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How to Create a Mock Haynes Manual Cover in Adobe InDesign

This post is part of a series called Book Templates .
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Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Before the days of the internet, a Haynes manual was your only source for DIY help. Those dark days may be long gone, but the charm of the Haynes manual lives on in the form of ‘mock’ designs which advise readers on a range of amusing topics, from marriage to pensioners.

Here, we’ll create our own Haynes manual cover with a digital age twist, creating a design for Instagram advice. Even if tips about ‘hot dog legs’ are not top of your agenda, you can easily adapt the design to any comical subject you wish.

You can find different illustrations for your Haynes cover design on GraphicRiver or Envato Elements

We’ll create the cover layout in Adobe InDesign and dip into Adobe Illustrator to edit the line-art graphics for the cover. 

What You’ll Need to Create Your Cover

To create your Haynes manual cover, you’ll need:

  • access to Adobe InDesign and Adobe Illustrator
  • Helvetica font (a version of this will be pre-installed on your Adobe font menu)
  • camera silhouette illustration

Once you’re set up with these, you’re ready to start creating your cover!

1. How to Set Up Your Cover in InDesign

Step 1

Open up InDesign and go to File > New > Document. 

We’ll set up the design for print (under Intent, choose Print), but if you’re only intending to share the image online you can choose Web for the Intent instead. 

Set the Width of the page to 217 mm and Height to 278 mm, to mimic the size of the real Haynes manuals. 

Add Margins of 10 mm and a Bleed of 5 mm, before clicking OK

new document

Step 2

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1 to open the Options window. Rename the layer Background and click OK

Choose New Layer from the panel’s drop-down menu (at top-right), name the layer Borders, and click Add and then OK

Repeat the process to create a further three new layers in this order: Image, Ribbon and Sticker, and finally Typography


Lock all the layers except Background. We’ll start working on this layer first. 

locked layers

Step 3

Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and select New Color Swatch from the panel’s drop-down menu. 

Name the swatch Orange, and with the Type set to Process and Mode to CMYK, set the percentage levels to C=0 M=63 Y=77 K=0. Click Add and then OK to exit the window. 

Create four more swatches using the same technique:

  • Red: C=0 M=90 Y=71 K=0 
  • Brown: C=24 M=85 Y=89 K=19
  • Peach: C=0 M=36 Y=46 K=0
  • Acid Yellow: C=6 M=0 Y=85 K=0
swatch options

2. How to Build Up Color on Your Cover

Step 1

With the Background layer unlocked, take the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag onto the page, extending the shape up to the edge of the bleed on all sides. 

From the Swatches panel, set the Fill to Orange.


Step 2

Lock the Background layer and unlock the next layer up, Borders

With the rulers visible (View > Show Rulers), pull a guide down from the top ruler to Y point 83 mm (you will be able to see this value in the Controls panel at the top of the workspace).

Pull a second down to 87 mm, a third to 107 mm, and a fourth to 111 mm. 


From the left-hand ruler, pull out a vertical guide to X point 167 mm. 


Step 3

Remaining on the Borders layer, select the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag onto the page, filling the top-left section marked out by the margins and guides, as shown below. 

From the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), set the Weight of the rectangle’s stroke to 3 pt, and from the Swatches panel set the Stroke Color to [Paper] (white).

stroke weight

Step 4

Select the rectangle and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste. Move it below the original and stretch it to fill the long section marked out by the guides, extending it to the margin on both the left and right sides of the page. 

rectangle tool

Edit > Paste the rectangle two more times, scaling one to fill the large section covering the lower half of the page, and reducing the other to fit snugly into the small gap remaining at the top-right of the page. 


Step 5

Give the large, lower shape a Peach Fill...

peach fill

... and the shape at top-right an Acid Yellow Fill. This will form the Haynes label for our cover. 

yellow fill

Use the Rectangle Tool to create a long strip with a Red Fill down the center of the yellow block. 

red rectangle

3. How to Edit a Line-Art Graphic for Your Cover

Step 1

Minimize the InDesign window for a moment and open up the vector version of the camera illustration in Illustrator

camera vector

Isolate one of the cameras, and Edit > Copy. Create a new document and Edit > Paste it onto the artboard. 

Adjust the color of the lines to Black (from the Swatches panel: Window > Swatches). 

black color

Step 2

Lock the camera illustration layer and start working on Layer 1 below. 

Take the Pen Tool (P) and set the Fill Color to White. Then trace around the silhouette of the camera, giving the main part of the design the illusion of a white fill. 

pen tool

Step 3

Unlock both layers and drag your mouse across the graphic to select everything on the artboard. Then head up to Edit > Copy, before minimizing the Illustrator window. 

