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  • Prepress job?

    Hey guys, I'm new to the forum. I've been reading for a while and I like the sense of community. I'm in a bit of a pickle lately so I figured I'd post.

    Backstory: I have a BS in graphic communications which lightly touched on graphic design but was far more print-based. Interned in small shops so I had both designing and print experience. Landed a print management job right out of college and worked there for a couple of years and didn't enjoy it all that much (I was more of a CSR/secretary). Lucked out and found myself a graphic design job that I enjoy in my hometown where I've been working the past 3 years...long enough to learn a ton and build up a portfolio.

    So the thing is, I'm living in a somewhat rural town in the south and I am looking to move to Los Angeles soon (personal reasons plus the south is not where I ever intended on staying for this long). As you can imagine, the market is much more competitive out there. So I began applying for prepress jobs and I actually have an offer at a small printing business that I've not yet accepted. But for some reason I just feel so weird about it. I worked to get this graphic design job so now prepress doesn't seem as appealing. However I realize it will very difficult for me to find a design job when I'm out of state and don't actually have a design degree.

    So...my question to you all is, are there any graphic designers out there that took a prepress job? Do you find enjoyment in it? I fear that I'll lose all creativity and start hating it. Should I stay put until I find a design job I really want, or do you think it would be better for me to at least start working in LA to get my foot in the door somewhere else?

    Any advice is appreciated!

  • #2
    I went into prepress 17 years ago and never looked back. Not having to deal with clients on the design end of things has been a big plus in my book. Turns out I'm not what's described as a ''people person.''
    Granted the type of prepress I do is on the bleeding edge of graphic innovation so I get to play with a lot more interesting forms of print than a prepress guy might at a small shop. But then there are the all but impossible deadlines too.

    If design is your passion and you are moving to a new venue, remember, the printers are the ones that know more about what's going on in the local design industry than any designer working in only one studio. They always know who's hiring, who's firing, who's just starting up, who's been around and likely to stay around, who's good at what they do and who isn't... There are definitely worst places to start in a new locale than a print shop...

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    • #3
      At the end of the day you've got to pay the bills... :-)

      I looked at a couple prepress positions about a year ago but went in another direction.

      Have you thought about taking the prepress position and freelancing until you can land a creative position somewhere?

      I kind of do the opposite of that - I freelance so I can be a poor musician :-).

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      • #4
        I've never worked in prepress, but there have been several designers here who have, then moved on. Depending on the printer, you just might get more graphic design work there than you think. For that matter, some of those print customers just might turn into after-hours freelance clients.

        Also, there's really no better place to learn the nitty-gritty, ins and outs of production and printing than at a print shop -- especially at an offset or higher-end digital printer. Corner quick print shops might be another story, but if it pays the bills.

        Like PrintDriver mentioned, who knows, you just might like it and never look back, which is totally fine. A year or two of actual printing experience could look awfully good on a resume. It's amazing to me how many good designers I've interviewed over the years who failed to get hired because they didn't know enough about preparing artwork files properly for printing.

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        • #5
          Hi Dogqueen and welcome to GDF.

          We ask all new members to read very important links here and here. These explain the rules, how the forum runs and a few inside jokes. No, you haven't done anything wrong, we ask every new member to read them. Your first few posts will be moderated, so don't panic if they don't show up immediately. Enjoy your stay.
          Shop smart. Shop S-Mart.

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