Watch the Video Tutorial

This is what our final layout is going to look like. Note how everything in the layout lines up with grid we’ve established in the document setup.

indesign-mac-mini-sell-sheet

Go File > New in InDesign. We’ll create a single-page document with:

  • No facing pages
  • 3 columns
  • 9 point gutters
  • 18 point margins
  • 9 point bleeds

This is an explanation of point, picas and inches.

Units of measure Point, Picas and Inches

Using Fonts

This document uses two typefaces: Myriad Pro for titles and Minion Pro for body copy.

Myriad and Minion Fonts

Myriad Pro is a sans-serif typeface. It’s best used for headlines. Minion Pro is a serif typeface. It’s great for body copy. This is a good general rule: sans-serif fonts for titles and serif fonts for long lengths of text.

We need to activate these two fonts on the TypeKit web site. You’ll need to be logged in with your Adobe ID.

Styling Text

We’d risk making errors if we styled our text manually. Instead, we’ll use style sheets. They define the appearance of our text all in one place.

Paragraph Styles

We’ll start by setting the default font for our document, which in this case is Minion Pro.

paragraph-styles-panel

Most of the work we need to do to create this layout is simply creating paragraph styles, then applying them to the text.

what-is-a-paragraph-to-indesign

Paragraph styles can only style whatever is between to Pilcrow characters.

To InDesign, what follows is a paragraph.

The letter Z above is a paragraph, according to InDesign, because there’s a Pilcrow before and after it.

Character Styles

Character Styles are only used to style elements within a block, not the whole block itself.

indesign-character-styles

Columns of Text

The main text of our whole layout is in one three-column text frame.

indesign-column-break

The proper method to get text to jump to the next column is to insert a column break. You can do this with a right-click or by typing Enter, not Return.

Spacing Paragraphs

We want to create a visual indicator when a paragraph ends and another begins. There are two basic ways of doing this. You can add a first line indent or a space after each paragraph.

indesign-paragraph-spacing

You can see an example of a first line indent on the left of the above image. On the right, there’s a space after the paragraph. Choose one of the two treatments, not both. In this specific case, we’ll create space after paragraphs in our style sheet.

Master Pages

In publications, some elements repeat themselves on multiple pages. Rather than manually placing items on each page of your document, we place them on master pages.

pages-panel

You can see, in the image above, that the black bar with the  logo is on the Master Page. You can also see the letter A at the top of the document page. That means A-Master is applied to the document page. Anything on A-Master will appear on page one.

Bleeds

The bleed area is the narrow space all around the exterior of the pages ending at the red line. It’s extra space to prevent unsightly white area in case of inaccurate cutting by the printer. It’s generally one eighth of an inch. That’s 0.125” or 9 points.

indesign-bleeds

If content touches the edge of the page, you need to extend it to the bleed line. Be precise with positioning at the bleed. Go no further.

Placing Images

In Adobe-speak, importing an image is called placing. We’ll place the image of the Mac Mini on the page. When you place an image, it’s always inside a frame.

indesign-image-frame

In the image above, the photo has a brown frame around it. That’s our Photoshop file. The blue box is the InDesign frame. See more about placing images here.

Preflight & Package

The nature of an InDesign document is that it depends on certain files being present on your computer or online. These inlclude photos, graphics and fonts. If these aren’t present, the document won’t display properly. An image may not appear at all. A font may be substituted for another, changing the look of your design.

Font Usage

Once you’re done your layout, you want to double-check that your font and image usage is correct. Let’s check fonts first. Go Type > Find Font…. A dialogue opens which shows you which fonts have been used in your document.

find-font-dialogue

You can see in the Find Font dialogue that we only have the font we’ve actually used in our document.

Image Usage

We need to ensure that the images we’ve place in our document are properly linked to our file. To do so, we can check our Links panel. Go Window > Links. This panel has a list of each object we’ve placed on our pages. It also displays the properties of those images and graphics.

links-panel

If there’s a problem with an image, there will either be a question mark or an exclamation mark next to it in the Links Panel. A qestion mark means that the image has been edited since you placed it in InDesign. An exclamation mark means InDesign doesn’t know where the image is on our computer.

Packaging

The Package command is under File > Package…. The packaging process gathers all files related to an InDesign document, then copies them into a new folder. This folder has your self-contained project in it, which you an hand off to a printer for production.

indesign-package-folder

The package folder includes your InDesign document with all its support files — images and fonts. It can include a PDF of layout. You can also produce an IDML file which is your layout file, openable in older versions of InDesign.

The package folder automatically gets named with the document name. The whole folder is what you need to zip-compress to submit.

Handing in an InDesign document alone is completely useless and unusable. Doing so is handing in an incomplete project. You will earn a grade of 0 (F).

To compress the folder, right-click on it, then choose Compress… Submit that zip file.

Formative Activity

Use the provided design guide to build the document below. All the assets are provided in the folder.

indesign-our-first-layout-summative