If you’re a beginner to InDesign, it can be intimidating knowing How to use InDesign and what tasks the software is suitable for. Here, you’ll find a quick-start guide to InDesign to help you get started on the right foot.

If you’re putting together a magazine, brochure or book, it’s likely that you’ll encounter Adobe InDesign during your design process. This publishing program is the print designer’s everyday tool of choice, but you can also use it to do more unusual tasks, such as creating EPUBs (eBooks), formatting cool typography effects, and designing Pinterest-worthy posters.

What Is InDesign?

InDesign is a publishing program, which means it’s designed for creating 2D layouts which combine type and images.

Some items you might commonly create in InDesign might include multi-page print publications like magazines and books, stationery items such as business cards and letterheads, promotional media like flyers, booklets, and brochures, and other single-page print layouts like posters and banners.

The more recent CC version of InDesign also has more features that allow designers to create layouts for digital and online, such as eBooks, digital magazines, and social media images.

Buy Adobe InDesign
Buy Adobe InDesign

Manufactured by Adobe, InDesign is part of a core trio of Creative Suite applications, which also includes Photoshop and Illustrator. While Photoshop is designed for editing raster (photographic) images and Illustrator is tailored to creating vector (scaleable) graphics, InDesign is programmed to allow designers to incorporate their edited images as part of a broader layout.

If you’re still not sure whether InDesign is going to be the best software choice for your project, ask yourself whether the design is based around a layout across one page or multiple pages. If so, InDesign is going to be a great pick. If your design is going to be focussed on a single image, such as a photo that requires a lot of editing or a design for a logo, opt for Photoshop or Illustrator instead.

Templates Are a Great Way to Get Started

You can actually learn a huge amount about InDesign by downloading a template.

Opening a template and exploring what’s already been set up for you, such as layers, color swatches, and type, is a fun and easy way to start getting familiar with the InDesign interface.

Here is a selection of some of My favorite templates, which make a great foundation for creating your own unique design:

Minimal Magazine Template

InDesign Magazine Template
InDesign Magazine Template

This minimal magazine template has a simple layout which is intuitive and easy to edit, making it a great template choice for beginners to magazine design.

More info / Download

Professional Magazine Template

Professional Magazine InDesign Template
Professional Magazine InDesign Template

This magazine template uses more experimental color and transparencies to add visual interest to layouts. It’s deceptively simple in its setup, so again it makes for a perfect magazine template for InDesign beginners.

More info / Download

Stylish Brochure Template

Stylish Brochure InDesign Template
Stylish Brochure InDesign Template

This newsletter and brochure template is a more stylish take on the corporate brochure format. This design is particularly strong on the typography front, so make sure to explore the different styles being used across the template (Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles) to pick up some tips.

More info / Download

Simple Brochure Template

Simple Brochure InDesign Template
Simple Brochure InDesign Template

A multipurpose brochure is always handy, but this ultra-simple style is particularly versatile. It’s a great example of how strong color and type is a tried-and-tested combination that packs a punch.

More info / Download

Lookbook Template

Lookbook InDesign Template
Lookbook InDesign Template

Catalogs and lookbooks are another type of print media for which InDesign is the perfect software choice. Lookbooks tend to be very simple in format—pairing images and type together to create a heavily visual result—so they make an ideal template for InDesign beginners to explore.

More info / Download

Juniper Stationery Set

Juniper Stationery Set InDesign Template
Juniper Stationery Set InDesign Template

Stationery sets are really simple to put together in InDesign, but it’s always handy to dip a toe into creating your own by adapting an existing template. This contemporary stationery set is easy to adapt by swapping in a different image for the background and border, or by swapping the sans serif font for a more classic serif.

Allure Catalog InDesign Template

Allure Catalog InDesign Template
Allure Catalog InDesign Template

Allure Catalog Brochure Template is a clean, modern and professional with strong typography make your catalog look professional. It’s created in Adobe InDesign with 24 pages documents with two paper sizes including US Letter and International A4. This template is suitable food, fashion, lifestyle, adventure, property and multipurpose magazine.

