Print Designer/Prepress Operator

If you enjoy getting creative, working with technology and producing a useful product, a career in the printing industry could suit you.

Careers information

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What do they do?

Designers/prepress operators design eye-catching printed material; often discussing ideas with customers and then ensuring all digital files are ready for print and contain all the elements needed for a quality result.

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A typical day

Typically, an eight-hour day. Sometimes, longer days or weekend work is required.

Designers/prepress operators create designs ready to print. They use specialist software tools and have knowledge about design as well as print process requirements.

print designer

How to become a print machine operator?

You learn to be a print machine operator on-the-job and gain qualifications to support your skills and experience.

Sound like you? 

Study areasAttributesHelpful experiencePreferred work environments
  •  Sciences or Workshop Technology
  •  Creative Arts (Visual / Textiles / Graphics / Performance / Music)
  • Computing / ICT / Information Management
  • Strong eye for detail
  • Good literacy and numeracy
  • Confidence with IT, computers, technology
  • Good initiative/‘can do’ attitude
  • Making or fixing things
  • Working with machinery
  • Working with computers
  • Creative work (writing, drawing, styling)
  • Inside (workshop or plant)
  • One place every day

Career pathway

Entry level jobs
Advancing jobs
Senior jobs

Ideally, NCEA Level 2 passes in:

  • Maths, Visual arts, Technology, Computing, Graphics
  • Printing Production (Digital processes, Screen, Sheet Fed, Reel Fed, Pad Printing, Binding and finishing)
  • Print Designer
  • Prepress Operator
  • Team Leader
  • Supervisor
  • Production Planner
  • Business Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Business Owner
 Unit/Achievement standards in schoolsApprenticeshipHigher learningHigher learning