Print production managers oversee the production of print projects including design, layout, and vendor relations. They require some college and usually need experience in the field. The job outlook for these professions is predicted to have slow growth to a decline in the coming decade.
Print production managers supervise an organization's printing processes for projects ranging from magazine advertisements to direct mail promotions. Managers typically have a postsecondary degree in graphic design or a related field and have several years of work experience.
|Required Education||Certificate or associate degree|
|Other Requirements||Experience in print production|
|Projected Job Growth (2019-2029)||1% for industrial production managers; -21% for prepress technicians and workers*|
|Median Salary (2020)||$108,790 for industrial production managers; $41,410 for prepress technicians and workers**|
Source: * U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Job Description of a Print Production Manager
Print production managers oversee a print project from the initial phase of reviewing client requirements to the final stages of production and distribution. These professionals generally work for organizations and companies, managing and directing newspaper, mailings and other advertisements. Work usually takes place in an office environment and may include meeting with clients to understand the scope of the project, making phone calls to vendors and using computer software to finalize designs.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), job openings for prepress technicians and workers are projected to rapidly decline from 2019-2029 due largely to greater technological resources and the transition of many print items to online formats. What this entails for those managing the production of print will likely depend on the needs of the specific employer, though experience supervising workers and machines will remain valuable. As of May 2020, the BLS reports that the mean yearly salary for prepress technicians and workers is $43,370. Managers of industrial production and advertising and promotions earned a mean annual income of $118,190 (www.bls.gov).
Project Initial Phases
Print production managers may approach a new project by meeting with sales executives, account managers and clients in order to understand the client's vision, needs and requirements. These meetings include specific questions and conversations ranging from choosing appropriate images and paper quality. Upon conclusion, managers may begin researching material and labor costs, as well as project time frames in order to create a bid for the client. Lastly, print managers may present the finalized proposal to superiors or the client in order to gain project approval.
Print production managers are also responsible for maintaining relationships with current suppliers, as well as interviewing and qualifying new vendors. According to job postings in February 2011 on CareerBuilder.com, print production managers contact vendors in order to attain price quotes and estimated material delivery times. Managers may then evaluate quotes and use cost-benefit analysis to determine the best source for the job. After ascertaining which vendor to use, print production managers may call the appropriate vendor to negotiate and finalize price.
Once vendor materials have been secured, print production managers may work with the graphic design department in order to ensure the integrity of the client's design and manage project quality. This may include reviewing design specifications and troubleshooting any issues, such as font size and image alignment. Additionally, managers constantly communicate with clients regarding production stages and project status. Other duties may include supervising production artists during preflighting, or minimizing repetitive or excessive imaging.
Print production managers usually require completion of a certificate or associate's degree program. The jobs requires oversight of the entire printing production process, and managers need specific knowledge of graphics, fonts and print design. These positions have an annual median salary of about $109,000.