More info / Download

Learn InDesign With Tutorials

Working your way through a tutorial, either with the goal of picking up a new skill or creating a particular design, is an immersive and effective way to start learning InDesign.

Luckily, you’ll find a huge range of free InDesign tutorials on Envato Tuts+. If you’re a complete beginner, work your way through the following tutorials, which will help to build your confidence with using InDesign and develop your print design skills along the way.

How to Create Documents in InDesign

How to Create Documents in InDesign
How to Create Documents in InDesign

This tutorial gives readers with no or limited InDesign experience the basic knowledge on how to set up a document for print.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Thread Text in InDesign

How to Thread Text in InDesign
How to Thread Text in InDesign

Threading text within InDesign can hugely improve the experience of editing and amending copy while working on layouts. The process of threading text is linking two or more text frames, allowing text to flow from one separate frame to another.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Import Graphics Into InDesign Documents

How to Import Graphics Into InDesign Documents
How to Import Graphics Into InDesign Documents

In this Quick Tip tutorial, you will learn about the various ways you can import image files into an InDesign document and how to replace and rescale them.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Prepare Your InDesign Documents for Printing

How to Prepare Your InDesign Documents for Printing
How to Prepare Your InDesign Documents for Printing

Learn how to properly set up the technical specs for your InDesign documents, before you send off your hard work to the printers.

When you have a few basic skills under your belt, you can start to pick up more skills by learning how to create layouts for magazines, posters, or flyers.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Design a Book Cover in InDesign

How to Design a Book Cover in InDesign
How to Design a Book Cover in InDesign

Learn how to design a book cover in InDesign the fun way, with this modern twist on the classic novel Moby Dick.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Create a Magazine Template in InDesign

How to Create a Magazine Template in InDesign
How to Create a Magazine Template in InDesign

This tutorial leads you through the steps of creating a magazine template in InDesign, complete with page numbers, masters, and running headers. It makes a great foundation for creating your own unique magazine designs.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Design a Stylish Real Estate Flyer in InDesign

How to Design a Stylish Real Estate Flyer in InDesign
How to Design a Stylish Real Estate Flyer in InDesign

Flyers might be small, but these single-page layouts need to pack a punch if they’re going to attract the eye. Here, you’ll learn how to put together a stylish real estate flyer.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Create a Business Card in InDesign

How to Create a Business Card in InDesign
How to Create a Business Card in InDesign

Business cards are easy to create in InDesign, and they’re really fun to do. This tutorial shows you how to create one in ten easy steps.

Watch The Tutorial Here

How to Create a Wedding Invitation in InDesign

How to Create a Wedding Invitation in InDesign
How to Create a Wedding Invitation in InDesign

Want to know more about specialist print finishes, like foiling and die-cutting? Invitation tutorials are fantastic ways of picking up some cool print skills. Check out this fall-themed wedding invite tutorial.

Watch The Tutorial Here

Take Your Skills to the Next Level With Courses and Intermediate Tutorials

When you’ve created your first magazine layout or business card in InDesign, you’re ready to deepen your InDesign knowledge and tackle some more niche projects. Learn how to create EPUBs or advanced typography effects through an intermediate tutorial, or become a print design expert with an in-depth course.

How to Create an eBook (EPUB) in InDesign

How to Create an eBook (EPUB) in InDesign
How to Create an eBook (EPUB) in InDesign

Ever wanted to convert your InDesign layouts to eBooks? With the right know-how, it’s super-simple to do. In this tutorial, you’ll learn about three different ways you can quickly turn your designs into interactive PDFs or EPUBs, ready for sharing or selling online.

Watch The Tutorial Here

Conclusion

InDesign might seem a little intimidating for first-time users, but it’s actually really intuitive to use once you know a few basics.

Downloading InDesign templates is a good way of familiarising yourself with the workspace, before moving on to beginner tutorials to build your knowledge base. You can deepen your understanding of creating more specific print and digital work by following intermediate tutorials and video courses.

Discover more InDesign tutorials and courses here.

Author

A Digital Nomad | Location independent entrepreneur

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