Desktop Publishing and Design Diploma Program Details

Penn Foster’s Desktop Publishing and Design Diploma Program consists of courses that will cover the basics of Desktop Publishing. You’ll learn to use your design skills to produce books, magazines, annual reports, and other longer documents. Additionally, you’ll learn how to design professional layouts with graphics and typography, create publications for printed and cross-media publishing, and more.

Program Goal and Outcomes

Program Goal

The Desktop Publishing career diploma program prepares students for a career as an entry-level desktop publisher, teaching such skills as page design and layout, as well as electronic publishing with InDesign software.

Upon completion of the program, students will be able to...

  • Identify the documents developed with desktop publishing systems and explain the skills necessary to become a desktop publisher
  • Follow the steps involved in the development of a document; explain the electronic publishing process
  • List key elements of a well-designed Web page; Identify the various components of a typical document
  • Identify the types and formats of illustrations used by graphic artists; know what it means to import and export art, as well as crop and scale an illustration
  • Plan and design business cards, letterheads, envelopes, promotional letters, résumés, brochures, flyers, and newsletters
  • Plan and design multipage documents such as books, magazines, and annual reports
  • Proofread and edit documents to produce well-written copy and use proper editor/proofreader marks
  • Identify the different types of computer input and output devices and know their purpose; locate the major internal components of a system unit and define their functions
  • List the most commonly used Windows commands and know their functions; customize the Windows OS
  • Customize a computer display; locate files; use the Clipboard and taskbar; view and organize files and folders
  • Create documents for print, digital, and Web publication
  • Apply InDesign desktop publishing skills in designing a full-color, two-sided poster
  • Prepare and convert electronically created documents to print

Succeed by learning how to use your Penn Foster program.


  • Understand how to use your Student Portal.
  • Access the Penn Foster Community and use it to find answers.
  • Connect with Penn Foster on various social media sites.


  • Review the history of publishing.
  • Understand the future of desktop publishing.
  • Learn about job opportunities in the field.


  • Use the document creation process.
  • Understand the compatibility of hardware, software, and users.


  • Plan your designs taking into consideration the subject, audience, illustrations, charts, graphs, type, page elements, spacing, style, and publishing the page.


  • Know the types of illustrations used by desktop publishers.
  • Understand how to transfer document design skills to web page design.
Additional Unit Material

Supplement: Desktop Publishing Career Opportunities



  • Effectively plan and design business cards, letterheads, envelopes, resumes, brochures, flyers, and newsletters.


  • Use your design skills to produce books, magazines, annual reports, and other longer documents.
Additional Unit Material

Supplement: Starting Your Own DTP Business



  • Understand elements of a well-written document.
  • Edit and proofread copy.
  • Apply different editorial style and editing guidelines and procedures.
  • Learn tips to improve your keyboarding skills.


  • Identify the components of a personal computer and define their functions.
  • Understand the uses of input devices, removable media, and telecommunication devices.
  • Care for and maintain a personal computer.


  • Design professional layouts with sophisticated graphics and typography.
  • Create publications for printed and cross-media publishing.
  • Learn the graphic design process from planning to design to final output.
Additional Unit Materials

Textbook: Adobe® InDesign® CC: Classroom in a Book

Software: Adobe® InDesign® CC



  • Bring a print publishing project to a successful conclusion.
  • Understand hardware and software options.
  • Prepare documents for delivery to a commercial printer.
Graded Project

In this final design project, you’ll apply the skills you learned with InDesign® by creating a full-color two-sided poster advertising a local theater production.

Additional Details

Licensing and/or certification requirements for jobs in this field are not the same in every state and may include educational, testing, and/or experiential requirements beyond those offered in the Penn Foster Program. Prospective students should contact the state professional licensing board or similar regulatory body in the state(s) where they plan to work to determine their requirements before enrolling in this Program. Click here for contact information for state licensing/regulatory boards and certain industry licensing information.

Penn Foster Career School Accreditation & Licensing Details

Penn Foster has been accredited for over 50 years. Penn Foster Career School has been thoroughly reviewed and has earned several important accreditations, certifications, and licensing. Most importantly, Penn Foster Career School is both regionally and nationally accredited.

Surround Sound Support

A Committed Support System

While you can study independently, you’re not alone! With a dedicated Student Services department, the Student Community, and instructors just a call away, you’ll have access to the support you need.

Student Community

Looking to connect with other Penn Foster students? Our Student Community is the perfect place for you to interact with your peers — as well as Penn Foster faculty and staff — to discuss your online learning experience, congratulate fellow students, and share your Penn Foster experience.
Penn Foster Student Community
Sample Computer Programming Languages Lesson

Sample Desktop Publishing and Design Lesson

Penn Foster courses are written in a way that is easy to understand, and materials are broken down into manageable lessons. Take a look at what a Desktop Publishing and Design course would look like.
Computer Specifications
As you know this is an online academic program. This means you will need access to high-speed internet to begin your program. In addition, you will need access to a Microsoft® Windows® based computer running Windows 10® or later or an Apple® Mac® computer running macOS® or later, and an email account to complete this program.
We reserve the right to change program content and materials when it becomes necessary.
Microsoft and Windows are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Apple, Mac, and macOS are trademarks of Apple, Inc. registered in the United States of America and/or other jurisdictions.
Enroll Now Request Info