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Create and Print a Brochure with Photoshop, Indesign and - Part 2

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Read Time: 8 min

The great thing about the Adobe product range is how easy it is to combine your work from one program to another. In this tutorial we'll take the Photoshop work from Part 1 over on Psdtuts+, and place it into InDesign, create a stylesheet and then export a PDF. This workflow can be really useful particularly for larger documents where InDesign's page layout features really kick in.

This Post is Day 16 of our Graphic Design Session. Creative Sessions

Photoshop to InDesign

There are a variety of reasons why you might want to go from Photoshop to InDesign. In this tutorial we'll be making use of InDesign's stylesheets to create consistent text styling. We'll also go through exporting so you can see how easy it is to create print ready PDFs from InDesign.

Some of the other reasons you might port over your work to InDesign include:

  1. Photoshop is very slow when you have huge document sizes
    When you are working with print files at 300dpi it's very easy to wind up waiting for ages every time you want to do anything in Photoshop. By importing background artwork into InDesign you can do all your text and vector manipulation without rerendering the background artwork everytime. This can make your workflow significantly faster.
  2. InDesign is much better for multi-page documents
    Let's say you wanted to create business cards for five different people in an office. If you tried to do that in Photoshop you'd wind up with 5 different files or lots of layers that you switch on and off. In InDesign you can create a six page document, one for the front, five for the various backs. And that's not even going into things like reports, and text heavy documents which would be a really bad idea to try in Photoshop.
  3. InDesign has great text features
    Aside from the stylesheets which we're going to use in this tutorial, InDesign can do things like flow text from one column to another. That means if you had text that went from one panel on your brochure onto the next panel you could easily edit the text in one place without going through and changing the text on the other panel as well.

And of course there are plenty more reasons why you would use InDesign as your last port of call in preparing your print document. Mostly InDesign is simply faster and better for productivity. You can take a look at all the neat features of this wonderful layout program over at

Step 1 - Create the InDesign Document

So first of all we'll create a new document in InDesign. We want it to:

  1. Have 2 pages
    The inside and outside. But make sure Facing Pages is unchecked as these are separate pages
  2. Be 11" x 8.5" in size
    Unlike Photoshop with InDesign we'll add the bleed separately.
  3. Have a Bleed Area Set to .125"
    Those settings down the bottom are where we set the bleed.

The other settings on this panel aren't important for us.


Step 2 - Place the TIFFs

Now in InDesign you generally need a container or Frame in which to place an object or text. So first select the Rectangular Frame Tool (F) and draw a rectangle that goes from one corner of the bleed area all the way to the opposite corner.

Then while that frame is selected go to File > Place and find the appropriate TIFF file from the Part 1 of this tutorial.

You can change pages by bringing up the Pages palette (Window > Pages). The first page should be the outside of the brochure and the second page should be the inside.


Step 3 - Add Text and Character Styles

Once we've got the backgrounds placed, we'll go through and add all the various bits of text on to the brochure. So again grab the Frame Tool (F) and draw in a rectangle and add in your text.


Now we need to create some Character Styles to apply to our text. If you're a web designer you'll be familiar with the idea of stylesheets. These are very similar to CSS, you create a style once and then apply it over and over. When you need to change something you just change it once and all the applications update.

So go to Window > Type & Tables > Character Styles to bring up the appropriate fly-out box. Then click the Create New icon and create a style that matches our original design. Once you have one style you can base other styles on the first style. So for my first style I've set the font family to Agenda, and then in subsequent styles I've set them to be based on the original style. That way if I wanted to change the typeface I do it just once!


So going through we add text and frames all over our two pages.


If you find it's a bit hard to see what's going on with all the guides, bleed and frames then just go to View > Screen Mode > Preview to hide it all.

With our text placed we're basically ready to export our PDF and get it uploaded for print!


Step 4 - Create the PDF

Creating a PDF is super easy from InDesign. Just go to File > Export and give it a file name. Then you'll get the Export Adobe PDF dialog box.

The first setting to choose here is [PDF/X-1a:2001], this is a setting that UPrinting specifically asks for in one of their FAQs.


Step 5 - Printer's Marks

If you click on Marks and Bleeds in the left hand column of the dialog box, you'll be brought to a set of options for adding things like Crop Marks and defining the Bleed area.

In our case we don't want to add any Printer's Marks, UPrinting will take care of that for us. In general you hardly ever need to add all Printer's Marks, but it's not unusual to add Crop (or Trim) Marks. As I say though UPrinting doesn't want any of these.

What we do need to do here is tick the box that says Use Document Bleed Settings so that InDesign knows to add the bleed area.

One of the advantages of using InDesign as opposed to Photoshop is that you can easily export a PDF with or without the bleed. So for example if your client wants to see what the brochure is going to look like or you're printing off a test copy on your home printer, then you might switch off bleed. In Photoshop this would require changing the canvas size to crop out the extra space which is a bit troublesome.


Step 6 - Upload to UPrinting

Now it's time to head back to our UPrinting window and start our order. If you've closed that window, just go back to the site and specify again what type of brochure you're after. Then hit the Order and Pay Now button below.


This will take you to an Upload page where we can upload our PDF. We don't need to worry about the Back because it's all in one PDF.


Step 7 - Check the Preview

Be sure to check the preview UPrinting offers to make sure you've got the right pages in the right places and that everything looks OK.

UPrinting has a really cool Preview feature that strips in marks for the safe zone, folds and so on. So you can quickly figure out if you messed up somewhere along the way!


Step 8 - Digital Proofing

Now at this point it's a good idea to check the Press-Ready PDF Proof option.

Because this is a simple digital printing job the digital proof that UPrinting is more than sufficient. For big, expensive jobs it's not a bad idea to get a hard-copy proof. I don't know if UPrinting offers this service, but your local printer will. Even hard copy proofs aren't a 100% guarantee that things will turn out OK in the final print run, but it's still a good idea to get something that you look at in your hands and with the printer's best approximation of the final product.

In our case we'll just get a PDF which we'll print off and look at.


So a couple of days later UPrinting will send an email to let you know the proof is ready. If you've done anything obviously wrong the Prepress department will leave you some notes telling you about the potential problem.

In our case it all looks fine and dandy so we'll just hit "I'm Satisfied!"


Here's the digital proof PDF that UPrinting sent me!


Step 9 - Delivery, Yay!

With the job all clear we can now just sit back and wait for delivery day!

And sure enough 100 GraphicRiver brochures appeared shortly afterwards. Here are some photos of the final result!



The basic steps in this tutorial are enough to get you through most simple print jobs. Once you get started printing stuff you'll find there are so many cool variations and things you can do. UPrinting alone offers a huge selection of different products and documents you can print. If that's not enough check out PsPrint which have a whole slew of other products as well.

This Post is Day 16 of our Graphic Design Session. Creative Sessions
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