We’re celebrating all things to do with Mexico this week! This is a fun and festive poster design that would translate well to food or music events.
If you’re new to using InDesign, this is a simple tutorial which covers a broad range of poster and print design techniques.
Let’s get started!
What You’ll Need to Create Your Poster
You'll need the following resources in order to complete this project:
Install the fonts on your computer, and you’re ready to get started with creating your poster.
1. How to Set Up Your Poster Document in InDesign
Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document.
Set the Width of the page to 18 in and Height to 24 in. Uncheck Facing Pages. Keep the Margins to their default value, and add a Bleed of 0.25 in.
Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers), and double-click on Layer 1 to rename it Paper.
Create four more new layers in this order—Background, Graphics, Type, and Overlay texture at the top.
Then lock all the layers except Paper, to work on this first.
Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches), and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s main drop-down menu.
With the Type set to Process and Mode to CMYK, set the levels below to C=61 M=0 Y=40 K=0. Click Add and Done.
Repeat the process to create five more new CMYK swatches, with the following values:
- C=48 M=77 Y=82 K=74
- C=0 M=44 Y=93 K=0
- C=0 M=82 Y=14 K=0
- C=93 M=81 Y=0 K=0
- C=46 M=0 Y=11 K=0
2. How to Create a Colorful Textured Backdrop for Your Poster
With the Paper layer unlocked and active, use the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create an image frame across the whole page, extending the edge up to the bleed on all sides.
Go to File > Place, navigate to the vintage paper textures folder you downloaded earlier, and choose ‘Vintage-Paper-Texture-6.jpg’. Click Open, and allow the paper to fill the whole image frame.
With the image frame selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency. Bring the Opacity down to 45%, and click OK.
Lock the Paper layer and unlock the layer above, Background.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the whole page. From the Swatches panel, set the Fill to C=0 M=82 Y=14 K=0.
With the shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency, and set the Mode to Multiply. Click OK to exit the window.
3. How to Create Eclectic Typography on Your Layout
Lock the Background layer and unlock the Type layer.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a small text frame on the top-left section of the page, and type in a single letter, ‘F’.
From either the top Controls panel or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to US Bilko (this will have installed as US Lumia) Black.
Edit > Copy and Edit > Paste the text frame repeatedly, arranging them in an imperfect, jaunty line across the page. Set a single letter in each frame, building up the word ‘Fiesta’, and vary the capitalisation to create an eclectic look.
Using your new color palette, apply a different color swatch to each letter.
Use the Paste function to drop in more text frames above ‘Fiesta’, adjusting the text to read ‘foodie’.
Create a small subtitle above the main header using the Type Tool (T), typing in ‘Come along to our’ and setting the Font to Moolpys, Size 110 pt.
4. How to Build Up Quirky Graphics on Your Poster
Minimize your InDesign window for a moment. Open up the ‘Llama and Cacti clipart vector.eps’ file inside the vector cacti pack you downloaded earlier in Adobe Illustrator.
You can use this illustration as a pick-and-choose pack of vector graphics you can copy in Illustrator and paste directly into your InDesign document.
Don’t worry about the original colors used in the vector—you can change these quickly and easily in InDesign using the Swatches panel, to match the color palette you created earlier.
Let’s start with one of the cacti with stripes, intending to use this as the main image on our design.
Select the cactus and Edit > Copy it.
Back in InDesign, lock the Type layer and unlock the Graphics layer below.
Edit > Paste the cactus onto the page. Position centrally and scale holding Shift to maintain the proportions. Double-click on the cactus to select individual parts of the illustration and adjust the color from the Swatches panel, using the colors in your CMYK palette.
Return to the Illustrator file and select another cactus, copying it as before.
Paste it onto your InDesign poster, and scale and position it roughly as shown.
Keep heading back and forth between the Illustrator file and your poster, copying and pasting different elements and scattering them around the layout. Adjust the colors to match your CMYK palette.
Leave a little bit of room across the page to allow you to place text, which we’ll do in the next step.
5. How to Create Text Paths on Your Poster
Lock the Graphics layer and unlock the Type layer.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a few small text frames in some of the gaps on the layout, setting the Font to Moolpys.
To create a really eclectic look for your typography, you can create text paths around some of the graphics to allow you to curve text around the illustrations.
Use the Pencil Tool (N) to draw a rough line around one of the graphics, as shown in the example below.
From the Swatches panel, set the Stroke Color of the line to [None].
Switch to the Type on a Path Tool (Shift-T) and click once on the beginning of the line to transform it into a text path.
Type in a word (e.g. ‘Burritos’), highlight the text, and set the Font to Moolpys. Adjust the Font Color to match the adjacent illustration.
Use the same process to create more text paths around the graphics, filling up the gaps on the poster.
Use the Pencil Tool to create a line, set the Stroke Color to [None], use the Type on a Path Tool to create a text path, and then type up and format a word or phrase.
Set any particularly important details about the event, such as the date, in a high-contrast [Paper] Font Color.
6. How to Add an Overlay Texture to Your Poster
Lock the Type layer and unlock the top layer, Overlay texture.
Use the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create an image frame across the whole page.
File > Place, and choose an EPS image from the vintage lines textures pack you downloaded earlier. Click Open, and allow it to fill up the frame.
With the image frame selected, head up to Object > Effects > Transparency.
Set the Mode to Screen and bring the Opacity down to 25%. Click OK.
7. How to Export Your Poster
Go to File > Export. For sharing your poster online or over email, you can choose JPEG, PNG or PDF (Interactive) from the Format drop-down menu.
To export your poster for printing, choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu. Read on to discover the best steps for exporting your poster as a press-ready file.
In the Export Adobe PDF window that opens, choose [Press Quality] from the Preset menu at the top.
Click on Marks and Bleeds in the window’s left-hand menu. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings, before hitting the Export button.
Conclusion: Your Finished Fiesta Poster
Your poster’s finished—awesome work!
In this tutorial, we’ve covered a wide range of skills for creating poster artwork in InDesign. You now know how to:
- Set up a poster document in InDesign, as well as a CMYK color palette.
- Format interesting and professional typography for your poster design.
- Use vector graphics in a creative way to give your poster a unique design.
Discover more poster design tutorials here: