Adobe InDesign is the industry-standard page layout design tool in almost all print publishing industries. Whether you are looking to start a career as a Graphic Designer, want to work in print advertising, or just want to build better posters and flyers for a local community organization, learning InDesign can greatly improve the quality of your graphic designs. If you’ve always wanted to learn InDesign but can’t figure out how to get started, this guide is for you. Here, you’ll learn more about the various ways to learn InDesign, free resources to take advantage of, and the types of careers that commonly use InDesign.
Released in 1999, Adobe InDesign is the industry standard in page layout design software, and it is one of the software programs that comprise the Adobe Creative Cloud. Together with Photoshop and Illustrator, InDesign is one of the most commonly used creative design tools across a number of industries, ranging from publishing to graphic design. Built to streamline the process of designing page layouts for books and magazines, InDesign has a plethora of uses that make it a versatile tool for many creative endeavors. As part of a heavily integrated array of creative tools, Adobe InDesign gives creatives the chance to create compelling and vibrant page layouts.
Unlike its sister programs, Illustrator and Photoshop, InDesign serves a specific but vital function, building page layouts. Creatives will use InDesign to build prototype layouts for everything from brochures to web pages, and the program has tools for populating those prototypes with graphics, texts, and even interactive elements. While it is primarily used in traditional print media, InDesign is seeing increasing use in the digital sphere, such as the world of ePublishing and website design.
Read more about what InDesign is and why you should learn it.
Adobe InDesign allows users to create vibrant and memorable design layouts that can be used for anything from print advertisements to promotional brochures to newsletters and magazines. Almost any print layout can be built with InDesign, and the tool is often used to help Web Designers produce mock-ups of web pages. Users can add text, color, and images to their layouts to ensure they communicate what they are trying to communicate. InDesign also lets users easily create templates or replicate pages to streamline the multi-page design process.
InDesign also has numerous non-professional uses for users who are hoping to create eye-catching posters, infographics, or flyers for their own organizations or communities. Visual design skills can help users share information in memorable and effective ways, and learning InDesign will help anyone hoping to communicate with the masses. Additionally, many small businesses or private commercial organizations like Etsy shops or local bands can greatly benefit from having individuals on staff with InDesign training, as the program helps non-professionals make professional-grade graphic page layouts.
Additionally, because InDesign is so closely integrated with the rest of the Adobe Creative Cloud, users who are familiar with other programs can seamlessly integrate their work in other programs into their layout designs. Photos and illustrations can be edited or created in Photoshop and Illustrator and then easily brought over in InDesign to populate a layout. Users can also transfer work between InDesign and XD to help build prototype web layouts. These connections help expand the functionality of all Adobe Creative Cloud applications.
Learning InDesign will help creatives and aspiring Graphic Designers streamline the process of building page layouts. The program lets users construct vibrant layouts using text, shapes, and color modification tools, and it is perfect for anyone who designs print advertisements, magazines and newspaper layouts, infographics, posters, or brochures. Anyone, professional or amateur, who wants to create eye-catching printed graphic designs can learn InDesign to take their creative output to the next level.
Additionally, because InDesign is a part of the Adobe Creative Cloud, learning how to create design layouts in InDesign will also help users become more skilled at using other Adobe Creative software. Learning InDesign is often paired with training in programs like Photoshop or Illustrator because the programs are closely integrated. This means that learning InDesign can either help users become more proficient with programs they already know, or learning InDesign can help make learning new programs easier. This means that learning InDesign won’t simply make a user better at building page layouts, but it can also open the door to more easily learning skills like photo editing, vector graphics design, or web interface design.
Read more about why you should learn InDesign.
For most students looking to learn how to use InDesign, live professional instruction is often the most desirable option. These courses, which are available both in-person and online, let students receive professional instruction from live instructors who can help troubleshoot issues and respond to questions in real-time. Whether taken in-person or online, these courses offer students the chance to receive hands-on InDesign training from expert instructors to ensure that students are learning the skills they need to master the application. Interested students can search for live training options available to them using Noble’s Courses Near Me tool to find both online and in-person options.