Back in your InDesign document, lock the Borders layer, and unlock the Image layer above. Edit > Paste, dropping the camera graphic onto the page.  

Position it centrally over the peach square section, and use Shift to scale proportionally. 

camera pasted

Step 4

With the camera selected, go to Object on the top menu, and choose Effects > Drop Shadow.

Switch the Effect Color by clicking on the colored square to the right of the Mode menu, and choose Peach from the Swatches list. 

Adjust the options in the window until you’re happy with the drop shadow effect, and then click OK.

drop shadow

4. How to Add Extra Details and Type to Your Cover

Step 1

Lock the Image layer and unlock the layer above, Ribbon and Sticker. 

Use the Rectangle Tool to create a long ribbon-like shape over the bottom-right corner of the page. Set the Fill to Orange and Stroke Color to [Paper]. Add a slight shadow by going to Object > Effects > Drop Shadow, as before. 


Right-Click on the ribbon and Transform > Rotate. 

transform rotate

Type in 45 Degrees for the Angle, and click OK

angle 45

Move the ribbon neatly over the bottom-right corner of the page. 


Step 2

Minimize the InDesign window for a moment and head back to Illustrator. Create a new document at any size. 

From the Tools panel docked to the right side of the workspace, choose the Star Tool (which you’ll find inside the pop-out menu for the Rectangle Tool). 

Click once onto the artboard to open the Star window. Set Radius 1 to 0.5 in and Radius 2 to about 0.69 in. Increase the number of Points to 20, and click OK

star radius

Select the star shape that appears on the page, and Edit > Copy.

star shape

Step 3

Head back to your InDesign document and Edit > Paste the star sticker onto the page. Set the Fill to Red and add a slight drop shadow (Object > Effects > Drop Shadow).

Position it over the top-left corner of the camera illustration.

sticker red

Step 4

While we won’t do a direct copy of the Haynes logo on our tribute cover, you can give the impression of the design by creating an oval using the Ellipse Tool (L) and positioning this over the red and yellow ribbon at the top-right corner of the page. 

Set the Fill to [Paper] and Stroke Color to Black

oval shape

Step 5

Lock the Ribbon and Sticker layer and unlock the top layer, Typography

Switch to the Type Tool (T) and drag onto the top of the page to create a text frame that fits inside the top white-bordered section. 

Type in ‘HAYNES EXPLAINS’, and from either the Controls panel at the top of the workspace or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to Helvetica, Size 34 pt. 

From the Swatches panel, set the Font Color to Acid Yellow. 


Hit return to type on the next line and type in ‘INSTAGRAM’. Increase the Font Size to 68 pt and the Leading (line-spacing) to 60 pt, and change the Font Color to [Paper].

instagram text

Step 6

Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and, holding Shift, drag to create a very small square below the ‘INSTAGRAM’ header. Set the Fill to [None] and Stroke to [Paper].

square white

Create a text frame to the right of this square, and type in ‘Hot dog legs’ (or text of your choice). Set the Font to Helvetica, Size 17 pt. 

text helvetica

Select both the square and text frame, and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste, adapting the text to another phrase. Continue to paste copies, creating a sequence of two lines along the bottom of the top rectangular section of the page. 

text captions

Step 7

Create a text frame inside the long rectangle section below the top one, and type in ‘Owners’ Workshop Manual’. Set the Font to Helvetica, Heavy or Bold, Size 39 pt and increase the Tracking (letter-spacing) until it fits neatly within the shape. 


Step 8

Take the Type Tool (T) and drag onto the page over the red sticker. 

Type in ‘THE BEST SELLING MANUALS IN THE WORLD’ and set the Font to Helvetica, Size 11 pt. Set the Font Color to Acid Yellow, and rotate the frame slightly to give it a jaunty look. 

helvetica yellow

Create a text frame over the bottom-right ribbon too, typing in ‘EVERY MANUAL BASED ON A STRIPDOWN AND REBUILD’, and setting the Font to Helvetica, Size 34 pt, and a [Paper] Font Color.

ribbon text

Conclusion: Your Finished Haynes Cover

Your Haynes manual cover is finished—awesome work! All you need to do now is File > Save your hard work, and then File > Export it as a PDF, JPEG, or PNG, ready for sharing with others. 

Why not have a go at adapting the design you've created to other funny topics?

You can find different illustrations for your Haynes cover design on GraphicRiver or Envato Elements

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