Design | Print | Brand


Adobe InDesign for Absolute Beginners

I remember back to the first time I ever opened up a page layout program, that one being Quark Xpress, and thinking to myself how basic the user interface appeared at the start. It didn't seem formidable or intimidating at all.

However, I didn't have the slightest idea where to begin, so the blank page that sat before me stayed blank. This was all before I even knew what graphic design was, and I think at the time I didn't even fully understand what to do with a page layout program. With nobody to show me how to use it, I turned the app off and didn't open it again for several years.

Jump ahead nearly 10 years, and I'm a Quark Xpress master. There's almost nothing I couldn't do within the program, and I am fully confident in my skills to not only create mult-page documents, but do so at speed. Again though, my page skills would be tested, because I saw a major disruption coming down the road, in the form of Adobe InDesign 2.0.

At the time, I was working for a prominent magazine publishing company, and now one of the senior art directors in the company. Quark was the dominant force in the editorial industry, but Adobe had upped the efforts with Version 3.0 of InDesign, and Quark was severely vulnerable. Once people started noticing how you could easily transition from one Adobe product to another, and with a software program that was considerably less expensive than Quark, it was a no-brainer to switch over to InDesign.

The publishing company made the jump to InDesign after Version 4 was released, and we almost never looked back at Quark again, only if we had to open some archived documents.

The transition to InDesign wasn't completely seamless though. Sure, most of the interface was reasonably similar to Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, but there was a decent learning curve, even for battle tested art directors. After a couple weeks of vigorous work though, I was moving through the program with ease, and Quark would become a distant memory.

That said, I understand how intimidating it might be for a total beginner to look at the program and wonder where to even begin. Well, instead of telling you, how about I show you?

Today's tutorial is made expressly for the complete InDesign beginner. I made this for anyone who has ever thought about making their own magazine, booklet, look book, or zine, but didn't know where to begin.

The video isn't going to answer all your beginner questions, but it will get you started and feeling a little comfortable with the program. If you combine this with the first tutorial I made on color swatches and palettes, you'll have enough information to play around and have some fun with few limitations.

It may even encourage you to explore the program further, which could lead you down and entirely new path that you never expected—it could happen.

Enjoy the video, hit the thumbs up on YouTube if you liked it. While you're there, make sure to subscribe to the channel and hit the bell icon below the video so you never miss out on any future tutorials. I have plans for many other InDesign tutorials, so stayed tuned for those.