agencies with in house computers.

This is not good news for would be typesetters, with the emergence of computerized graphics and typesetting, agency designers now have the ability to do practically everything themselves. And in many cases this eliminates the typesetter altogether. So in choosing an advertising agency to work for you will definitely need to look toward the larger ones whose work flow can support an in house typesetter and traditional typesetting equipment. While it is not inconceivable that an agency would hire a trained typesetter to work on a personal computer, it is unlikely unless that typesetter is also a skilled and talented graphic designer. Aside from agencies, your second option for employment is a typesetting service. These companies work with advertising agencies to provide them with type and sometimes other related services such as mechanical paste up. Working with a company like this, you will be exposed to agency people and the work they produce. This will give you an opportunity to get to know key people and become familiar with the various agencies' account work.

Within the last several years there has been a rapid interest in the number of one person typesetting shops. As with photographers, experienced typesetters with an entrepreneurial spirit and some money to invest in equipment often set up a typesetting business in their homes or a small office. They are able to offer their services to agencies and other clients less expensively than the large type houses. This is extremely attractive to agencies who have clients with modest budgets. If this small enterprise can also pick up and deliver, the shop will soon have a thriving business.

The demand for rapid turnaround in type is essential, but quality and price are also major issues to agencies and their clients. As a result, agencies work with many different typesetters. Some are known for quality, some for expansive capabilities, some for low prices, and others for quick service. While agencies are plagued by and prefer to ignore the vast numbers of freelancers and subcontractors who come peddling their services, art directors and designers are always interested in talking to a new typesetter. Type is needed constantly, and if one typesetter cannot do the job in time or on budget, a designer had better have an alternative available.
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