For students looking for a less structured approach to learning InDesign, many self-paced and on-demand learning options are available. These courses let students dictate the pace of their own training, letting them avoid the hassle of regular classroom meetings or arbitrary homework deadlines. For self-motivated students or whose schedule doesn’t afford them the time to attend a live training seminar, these courses can provide a suitable alternative to live instruction.
Some students may feel hesitant to enroll in an expensive training seminar if they are very new to a program like InDesign. Those students may wish to consider taking advantage of some of Noble’s free seminars and resources to learn the basics of InDesign before deciding whether or not to enroll in a live training course. Noble offers a number of video tutorials on InDesign through their official YouTube page’s graphic design playlist, and interested students can find helpful resources and articles at Noble’s Learn InDesign hub. These resources can’t replace more immersive skill training courses, but they are great places for new users to start to familiarize themselves with InDesign.
Read the full guide on how to learn InDesign.
Students looking for free online tutorials should start at Noble Desktop’s blog, and the articles tagged InDesign. Here, students will have access to articles and interviews explaining the basics of InDesign, and they will be able to find free online Graphic Design and InDesign courses. Noble’s InDesign overview page also includes links to free online training resources. These free resources are constantly updated, and they are built as onboarding tools for Noble’s paid training seminars, so using these resources will prepare students for the more immersive learning options made available through Noble.
One of the best ways to introduce yourself to InDesign is through a free online video tutorial. Noble’s blog and Graphic Design YouTube playlist provide students with free introductory videos covering both broadly graphic design principles and Adobe InDesign in particular. These videos are a great place to start getting a feel for InDesign, as they allow students to learn the basics of the program at their own pace. Noble’s videos cover the basic functionalities of InDesign, teaching students how to navigate the interface, add text and images to a layout, and how to export and prepare simple layouts for publication.
Students looking for a more detailed background in InDesign should consult the Learn InDesign page on Noble’s Learn Hub. Here, students will find constantly updating free resources to help guide them through the early process of learning InDesign.
Read about more free InDesign videos and online tutorials.
Adobe InDesign is relatively easy to learn but difficult to master. New users can start utilizing the program’s basic features quickly, letting them experiment with the program’s design tools with only a few hours of training. However, more advanced designs will require more advanced training, which can be both time-consuming and labor intensive.
Like most creative design programs, there are no formal prerequisites to learning InDesign. However, users should be familiar with the computer system that they will be using to run InDesign (and they should know that there is no tablet or mobile version). Additionally, users who plan to use InDesign professionally should familiarize themselves with both basic theories of graphic design, like composition theory, and current trends in graphic design industries to understand the kinds of projects clients will want them to make.
While Adobe offers new InDesign users a free trial of the program, after this expires, users will need to pay a monthly licensing fee as part of an Adobe Creative Cloud subscription. Adobe offers a number of pricing plans to help users find the right price, but most plans range between $20.99 a month for only InDesign access and $54.99 a month for access to all the programs in the Adobe Creative Cloud.
Read about how difficult it is to learn InDesign.
Although it is an industry-standard tool for designing page layouts, new users may wish to consider alternatives to InDesign. There are many alternative options available, such as Xara Page & Layout Designer, VivaDesigner, or Affinity Publisher. All of these programs have similar features and options, though some are designed with professional publishers in mind, like Affinity Publisher. This means that some of the programs may be less beginner-friendly than Adobe since they are designed with a specific, skilled clientele in mind.
Like many other Adobe Creative Cloud applications, the biggest advantage that InDesign offers is its ease of integration with other Adobe programs. Since very few Graphic Designers only use InDesign, they will likely be using other graphic design software during their usual work, which usually means using other Adobe programs. Since each program has become industry-standard, one of the largest advantages of using InDesign is how easily it works with other programs users are already likely to be familiar with.
The high monthly cost of InDesign is another issue that users may want to consider. InDesign is a more expensive program than many of its alternatives, particularly for users who are licensing the full suite on their own. Free alternatives, like Scribus and a paired-down version of VivaDesigner, are available. In addition, many alternatives to InDesign don’t use a subscription model and can be purchased directly, though this means the upfront cost is going to be a bit higher.
The time and difficulty involved in learning Adobe InDesign are primarily decided by how much expertise a student feels they need in the program. For students who want to learn the program's basic functionality, Adobe InDesign can be learned in a few days with minimal difficulty. For students seeking advanced training for certification in Adobe InDesign, the process can take weeks or even months of training and involve hundreds of hours of hands-on design experience.
New InDesign users, or users who just want to experiment with the program, may wish to take advantage of free training tutorials to familiarize themselves with the program. These seminars, such as those offered through Noble’s Graphic Design YouTube playlist, will give users a high-level overview of the program without a high up-front cost. Then, users can decide for themselves whether or not they want to continue with their training.
Users hoping to develop InDesign skills to master the program or add a new line to their resume may wish to consider a more intensive training program, such as Noble’s Adobe InDesign Bootcamp. In courses such as these, students will receive training in specific career skills with an emphasis on the practical application of InDesign to their daily work. These courses are ideal for students who want to become more familiar with the professional uses of a program but aren’t looking to make a massive shift in their careers. In addition, for subjects like InDesign, these courses rarely expect students to be familiar with the program and are ideally suited for beginners.
Students interested in a new career outlook involving InDesign should consider more immersive professional skills training, such as the Graphic Design Certificate program. These career-focused seminars aim to teach students InDesign as part of a larger skills training curriculum to help them prepare for a new career path. These courses are ideal for aspiring Graphic Designers who want to break into the industry but don’t have the training that they need to use the industry-standard programs. These are the most expensive and time-consuming courses, but they also provide students with the most immersive training possible.
Noble Desktop offers a wide range of training options for students seeking to learn Adobe InDesign. Ranging from introductory courses such as InDesign in a Day to immersive career training programs like the Graphic Design Certificate program, Noble has a training program built to fit your needs. These courses are all taught by professional instructors with years of training as both teachers and graphic designers. Each course comes with the option to retake the course for free within a year of the initial enrollment, meaning that students have the option to take the courses again in order to receive more hands-on experience with InDesign or to gain more training in skills that they found difficult the first time through.
The Adobe InDesign Bootcamp gives students hands-on experience working with InDesign through exercises that mirror the kinds of projects that professional Graphic Designers would work on. Students will learn how to create layouts with InDesign’s text, color, and graphic tools, they will learn how to import formats and styles to easily build layouts, and they will learn how to work with parent pages to easily create complex, multi-page designs for projects like brochures and magazines. This course is ideal for students who want to learn the advanced features of InDesign within a professional context. At the end of this bootcamp, students will be prepared to use InDesign as part of their professional lives, and they will be able to demonstrate to their employers that they have received in-depth InDesign training.
Noble’s Graphic Design Certificate program takes this InDesign training and pairs it with career-focused training in Photoshop and Illustrator. Students will learn the background of graphic design, receiving training in philosophies of composition, color theory, and typography. Then, they will learn how to use Illustrator and Photoshop to create digital illustrations and assets that can be imported to InDesign to populate finished page layouts. Bringing these programs together, the Graphic Design Certificate program is built to take students from novice users to trained designers, aiming to help them find a new career once they’ve completed the course. This certificate program also provides students with one-on-one career mentoring so that when the course is complete, graduates will be ready to enter the workforce as Graphic Designers.
Students often ask us, "Which should I make first: Paragraph or Character styles?" Read to find out our preference, and why.
InDesign can apply multiple, sequential Paragraph Styles for you. For example, it could apply a heading style, followed by a subhead, followed by a regular Paragraph. Read to learn how.
Importing Word documents into InDesign is a breeze if you know how to control the styling.
Paragraph styles format an entire paragraph of text at a time. Sometimes you want to format parts of that paragraph with a character style. If there’s a reproducible pattern, you may be able to automate it with nested styles, lines or GREP styles. Read to find out how they differ.
Object styles typically control the look of an object, but can also format the text inside!
Virtually no one knows this trick. You are joining a very small and selective club. The fewer people that know about this the smarter you will look, so you have to promise not to tell too many people that it’s this easy! This works on any kind of style, from Paragraph and Character styles to Object styles.
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