Trials and Tribulations of InDesign

Public relations is a very dynamic career path. As a PR practitioner, I can write, edit, market, design, plan events, edit photos, create press materials, pitch to the media and develop relationships with target publics.

However, to do all of those things, there are few skills that I must know regardless of what I want to do as a student in the public relations field upon graduation. One of those skills is Adobe InDesign.

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InDesign CC2017 Release start-up screen. Source Auris Guzman Bautista

During my spring semester at the University of Maryland, I was tasked with the creation of a newsletter for an organization. I was in charge of writing, editing and designing it from scratch. Although, I was overconfident since even though I had no experience with InDesign, I had done multiple print media projects with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I thought this project would be easy-peasy due to my previous experience. Oh, how wrong I was.

It all started with the workspace.

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CYCLED! Newsletter pages 2-3 in a custom InDesign workspace. Source Auris Guzman Bautista

Since all three programs look fairly similar, there is a clear distinction between Illustrator and Photoshop. However, InDesign and Illustrator look so similar, but the way in which both software worked was different which put me a period of confusion for longer than desired.

Dropping pictures instead of place, not following the bleed margins, sorting to using layers for easier organization, are so of the few things I struggled with during the first week of this project.

Although I sort of “mastered” InDesign, there are a few things I would have liked to know before I started working on this project:

♦ Make multiple objects the same size: I like my items to be the same size. To make multiple objects the same dimensions, first set the height and width of one object. Then select the remaining objects and choose Object> Transform Again> Transform Sequence Again Individually.

♦ Fit Image or text to Frame: To fit a frame to a graphic: Double-click a corner of an image frame. Or press Cmd-Opt-C (Mac) / Ctrl-Alt-C (PC).

♦ Replacing an image with another: Choose File> Place to select an image. Then Option (Mac) or Alt (PC) click on an existing image on the layout you would like to replace with the new one.

♦ Preview a document: To see how your project looks without all those lines distracting you, just press W.

Despite the trials and tribulations I experienced while working on this project, I found the greatest lesson to be learned is to utilize the resources that already exist.

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Video overview of InDesign, the industry standard app for both online and printed media. Source: Adobe Help

By searching the Internet, I was able to find a lot of Adobe help resources. Some of my favorites include Adobe InDesign Tutorials, What is InDesign? The video, and Mark-Antony’s Website. Regardless this was a one-time project, I would also recommend subscribing to Adobe Creative Cloud newsletter and magazine since they offer free workshops for their software and they are mostly beginners-friendly.

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