Trials and tribulations of InDesign


Photo by Laura Cross.

As an aspiring public relations professional, I understand the importance of utilizing and learning new tools to make you a competitive applicant in the job market and the importance of building skills to help you in your career. As a result, I was excited to learn about how to use Adobe InDesign.

I came into this project with a lot of experience with other Adobe programs like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Premiere Pro. But there was something about InDesign that I had always found intimidating. Mostly, the complexity of the software seemed overwhelming, and I had always left the program lurking dormant somewhere deep in an applications folder on my laptop.

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Control panels from left to right: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign. Photo by Laura Cross

At first, when tasked with learning the program I noticed a lot of similarities to other software such as Photoshop and Illustrator including many of the basic functions. Although the program was similar, it was not without its trials and tribulations.

One of the problems I encountered almost immediately was the process of placing an image on the page. Although importing an image is simple (File > Place), the process of sizing, cropping, and placing text around an image is challenging. Since the process of putting the page together can be tricky, it can be difficult to envision your final project. A tip I would recommend is drawing small thumbnail sketches first to discover layouts that will work for your page without having to go through a lengthy trial-and-error process on InDesign.

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In Design layers panel. Photo by Laura Cross

For new users of InDesign, I would also recommend using layers to your advantage. By using the layers tool, you can separate the different elements of your work. This separation makes your project easier to break down into more manageable visual components. The layers also allow you to duplicate elements of your page and try out different placements while leaving the original unchanged. This is also a good way to test different colors. Another useful tool is the internet. Use online video tutorials and walkthroughs to your advantage. A good source for tutorials is Lynda, an online video tutorial platform.

Although challenging at first, once you are past the learning curve it is easy to become comfortable designing using the InDesign software.

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