Graphic Pre-press Worker Kaimahi Whakairoiro (Mua Perehi)

Graphic pre-press workers use computers to prepare text and designs for printing.

Graphic pre-press workers may do some or all of the following:

  • receive material from clients to design or lay out for printing
  • input and set out text
  • scan and set out graphics
  • check that the text and layout meet printing requirements
  • proofread text
  • send proofs to clients for approval
  • prepare computer files for printing onto film or directly onto the press
  • send the files to a printer or to a digital printing press
  • manage the production of files from a digital printing press
  • keep up to date with new versions of computer software.

Physical Requirements

Graphic pre-press workers need to have normal colour vision.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for graphic pre-press workers includes:

  • work in printing or publishing companies
  • work with computers
  • design work.

Personal Qualities

Graphic pre-press workers need to be:

  • adaptable
  • organised
  • skilled at communicating and writing
  • good at problem solving and decision making
  • accurate, with an eye for detail
  • good at measurement and calculations
  • able to work well under pressure and unsupervised.


Graphic pre-press workers need to have:

  • knowledge of the design requirements for print, including fonts and typography, layout, colour management and design
  • understanding of the different printing processes and production methods
  • knowledge of design and graphics software.


Graphic pre-press workers:

  • usually work regular business hours or do shift work
  • work in offices, print shops or studios.

Subject Recommendations

A minimum of three years of secondary education is recommended. Useful subjects include English, design and visual communication, design (practical art), painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking (practical art), digital technologies and processing technologies. 

For Year 11 to 13 learners, trades academies and the STAR and Gateway programmes are good ways to gain relevant experience and skills.

These programmes may help you gain an apprenticeship, but do not reduce the amount of time it takes to complete it. 

Graphic Pre-press Workers can earn around $47K-$50K per year.

Pay for graphic pre-press workers varies depending on experience, the amount of shift work they do, and if they train or supervise others.

  • Apprentices usually start on the minimum wage, with pay increasing as they gain skills and complete unit standards.
  • After completing an apprenticeship, and with up to three years' experience, graphic pre-press workers usually earn up to $50,000 a year.
  • Senior graphic pre-press workers with more than five years' experience can earn $60,000 to $80,000.

Source: PrintNZ, 'PrintNZ Industry Report', 2017.

Graphic pre-press workers may progress to work as graphic designers, web developers, or advertising art directors. Some choose to start their own graphic design companies.

Years Of Training

3 years of training usually required

There are no specific requirements to become a graphic pre-press worker. However, most employers require you to have a qualification, or learn on the job while doing an apprenticeship.

Competenz offers a Level 4 New Zealand Certificate in digital processes for print, which includes a graphic pre-press programme. The qualification is achieved by completing an apprenticeship while working for an employer.

Some people enter this job after completing a tertiary course in graphic design.

Graphic Pre-press Worker