Becoming Friends with InDesign

Software Tutorials

Before starting this project, my software skills on InDesign were limited, I had only used it once in a demonstration class at A Level. InDesign is intimidating, it’s scary and professional. So, I ignored it and stuck with my best friend Illustrator for two years, I even designed a 12-page magazine on Illustrator too.

Until I started this course and knew that I had to master this software, for the sake of my career. Through the tutorials and guided sessions, I began to break the ice with InDesign. I started to see how useful and powerful it is as a piece of design software. When the time came around for the InDesign task, me and InDesign were certainty on acquaintance terms.

I have explored some of the online tutorials available, using adobe tutorials as my starting point. I could list all the new things which I have discovered how to do on InDesign, but I have taken away more important lessons.

  • InDesign has a huge extend of tools available to use
  • The internet is a good stating place to discovering what InDesign can do
  • InDesign isn’t so bad once you start hanging out and getting to know each other

Sorry Illustrator, but pros work with InDesign.

Design Idea & Process

Typography for Design Nerds

Screenshot 1 – Drop Shadow
Postcard 1 – Typography for Design Nerds

With my first design idea, Typography for Design Nerds, I started out by exploring the Adobe InDesign Tutorial for some inspiration. The Create a Retro Effect jumped out to me because of the funky typography. Through the properties panel (Windows → Properties) you can access the text effects by clicking on the fx button, circled in Screenshot 1. For this project I thought that the drop shadow, with yellow as the contrasting colour, was eye catching and visually exciting.

 Design Nerds

Podcast – For Design Nerds

For this postcard I chose to extend one of my podcasts covers, Podcast – For Design Nerds When looking for some inspiration I found this postcard, Inspiration – The Secret Garden, and quite liked the interactionbetween the text and the image, something which I hoped to achieve in my own postcard.

I challenged myself to create an interactive pdf, using this tutorial. I found it so much easier than I thought it would be.

Screenshot 2 – Adding a Link

With the text (or object) selected access the hyperlinks window, see Screenshot 2, and paste in the link. When saving make sure you save as an interactive PDF.

Postcard 2 – Design Nerds

   Typography is the Art of Arranging Letters

For my final postcard I again have taken inspiration from another Adobe InDesign Tutorial, and learnt how to use drop caps. A skill which I have been able to transfer to the book project. I have achieved this by selecting the first letter and then over in the paragraph settings and increasing the Drop Cap Number of Lines, Screenshot 3. To add an image into a letter, I had to firstly change the editable text into a shape, by converting to outlines, Screenshot 4. Then insert in your selected image, by using the place function, Screenshot 5.

Screenshot 3 – Drop Caps
Screenshot 4 – Create Outlines
Screenshot 5 – Placing an Image

I wanted to learn one final thing, how to Create Gradients in Adobe InDesign. Access the gradient tool, see Screenshot 6, and apply the gradient to the object, Screenshot 7. For more exciting colours, drag a colour from the swatches over to the gradient window, Screenshot 8.

Screenshot 6 – Accessing the Gradient Tool
Screenshot 7 – Basic Gradient
Screenshot 8 – Changing the Colour of a Gradient
Postcard 3 – Typography is the Art of Arranging Letters

 

Design Resources and Articles

It’s hard to access your skills and know where you need to improve, when you have no idea what InDesign has to offer. So, I did some research and discovered this article 5 Cool Things You Didn’t Know You Could Do in InDesign. One of the suggestions was to create drop caps, which is what it did, with the help of another tutorial.

I hadn’t created a gradient before, but knew it was something you could do on InDesign so again searched up how to do that.

I’m discovering that the scope of resources out there are huge. I can keep challenging myself to extend my skills or to read up about something I haven’t come across before. There is always something new to learn how to do, and that is what this project is all about.

The Text Does Not Control You!!

While this task was mainly about establishing visual hierarchy, I ended up learning a lot more about how different types of information should be presented. 

How to Format a Date 

In the “raw text” all the dates were set out like this: Tuesday 24th October 2017. In the “Typographic style Handbook” it states “Only numbers should be used for the days, not 1st, 2nd, 3rd etc.” (Mitchell and Wightman 2017: 77). Before this task I didn’t know that dates had to be formatted without the “th” bit, so I listed serval of the different date options.

Tuesday 24 October 2017,  Tue 24 Oct,  24 Oct,  24.11.207,  24/11/17

For the flyer aimed at family I chose to format the date as Tue 24 Oct, omitting the year 2017, it does say “Autumn 2017” in the title. Many families have weekly occurring events, for example every Wednesday is an extra curricular club, and so would have to work out which day the 24th is, and see if they are free next Tuesday. 

