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Design

How to Create a School Newsletter Template in InDesign

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:LongLanguages:
This post is part of a series called Adobe InDesign Templates.
How to Create a Real Estate Newsletter Template in InDesign
How to Make a Marketing Brochure Template in InDesign
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

A newsletter is a mini-magazine that turns out to be really cost effective. In this tutorial, I'll show you how to create an InDesign newsletter template.

In the education world, it's common to send parents an update on the community, and this clean and versatile design serves as a parent newsletter template. If you are a high-school student and are running the editorial department, this school newsletter template is easy to edit too! Great if you are looking to start with InDesign. If you are running any business and want to let your customers know of the latest products or news, this newsletter also serves as a weekly newsletter template. You can add multiple pages to this project if you are looking to send out a monthly newsletter—it's very easy! 

For this tutorial, we will be using a letter size newsletter format. You will learn how to set up master pages, in case you want to add more than four pages to your newsletter design. We will create styles for the different typographic hierarchy levels that are necessary to create an attractive classroom newsletter template. Using a three-column grid newsletter layout will allow you and your clients to easily customize this InDesign newsletter template. It's that easy! 

In a hurry? We’ve got amazing print-based InDesign newsletter templates over at Envato Elements and other newsletter design ideas at GraphicRiver. Go check them out! 

What You Will Need

You'll need access to Adobe InDesign. If you don't have the software, you can download a trial from the Adobe website. You'll also need the following assets:

Download the assets and make sure the font is installed on your system before starting. When you are ready, we can dive in! 

1. Setting Up Your Newsletter Template Design

Step 1

In InDesign, go to File > New. Name the document Newsletter Template. We will create a letter size newsletter template design. Set the file to the following dimensions:

  • Width to 0.5 in
  • Height to 11 in 
  • Orientation to Portrait
  • Units to Inches
  • Pages to 4
  • Check Facing Pages
  • Number of Columns to 3
  • Gutter to 0.25 in
  • Margins: set the Top and Bottom margins to 0.875 in and the Inside and Outside margins to 0.5 in
  • Bleeds to 0.125 in (it's best to seek your professional printer’s preference)

Click Create.

create a new indesign file

Step 2

Head over to Window > Color > Swatches to expand the Swatches panel. Choose New Color Swatch button from the main menu. Set the Swatch Name and values to the following: 

  • Light Blue: C=65 M=17 Y=12 K=0 
  • Orange Red: C=0 M=90 Y=100 K=0
  • Newsprint: C=0 M=0 Y=5 K=10

Click Add and OK after you input each color value.

add color swatches

Step 3

For this tutorial, we will create a list of Paragraph Styles that we will use to format key parts of the newsletter template. Head over to Window > Styles > Paragraph Styles to open the Paragraph Styles panel. 

In the main menu, select New Paragraph Style, and set the Style Name to Folio. Folios can consist of several elements. In this tutorial, we will focus on page numbers and ‘School Newsletter.’ The latter can be updated to your school or business name. Select the Basic Character Formats option from the left side menu. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Regular
  • Size: 8 pt

Click OK.

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Running Head. Running heads are great to point out the different sections in a newsletter. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Black
  • Size: 8 pt
add paragraph styles

Step 4

Let’s set styles for the rest of the typographical hierarchy elements in the newsletter template. 

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Head. We will be using this style for headlines. This is the most important element in your newsletter layout. Readers will read this first as they browse through the pages. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Black
  • Size: 30 pt
  • Leading: 34 pt

Select the Character Color option from the left side menu. Set the color to the Light Blue swatch. Click OK.

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Head-Short Story. Short story articles are great if you need to fill in some small spaces in your newsletter template design. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Black
  • Size: 14 pt
  • Leading: Auto

Select the Character Color option from the left side menu. Set the color to the Red Orange swatch. Click OK.

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Deck. Decks describe very briefly what the reader can expect from the article. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Light
  • Size: 18 pt
  • Leading: Auto

Click OK.

