2 Main Reasons Why You Should Be Using InDesign

using-indesign.jpg


If you’re serious about designing and want to break into the industry, whether that be for another company or your own, you really should get yourself familiar with Adobe InDesign. This program is the industry standard for creating just about anything these days. From print to digital, InDesign is your go to for page design and layouts.

InDesign is meant for handling multi-page documents with text, vector work and images. It’s perfect for projects such as stationery, resumes, pamphlets, reports, catalogs, interactive publications, books, magazines and more.

The program is jam packed with features to make your projects top notch and professional.

Here are 2 ways InDesign will take your designs to the next level.

You’ll be able to create amazing layouts in seconds.

In InDesign you can create precise grids and guides to produce the perfect layout for any type of project within seconds.

When starting in InDesign you can choose from a variety of templates such as book layouts, brochures, business cards and plenty more to help you build your project. It even has templates in their Adobe Stock service that you can choose from to get you started. (Adobe Stock is an additional service that gives you access to high-quality, curated, royalty-free photos, vectors, illustrations, videos, templates, and 3D assets.)

Also, rather than using a template, you’re able to choose from one of the many preset documents such as Letter, Legal, and Tabloid, amongst others. If you have a specific file size you need to work in, you can also type it into the “New Document” screen (shown below).

 
indesign-new-document.png
 

In the right column of the “New Document” screen, you can see all the different ways you can customize your document. You have the flexibility to work in a variety of different units, depending on what your project needs. Customize even further by setting your pages up with more details using columns and margins for the perfect layout.

 
indesign-settings.png
 

For example, say you want to create a layout for a tri-fold brochure, this is how you would want to set up your document:

  1. When working with a print document you’re going to want to set your units to Inches.

  2. Set your width to 11in and your height to 8.5in. You can also do this by clicking Letter in the presets and changing the orientation to Landscape by clicking on the appropriate icon.

  3. Your pages should be set to 1

  4. Under columns you’re going to change it to 3, and you can leave the gutter as the preset 0.1667in unless you have different specifications from your client/printer

  5. For your margins, you can adjust to what’s needed for your safe space. I usually stick to .25 inches on brochure layouts so that nothing’s too close to the edge

 
indesign.png
 

Once you have all your settings in place you can select OK and then you’re document will look like this:

 
indesign-layout.png
 

Your layout is perfectly created without ever having to manually drag your margins to set it up. This is great for saving time and also from preventing errors. This can be done for any project type and helps create precise layouts resulting in beautiful work.

The typesetting features will bring your designs to a new level.

With InDesign you will have so much control over your text and also be able to do some pretty amazing designs using their long list of features.

You will be able to give your text an artistic touch with features such as drop caps and leading. Drop caps are large capital letters at the beginning of a text block that drops below the baseline of your first sentence.

indesign-dropcaps.png

Leading is the space between the letters in a word. If you can master this, it can be used to really make an impact on your designs.

indesign-leading.png

Within your text boxes in InDesign, you’re also able to create seamless layouts. In the Text Frame Options panel, you can choose from a bunch of different options to customize the text box. You can create balanced columns, set your inset spacing which is basically like an invisible border around your text, and adjust the vertical paragraph alignment within the text box. There’s also more advanced options such as baseline options and footnote options.

text-frame-options.png

Another great feature is threading text. This is when you connect ongoing text from one text frame to a different text frame. This is perfect for text heavy projects. For example, when you’re copying text from a word document and pasting it throughout your layout, you can have it flow through different boxes without having to manual break up the paragraphs.

threading-text.png

In this document (which is a copy of this blog post), I pasted from a Google Doc into InDesign and then:

1. Created two text frames, one full width of the document for the top half and one full width of the document for the bottom half

2. I pasted the text into the first text frame

3. To thread the copy to flow into the bottom text frame, I clicked the out port button (shown below in red)

4. Then I clicked on the bottom text frame, which connects the two text frames together

5. For the top half I created 2 columns using the Text Frame Options panel

6. For the bottom half, I left as is

out-port.png

As you change up the way you want your text frames to be, all the text will adjust accordingly. I love this because it allows you to play around with styles without constantly having to copy and paste text.

Another great feature within InDesign is the Style Sheets. There are Character Style Sheets and Paragraph Style Sheets — character styles are applied to text within a paragraph and paragraph styles are applied to entire paragraphs.

By having these features it helps keep consistency throughout your document by having presets stored. In your Character Style or Paragraph Style panel, you would create and name the types of styles you want, and then they stay stored within your document.

For example, if you want your header to have the font Futura at 20 points, bold, and in all caps, you would:

1. Click “New” in the Character Styles Panel

2. Name your style “Header”

3. Click “Basic Character Styles” in the Character Styles Options panel

4. Then choose Futura, Bold, 20 point, All Caps

5. You can toggle through the other options in the left sidebar to change other attributes such as color

6. Click OK once you have your desired preset style

 
indesign-character-style.png
 

To use this in your document, you would just have to highlight the text you want to have that certain style, click Header in the Character Styles Panel, and then it will automatically change to those presets. If you decide to change the style later on, it will automatically update any text that was set to that style in the document.

style-sheets.png

Combining Layout & Type

Once you’re able to get your layout and typesetting down, your designs are going to look ahhhmazing. Just by mastering these two areas, your designs are going to be next level. You’ll be well versed in how to create top notch documents and you’ll be on your way to knocking out any type of project that comes your way.