For the flyer aimed at the old couple I left out the date, 24 October. With the assumption that if they really want to see this film they would make room for it rather than just wanting to fill their day. 

How to Format Time

In the unformatted text there were a range of different foments for the time. Younger children struggle with reading the 24 hour time, and so I chose to use the 12 hour version, and kept the time in the 24 hours for the retired couple. 

When to use an En dash

“A spaced en dash indicates spans of time” (Mitchell and Wightman 2017: 77). 

How to Format Names

Names are important and so they should not be hyphenated over a line break, or having the name go over two lines. By using a “soft return” I was able to keep the list of names in the same paragraph but was able to respect the actors and keep their full name along one line. 

Hierarchy 

In the text there are 12 different pieces of information, listed here in alphabetical order: 

Age Rating, Audi

o Descriptive, Building, Cast, Country of Origin, Date, Director, Film Title, F-Rated, Language, Time, Run Time, Year of Origin

A new concept to me was brainstorming with having a user in mind, rather than just having ideas. When having a user in mind, you can make design decisions to support their needs. 

For the flyer aimed for families, this is how I ranked the information: 

Film Title, Age rating, Date + Time + Run time, Building, Cast + Director, Year of origin + Country of origin, Audio descriptive, F rated, Language. 

I grouped like information, that would be in the same paragraph style. This helped me to know how many chunks of information I had to design for. 

Design Process 

I found it helpful going over the printed version with a class mate, and could pick up on a lot of the silly mistakes, where the spacing or formatting is simply missed out. Printing out the flyer means I could see that the text was simply too small, and printing in italic yellow isn’t really that clear. Even now I have realised that for the 24 hour time I have typed “pm” which isn’t required. This has highlighted the importance of going over the printed copy and spotting errors, serval times. 

 

Extrapolating Type

Extrapolate means to “extend the application of (a method or conclusion) to an unknown situation by assuming that existing trends will continue or similar methods will be applicable”. 

This is exactly what we were tasked to do, by looking at the letters and using the clues to work out what the other letters would look like. In this example the serif on the ascender of the “d” would be similar to that on the “n”. The letters “a”, “e” and “n” should all be the similar sort of height, reaching to just above the x-height. 

From this close inspection at the letter forms, I learnt that no “e” has a serif. The counter of both the “e” and “a” should roughly be the same space. This is to create balance and harmon within the typeface.

I found designing the rest of the letters, from the given letters, quite a bit harder than completing the letter form. How narrow or wide should the letter be? Where do the serifs go? What style should they be?

My letters are too thin, with not enough contrast between the thick and thin strokes. They are also too narrow, compare the “a” to the “e”.

From the exercise I learnt many things, I am happy enough to leave this to the type designer! But it made me more aware of the features, when blown up. Letters are usually only a few millimetres high, so the characteristics are so small to be noticed. When reading I hardly pay any attention to the typeface and the anatomy of the letters, but after spending a few hours really paying attention you notice these tiny difference in the characters.

Price’s Candle

From the vast range of Ephemera I chose to look at a set of advertising for Price’s Candles, which could be advertisement to be displayed in a shop, or more likely to be labels or packaging from the candle its self. 

I think that this set is from the Edwardian era, of the early 1900s, due to the rather recognisable white tie dress code and the elaborate table decorations that are associated with this time period, featured on Image D. 

To begin with they look like rather decorative forms of branding but at a closer look they tell us a lot about the time period, in particular the role of women in the home. 

Image A depicts a house maid or nanny looking after a young child, perhaps showing that any wealthy Mother need not to be tucking the child into bed, but leaving that responsibility to one of the house staff. This image suggests that it its not the lady of the house hold to be choosing which candles to purchase but rather than head house keeper. 

In Image B shows the women or wife in the role of entertainer, but also highlighting her education in the arts and music. Any aspiring women should be able to play the piano. The design is rather clever in the way that on the surface it looks like it is about the different candle types you can buy, but further than that is it informing women, in a rather passive aggressive way, in how the ideal women or wife should be.

In Image C the Mother, of all people, is shown taking the child to bed rather than the nanny! Perhaps this is a more bit more of a modern image in comparison to Image A since it encourages (wealthy) mothers to take a more active role in the raising of their own child. 

Finally, in Image D the ideal wife in hostess role. I am assuming that the hostess is dressed in red, making a last minute tweak to the cutlery. This suggests that it is the female’s role to make sure the house is well presented, and thus it is her role to chose the candles. Her husband is not the focal point, but he is still present none the less. 