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Byline. Bylines or credit lines are used in different places around the page—most commonly at the beginning of the story to credit the author or photographer/illustrator. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Black
  • Size: 8 pt
  • Leading: 30 pt

Click OK.

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Body Copy. Body copy is the largest and most important text setting for the entire newsletter template design. Make sure it is legible as this is one of the elements that can put your readers off. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Regular
  • Size: 8 pt
  • Leading: 11 pt

Select the Indents and Spacing option from the left side menu. Set the Alignment to Left Justify. Set the First Line Indent to 0.125 in. Click OK.

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Caption. Captions are placed under images and should work together as a single unit. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Regular
  • Size: 6 pt
  • Leading: Auto

Click OK.

Add a new Paragraph Style and set the Style Name to Pull-quote. Pull interesting parts out of the story to emphasize them. Pull-quotes are nice elements that can break up text-heavy body copy and create an interesting layout. Use the following settings:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Medium
  • Size: 14 pt
  • Leading: Auto

Select the Indents and Spacing option from the left side menu. Set the Alignment to Center. Select the Character Color option from the left side menu. Set the color to the Light Blue swatch. Click OK.

add paragraph styles according to the typographical hierarchy elements

Step 5

Drop caps add personality to your design while letting your readers easily see the beginning of the story. The style should be something different than the body copy and headline. For this tutorial, we will be using a red color to make it stand out. To create a drop cap style, we need to create a Character Style. 

Head over to Window > Styles > Character Styles. On the Character Styles panel, select New Character Style from the main menu. Set the Style Name to Drop Cap. Select the Basic Character Formats option from the left side menu.

Set the Font Family to Bw Nista Grotesk and the Font Style to ExtraBold. Select the Character Color option and set the color to the Red Orange swatch. Click OK.

create a new character style

Step 6

Head back over to the Paragraph Styles panel, and select New Paragraph Style from the main menu. Set the Style Name to Drop Cap and use the following settings for the Basic Character Formats option:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Regular
  • Size: 8 pt
  • Leading: 11 pt

Select the Drop Caps and Nested Styles option from the left side menu. In the Drop Caps section, set the Lines to 4 and the Characters to 1. 

In the Nested Styles section, click on New Nested Style. This will add a new nested style. Select the Drop Cap character style from the dropdown menu. Click on Words and select Characters. 

Click OK.

create a drop cap paragraph style

2. How to Set Up Master Pages for Your Newsletter Template Design

Step 1

For this tutorial, we will be using Master pages to set up running heads and folios. This will allow you to add pages to your InDesign newsletter template as you need.

On the Pages panel (Window > Pages), double-click on the A-Master thumbnail. Let’s start with the left side of the page. Using the Text Tool (T), create a text box over the top margin. Add the word ‘Section’ as a placeholder; we will be able to change this later. Using the Paragraph Styles, set the text box to the Running Heads format. 

create a running head

Using the Line Tool (\), create lines over and under the text box. Head over to the Control bar and set the Stroke Weight of the top line to 2 pt. Set the Stroke Weight of the bottom line to 0.25 pt. 

add strokes

Step 2

Using the Text Tool (T), draw a text box under the bottom margin to add page numbers. Double-click to activate the text box, and then right-click and select Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number. This will add an A as a placeholder. Along with this, you can add the name of the school. 

Style this text box with the Folio style from the Paragraph Styles panel.

add a folio

Using the Line Tool (\), draw a line over the page number and set the Stroke Weight to 0.25 pt.

create a stroke

Step 3

Now that we have one page set up, we can duplicate the elements on the opposite page. Select all elements on the page, press Shift-Option, and drag the elements to the right page. 

Select the running head and folio text boxes and press T to activate the Text options on the Control bar. Set both text boxes to Align Right. You can leave the page number as it is, or you can change the position to the outside of the page.

mirror the running head and folio on the opposite page

3. How to Create a Cover Page for Your Newsletter Design

Step 1

On Page 1, you will notice the running head and folio on the page. We won’t need a running head on the cover, so we need to delete it. To activate the elements, press Shift-Command and select the running head. Press Delete. 

