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Beginner’s Guide to Adobe InDesign

InDesign is a program within the Adobe Creative Cloud that enables users to design and publish projects like posters, brochures, flyers, and even entire magazines and books. These projects can then be shared via both digital and print copies.

The software is primarily used by publishers, graphic designers, and those who work in some form of marketing. It is considered an industry standard for publishing and graphic design, especially for projects that require multiple pages, large amounts of text, and/or complex layouts. This beginner’s guide will provide an overview of what InDesign can be used for, who uses it, and the pros and cons of the program.

Basic Functions of Adobe InDesign

The overall purpose of InDesign is fairly straightforward—it is used to create eye-catching layouts that combine both images and text. While InDesign can be used on its own, it works even better when combined with other programs in the Adobe Creative Cloud. InDesign helps bring different types of content together into a single professional document without requiring a huge amount of time. Below are just a few things that the program does best. 

Layout design is one of the largest elements of InDesign. The program helps format your project with fully customizable headings, columns, images, and even font size and spacing. It also allows you to change the layout of your page from portrait to landscape (and back) without having to reformat the entire page. The program offers several stock templates to help give you new ideas, but you aren’t limited to only using the premade designs. 

InDesign is considered the gold standard software in the publishing industry. It is used to create magazines, newspapers, and entire books. It is also quite commonly used when creating eBooks, which is exciting for those who want to self-publish their material without spending money on a traditional publishing house. The endless formatting options allow you to create polished materials for both print and digital spaces. 

Although InDesign is ideal for creating large projects, it also works exceptionally well for small PDFs. Whether a PDF is your final product or you just want to save a copy of your current project as a PDF so others can easily review it, InDesign makes it simple. You can also create editable PDFs as well, which can be used for signing important documents. The program enables someone to edit or add to certain areas of the PDF without changing the entire page. 

Pros and Cons of InDesign

There’s no denying that InDesign is a powerful tool, and many users would argue that it deserves all of the praise it receives. The customization that the program offers is unparalleled; it is simple to embed any image of your choice and resize it to your desired specifications. InDesign offers a selection of appealing styles that can be applied to your entire project, speeding up your workflow and ensuring a cohesive final product. While there are several templates available, the program allows you to create a project from scratch if you would like. People who create large documents like books appreciate the ability to set up chapters and a table of contents that updates on its own. InDesign also allows for seamless integration of graphics from other Adobe applications, like Illustrator and Photoshop.

Like any software program, InDesign is not without some flaws. Some small technical details can make the program frustrating to use. For example, there is no automatic spell check or grammar check. This task can be done manually, but that makes it more likely that small errors will be overlooked. There are also several keyboard shortcuts in InDesign that are different from other Adobe programs. This is especially frustrating since many Adobe programs are often used in conjunction with one another and it is difficult to remember which shortcuts are used for which program. Freelancers may also find the program too expensive; although there is a free seven-day trial, many argue that this is not enough time to truly evaluate something as complex as InDesign.

Careers That Use InDesign

There are several career options out there for people who are skilled in Adobe InDesign. While knowledge of this program alone won’t land you a job, proficiency in InDesign in conjunction with other Adobe programs is an excellent starting point if you’re interested in graphic design or digital design.

In the most basic sense, a graphic designer’s work is focused on still or static images, such as logos, billboards, or advertisements in magazines. Having a graphic design career means that you will help create advertisements, logos, and any other visual media to help communicate the message of a brand or a company. Graphic designers also can work for a specific agency or freelance to work with a lot of different people. These professionals can make around $51,000 annually, but this largely depends on their level of experience and the company they work for; understandably, larger agencies can pay a higher salary than a startup. 

Digital designers also require experience with InDesign. This profession contains many of the same elements as graphic design, but digital designers tend to focus more on designs that contain movement like interactive pages, 3D modeling, and animation. According to Indeed, the average digital designer makes over $93,000 annually. 

Learn Adobe InDesign with Career Centers

If you’re curious about what InDesign has to offer, check out these Adobe InDesign courses offered by Noble Desktop, a partner program of Career Centers. Their courses can be taken in-person at their New York City campus or remotely from anywhere in the world. Their InDesign in a Day course is six hours long and ideal for beginners. In the class, you’ll learn some of the most fundamental InDesign skills like text customization, layouts, and image effects. Noble Desktop also offers an 18-hour Adobe InDesign Bootcamp, which goes more in-depth than the one-day course. Finally, those looking for a more immersive experience may enjoy the Graphic Design Certificate. This is a 12-day program that covers InDesign in addition to other Adobe programs like Photoshop and Illustrator. 

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