Adobe InDesign CC - Essential Training

Ideas, Inspiration & starter templates.

Daniel Walter Scott

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So when you are getting started with InDesign you might also be getting started in InDesign in general, so getting ideas for layouts can be quite tough. So inspiration is how you grow really quickly. So look at the best people around, see what they're doing. We're not copying here, we're getting inspired by, and we're appropriating their ideas, and using our content, our own fonts, our own colors. So, just inspiration.

The places to go, Pinterest is an easy one. It's the one here in front of me, I put in magazine spread. 'Spread' is two pages side-by-side, and gives you an idea of just kind of ideas, you might get started. You can, once you've signed in, you can start pinning them to your own boards, and you'll have a collection of things you like. I like another version, very similar to Pinterest,

I like this one. I find better layouts, I've done the same thing. I've done social magazine spread. Just removes the Pinterest branding from it. I like this site. Just like Pinterest, you can have boards here, and when we get them all together-- let's have a look at one of my boards, 'Hand Drawn Type'. You can see here, he starts gathering ideas to get your job going. Another really good one is Behance. Behance has some other perks, other than just inspiration. I've done magazine spread in here. This is the place we're going to look at later in the tutorial for your portfolio. This is where people get found as designers more and more.

Another perk in here is, often they'll have-- see this one here, it's not somebody's work so much as it's a photo realistic catalogue magazine. You can download and start using it, like a little template. One of the problems often is, you'll see this and you'll say, "Great, here's a really cool cover. I really like it." But you have a different project. Somebody's come to you, and said, "Hey, here's the cover" and they haven't said, "Here's three words to put on it." They've said, "I want you to fill the cover with two pages of Word document." And you're like, "Ugh." You don't get to do lovely negative space in big blank areas because you got to fill it jam packed. I find the best inspiration for those kind of text, the annual reports, brochures, kind of really text heavy stuff, is to Google 'Annual Reports'. Someone who have Googled here have typed annual report, just add the word pdf. Probably, just the companies have to go and report their annual reports online. You'll find lots of stuff around, I've just clicked a few of these. I don't even know what CRH is, I'm just looking at how they're getting around, but you see, there's a lot of data that had to communicate.

They've done some really cool infographics. They've gone for a 3-color layout. I'm just looking at it for inspiration. Just thinking, "I never considered big type down the side, big image." So, getting ideas from this, it's BMW's one. You can see, somebody is going to hand you a thing like this and you're, "How am I going to show in this Excel graph and actually make it legible?" You can see, here they've done a really nice job of clarifying the year that we're at. And yeah, just work through some of these really text heavy documents. And get an idea about how you might approach it.

Another thing you can do is use a starter template. InDesign especially, if you go to 'New', or 'File', 'New', you go to 'Print', and let's say we're doing a brochure or a magazine, you'll see, underneath these blank documents we have these templates. If you're using an older version of Indesign it doesn't work. But here we've got some templates. Let's say we are doing some sort of, you can see, there's a jacket, a food magazine layout, let's click on this. And let's click on 'See Preview'. It just gives you an idea, and you're like "I like this, I might start with this."

You can totally use this, and just switch out the images, there's nothing stopping you. What you'll find is, you'll end up adjusting it to suit your taste and your content, and it will change quite a bit. You'll be able to take ownership of the design. All you do is click 'Download'. You've got to be connected to the net, it takes a little while, but eventually-- the only difference is that these images won't be there when you open it. You can see now, it's downloaded. Click 'Open'. It's using fonts we don't currently have, we're going to look at this in fonts a little later on, but we're just going to click 'Sync Fonts', and hit 'Close'. And you've got a magazine layout. The only trouble is, without the images, this doesn't look as pretty. But hopefully you've got access to some images for your work, otherwise you're going to have to go to stock library sites and start filling it in. That's a nice way to get started.

Now my parting advice for somebody who's a little stressed out for getting designer ideas is that it does get easier. Nobody's born a good designer, but now you got an interest, and you've got some tools in this area. You'll start keeping an eye out for designs that you like, fonts you like, colors you start liking. And what will happen, after a few projects you'll start knowing what clients like, and what they don't like, and what's worked, and what hasn't. And as you get more experienced you'll start to be able to pull designs out of thin air. But you're not pulling that of thin air, you're pulling out of past experiences, successes, wins, losses.

That's going to be it for our inspiration section. We're going to go through on to the next section where we'll start updating somebody else's file, very important.