By Elizabeth Corcoles
Being technologically literate is becoming more and more important in the public relations workplace, and having experience with Adobe programs is sure to look great on your resume. Using InDesign for the first time can be intimidating and confusing. But once you’ve mastered the features in templates, master pages, layers, fonts and images, you’ll be creating a new project in a flash.
Adobe’s InDesign is a design industry-standard application that allows publishing in both digital and print. The program allows users to expand their skills and expertise in print and digital marketing, making it a great tool to master for both journalism and public relations students.
1. Choosing the right template:
When creating on InDesign, it is important to know what type of project you’re designing. Whether it’s for print, web, or mobile, choosing the right template is essential for an effective layout. If you’re not comfortable with creating your own templates just yet, you can use one of the pre-made layouts suggested by InDesign.
If you choose to create your template, decide if the template you need is for print, web or mobile. Also, determine if the layout orientation should be horizontal or vertical and how many columns you need.
Select your template and choose whether you need print, web and mobile on the top left. Orientation option to the top right allows you to choose whether you want a horizontal or vertical layout.
Once you create the template or open a premade template, on the top right you’ll see a button that reads “advanced.” Click that button and it will expand allowing you to choose whether you need advanced features, digital publishing, interactive for PDF and so forth. These sections will give you the necessary tools needed to create your file.
Since this is a beginner’s guide, we’ll be working with the feature “Essentials Classic” that is located on the top right corner
Essentials Classic offers six features’ pages, layers, links, stroke, color and swatches. As you become advanced with InDesign, you can choose different settings.
2. The importance of a master page:
The master page feature on InDesign works as a template that incorporates a design, text or audio onto every page. The master page feature is found on the top right and is titled “pages.” This feature is important because it can save you a lot of time when you are incorporating a design or text, without having to do it to the master page. Be sure to consistently save your work along the way.
The master page is the first feature on Essentials Classic and is located on the top right. Double click the masters page to be directed to the page.
So, you’ve added all the text and images onto your master page, what now? Your next step would be to gather your ideas and plan out where you want to place your content. To begin, you’ll create layers.
The layers feature comes in handy because not only does it allow you to layer images and text, but it makes it so much easier when changing a design. Three basic sets of layers to include when working on InDesign are text, images and background. Clicking on the separate layers is important when incorporating text, images or background images; it saves you the headache of going back and changing the layers.
The “layers” feature is located directly underneath the “pages” feature, so it should be easy to find. The first layer you’ll find is your default layer titled “layer 1,” from there you can add a new layer by clicking on the plus sign on the bottom right. Changing the layer names is important to keep yourself organized.
To lock and hide content you click on the section of your choosing. You can find the icons to the left of the section.
When using layers, you can hide layers you do not want to see. For instance, if you’re editing text that is sitting on top of an image, you can lock the image, so it stays in place. To lock the image, click on the box that sits before the images section and the lock will appear. The same goes for content you want to hide while editing other content. Click on the eye icon to the left and all of your content for that section would be hidden. Again, to make content reappear, you’d click where the eye icon was, and your content will be visible.
3. Fonts and where to find them:
InDesign offers a variety of fonts that are available for immediate use. The fonts can be found after selecting the text tool that is sixth down the list and located on the far left of the document. The fonts have different effects, which you can use to fit the aesthetic of the project you are creating. But if you find that the fonts available are not suited for your project, you can add fonts with InDesign Layout Love curated by Adobe.
The image to the left indicates where to find the paragraph alignment box. The image on the right indicates where to find the fonts and size.
Additionally, there will be times when a “Missing Fonts” sign will pop-up when opening a new document. To find the missing fonts, the program will suggest to either replace the fonts with similar fonts or skip and incorporate different fonts.
The “missing fonts” pop-up may appear every so often when the fonts are not available in your computer. You can either replace the fonts or skip this all together and replace the text with available fonts.
4. High quality images:
When it comes to images you want to ensure every image is high quality. First, you want to create an image box from the tools on the left and from there you can drag the image in. You can also go to the file on the top left and select “place.” From there, choose the image for your document.
To place an image onto your document, go to file and select “place.” You can also use the “open” tool.
What if you’ve added your images in, but they don’t exactly fit the frame? This is an easy fix. Right-click on the image and select “fitting” from the list. Once the list expands after selecting “fitting”, select “fit frame to content” and the image will fit the image box. Now your images fit the frame perfectly!
Sometimes the image does not fit the image box, to fix the issue, right click on the image and select “fitting” and then “fit content to frame.”
Before you think you’re done, go back and look at your content and ensure your spelling is correct and your images are in a high-quality display. Checking your images are in a high-quality display requires a right-click and selecting “graphics,” then selecting “high quality display. Your results should show you have no errors.
These are a few basic tips everyone should know when working with InDesign. But before we go, here’s one final tip. Whether you are producing for print or digital, it is important to know what ink palettes to use and how to check you are using the correct palettes. CMYK is used for print and RGB is used for digital. To ensure the best quality of your projects, be sure to use the correct ink palette. Looking for this feature on InDesign is simple, select the “color” tool to the right, and the toolbar will expand to show your ink palette.
Ensuring your ink palettes are correct is simple to do. Select the “color” tool and the tool bar will expand.
Your photos are also important when it comes to whether you’re creating a project for print or digital. Images will for the most part be in RGB. But if you need to change your images ink palette, Photoshop is the program to use. Open the image on Photoshop and select "image" located on the top toolbar. Select the “mode” feature found under “image.” Once you click, you’ll change your RBG photo to CMYK.
Changing the ink palette on Photoshop. Select “image” found on the top tool bar and select “mode.”
InDesign is an important tool that if mastered, can help elevate your projects in print and design. InDesign is used in digital marketing, graphic design and interior design just to name a few, so why not expand your skills and raise your potential.
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