To summarise, a women has a high calling, since she has to take on many roles: the soft and motherly side, the wealthy home owner, the educated entertainer, the extravagant hostess, and a wife. The home is the place for any women, her husband is merely at her side.   

The colour illustrations indicate that this is an expensive make of candle, looking to sell to the large estates. Any cheap candle makers would not have gone to the effort or cost of printing colour labels. The content of the illustrations confirm the indented buyer.

Each of the labels have a slight different take on wording of “ Price’s ” which lead me to believe that they are not part of the same set, but rather have been collected over serval years. 

I think Image D is the oldest because the illustration is placed in a box, unlike the others where the image is softer without a definite edge. Images A, B, C have serval of the same features including the golden swirls, a similar style of the women at the focal point. 

In Image B there are four different styles of text, which goes against the typographical rules of the present, to only use two typefaces, even more so when the wording “ Price’s “ is repeated twice. Yet the overall style reflects the very traditional and decorative era that this design comes from.

The Great Gatsby

I am fairly new to using InDesign so this took a lot longer than I thought it would. Using the paragraph styles was something that I haven’t done before and thought it was fairly time consuming, but when I changed the text for my spin off version, there was no extra work require, since it was like a template. 

Nature Inspired Logo

My chosen theme was Organic Materials. I collected lots of inspiration for my mood board, and organised them into two sub-topics Plant Decor or Sustainable/Eco-Friendly.

When brainstorming my main icons forced around leaves, flowers and a neutral colour scheme. This is the first logo I created without the floral elements. It has a minimalistic and clean look, but doesn’t yet reflect the organic theme.

I came back to my brainstorm and experimented writing my name in a calligraphy style. I liked the flow that occurred in my first name of up, down, up from the lowercase ‘l’, ‘y’ and ‘d’. However my surname “Hall” didn’t carry this fluidity and looked all rather the same; which is why I have chosen to have my surname in capitals under my first name. 

In keeping with the original circle logo idea, I simply drew the leafy elements, following the outline of the circle. 

I did experiment with a blue colour but changed it to a neutral green to complement the aesthetics of a natural theme.

The overall logo does tick the box of a logo inspired by Organic Materials, but I think that the thickness of “Lydia” contrasts the thin outlines a bit too much, and is out of balance. 

The Secret Garden

After creating the original penguin book cover, I thought of ways to make it different. I have been inspired by various illustrated collections, the Puffin in BloomPenguin Clothbound Classics and the Puffin Classics Deluxe Collection.

To begin with I changed the background to a green to reflect nature, and the garden. To further add to this theme I drew a leafy floral line illustration, over the top of the cover, to show the overgrow garden and that it cannot be contained. 

I lastly changed the penguin to a robin, since is a key piece of symbolism in the book, and helps Mary to locate the secret garden. 

Exploring Patterns in Signs

To begin with I started to take pictures of anything that caught my eye, all the while trying to find a linking factor. When you’re looking for lettering you find out that it is everywhere! Instructions, directions and notices to name a few of the categories. Many of the signs around department and campus were to give instructions regarding social distancing requirements in relation to the pandemic. All of the signs were designed in the same way and so they formed a set and were consistent across the University. 

After collecting the photos I began to sort through them. I noticed that nearly all of them were circles with only a handful being rectangular. Within the circles, I organised the images by colour: white, green, yellow and red. They abided by the universal traffic light system with green meaning go and red meaning stop. Yellow is used to give instructions.

I could extend this way of categorising signs through shape and colour to see the different trends, not only on campus but in road signs too.

 

Obsession

For my theme I chose “Obsession”, for each stage of the story there is a section of the book to represent it. 

Firstly the story begins with a woman reading a book in the library, so I left the pages as they were. 

She is alone.

And starts to hear some noises, represented by the concentric circles.

In the later end of this section the reader gets a glimpse of the mouse, but never sees it again.

She starts to look for this mouse, and starts to look under objects, and gets more and more obsessed about finding the mouse and eventually tears up the floor board and carpet.

She finds nothing.

Multi-Function Journal

My partner was interested by these things: flower doodling, cloud photography and stationary.

My initial ideas were centred around stationary sets, with a continuous theme, including  various different flower doodles, and clouds.

I then narrowed down my ideas to a journal, assisted by the random word I received which was “pocket”. This encouraged me to add multi- functional pockets into the journal.

Overall my design idea appealed to all areas of my partner’s interests, and the end result is a functional yet pleasing journal.