Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Learning InDesign

Recently I was asked this question; What courses and certifications can I do to master InDesign?

Many training options exist. Adobe has published the InDesign Classroom in a Book series for InDesign, and other published titles to learn from along with Adobe’s online tutorials, TV, magazine and a online forum. Many other books and online video options are available also; Lynda.com: Online Courses is one example. On the web you can find both paid and free tutorials that exist across spectrum of value and quality.

College classes with computer labs and instructors might be another option for consideration. Private versions exist also. You might look into Adobe certified trainers, Luminous Works Training and Consulting is great example.

Your local county library may have resources also, ask the librarian. Mine has the Adobe InDesign application on it’s computers, and through the library system you can access the Lynda.com courses. Your local library option is great if you are on a budget and do not want to spend the funds on a Lynda.com subscription, an at home high speed internet connection, the Adobe InDesign CC subscription fee, or purchasing a modern computer that can handle Adobe InDesign application.

The best teacher is using InDesign on real client projects. Creating project files that contain good typography so that all the content copy is both legible and readable when viewed and use a layout design that solved the client’s visual communication problem. Then getting those InDesign files commercially printed, or as part of a web site or email blast, newsletter, ePub, or a interactive PDF and being served to public via server (Yes, InDesign can be and plays a part of presentation and web work). It has to go beyond looking good on your screen. It has to work on printing press or as a part of the web so that it loads and display fast on multiple devices.

To get there you need the fundamentals of type and typography. Also learn and use the design principles of graphic design; Proximity, Alignment, Repetition, and Contrast. Along with mentorship, collaboration and years of practical experience, it requires hard work. 

Learning the InDesign application functions and keyboard strokes over moving mouse in a application is important. It is only small part of what you need to learn in order to survive in the creative services business. Earning a certificate, study a CIB course, or online tutorials are first steps of many needed to master InDesign as a tool for developing visual communication with solid typography and the clear communication of idea to a target audience.

Being able to sketch out an idea, and to discuss and interview a client to learn the problem and it’s visual communication needs has more to do with mastering the art, craft, science, and business of design. InDesign and computer are just modern tools used in refining and producing a visual communication piece, a means to a end. Know that tools wear out, change, you learn and adapt, the fundamentals remain.

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