what is indesign?

How does InDesign work?

When you start creating a brochure, magazine or other print, you will need Adobe InDesign. This program makes great designs for prints, but also for online publications. InDesign is an extensive program with many possibilities. Let’s start!

What is InDesign?

InDesign is a design tool that allows you to create 2D layouts with image and text. You can create posters, banners, stationery, businesscards and many more print related designs. Whatever you’re looking to design, InDesign is your tool!

InDesign uses different elements to create and edit a file. I’ll take you into the basic principles of this program, which will allow you to get started with your first design. Want to get started with InDesign or develop your skills in a professional way? Then check the InDesign course.

InDesign important terms

We will start with some important terms you need to know before you start working with InDesign.

Workspace: This is the screen you see when you open InDesign. On workspace you can open an existing document or create a new document.

Application frame: Here you find all workspace elements. You can move, enlarge or reduce the entire frame or individual elements within the frame. When you work in the frame, the elements automatically adjust to each other.

Panes: These windows help you to keep the overview and change things. You can easily group, stack and link them.

Tools pane: Provides all the tools to create and edit the components of your design, such as images, illustrations, and page elements.

Document window: This window displays the file you are working on. You can view them as tabs, in some cases you can also link and group the windows.

Control panel: Displays all options for the selected object.

Use templates

Fortunately, you don’t have to find the wheel yourself. In InDesign you can use templates which you can customize to your own taste. You can also save your own designs as a template. This is useful when you want to use your design more often for other creations.

Tools to work with

Okay, you have opened a template to edit. You need different tools to do this. It sounds a little technical and it is. You’ll be designing until you’re satisfied with the results. Let me help you by sharing a few most used tools.

Selection tools

These are activated immediately when you open a file. These tools allow you to select elements to move or scale them. Note, when scaling, it may be useful to keep the proportions the same. To do this, press and hold the shift key on your keyboard.

The selection tools include the Direct Selection Tool. These are used to adjust individual point positions. It is a great tool to use when editing anchor points of elements. Elements are lines and shapes you have drawn with the shape or pen tool. Don’t panic, I’ll come back to this later in the article;).

Create text

InDesign is a perfect tool to create typography. The Type Tool is ideal for this. You can easily drag a new text block into your design, and then edit it. Type on a Path tool is also a beautiful tool. With this tool you can change any shape and line to a text path, allowing the text to accept different lines.

Example how to use the Type on a Path tool.

Create shapes

You can create shapes with the shape tools. You can find these at the bottom of the second part of the Tools panel, just below the frame tools. There are a few shape tools you can choose from: Rectangle- Ellipse- or Polygon tool or take the pen tool and start creating shapes of your own.

To make lines you use – how else can it be – the line tool. Press the shift key to create perfect horizontal or vertical lines. When you make shapes you also need colors. Edit it using the Swatches panel, under Window > Color > Swatches.

Now you’ve designed a shape with the right sizes, beautiful lines and color. To give shapes more life there are the Effects window. This allows you to add transparency, expiration and drop shadows to your design.

The drawing tools are essential for creating designs. The pen allows you to create custom anchor points. The pencil is also useful for drawing smooth shapes and lines. Do you want to use the drawing tools instead? Then a graphics tablet is no unnecessary luxury. I myself use a Wacom Intuos Pro Medium. As a professional I made an investment, if you first want to try out a drawing tablet to see if it is something for you I recommend the Wacom One entry-level tablet.

You might be a little bit overstated by all the possibilities with InDesign. I can tell you that this is only the beginning. Everyone can use InDesign, you only need to know where to begin and the right tricks. Want to learn more about Adobe InDesign and create professional designs? I’m happy to help you with a customized course. You can also take my online course(for now only in Dutch available), which will explain you step by step how to use InDesign in just one day!