Using the Text Tool (T), create three text boxes at the top of the cover page. Head over to the Control bar and use the following settings and copy for each box:

Newsletter text box:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Black
  • Size: 94 pt
  • Set the Character Color to Light Blue

School or business name text box:

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Black
  • Size: 14 pt
  • Set the Character Color to Light Blue

In the third text box, you can include the date, issue number, and season: 

  • Font Family: BW Nista Grotesk
  • Font Style: Regular
  • Size: 8 pt
  • Set the Character Color to [Black]

Using the Line Tool (\), create strokes to go over and under the third text box. This will help differentiate the content.

add text to the top portion of the front cover

Step 2

We will use the three columns we created to establish the placement of the articles. For the cover page, we will create a short article running on column 1 and a main article covering columns 2 and 3.

using the 3 column grid add copy

Using the Text Tool (T), create a text box to fit in the first column. On the Swatches panel, select the Newsprint swatch. While selecting the text box, press Command-B to open the Text Frame Options. Set the Inset Spacing to 0.125 in. This will create an inset margin inside the text box. Click OK.

use the text frame options to create an inset on the text box

Add a headline, byline, and body copy. Use the Paragraph Styles to format each section.

add copy and format using the paragraph styles

Step 3

Press Command-D to Place an image. Select the Abacus image and click Open. 

Open the Text Wrap panel by going to Window > Text Wrap. Select the image and click on the Wrap Around Bounding Box button. Set the Offset value to 0.125 in. and place the image at the end of the short story. The margin should be the same as the inset spacing on the text box.  

add an image and use the text wrap panel

Step 4

Using the Line Tool (\), draw a stroke to divide the short story from the larger story we will be placing in columns 2 and 3. Use the gutter as a guide and set the Stroke Weight to 0.25 pt.

create a stroke to divide the columns

Step 5

Place an image by pressing Command-D. Place the School kids running image at the top of columns 2 and 3. Resize the image as you need. 

add an image

Step 6

Using the Text Tool (T), create a text box that fits the width of columns 2 and 3. This first text box will house the headline and byline. Use the Paragraph Styles panel to format the text box. 

add a headline and a byline

While selecting the text box, press Command-B to open the Text Frame Options. Under Columns, set the Number to 2 and the Gutter to 0.25 in. Click OK.

add a text box and divide into two columns

Using the Paragraph Styles, set the first paragraph with the Drop Cap style. Set the rest of the text with the Body Copy style. 

Using the Line Tool (\), draw a line to divide the two columns. Set the Stroke Weight to 0.25 pt. 

use the paragraph styles to format the text box and add a stroke

4. Using a Three-Column Grid in Your Newsletter Design

Step 1

To modify the running head to a specific section, press Shift-Command and select the text. Edit it, and once you're done, Lock the text by pressing Command-L. 

For the inside spreads, we will be working with a three-column text box. Using the Text Tool (T), create a text box at the top of the left-hand-side page. Set the head, deck and byline using the Paragraph Styles. 

add a headline deck and byline on page 2

Step 2

Using the Text Tool (T), create a text box to fill the rest of the page and covering all three columns. Press Command-B to open the Text Frame Options. Under Columns, set the Number to 3 and the Gutter to 0.25 in. Click OK. 

Add the desired text and use the Drop Cap and Body Copy styles from the Paragraph Styles. 

add a text box and create 3 columns

Step 3

Create another text box that fits a single column to insert a pull-quote. Add your text and format the text box with the Pull-quote style from the Paragraph Style panel. I’ve added a dash at the end to add more space between the pull-quote and the body copy.

create a new text box to add a pull-quote

Let’s fit this pull-quote at the top of the second column (within the body copy). Open the Text Wrap panel by going to Window > Text Wrap. Select the pull-quote text box and select the Wrap Around Bounding Box button. Set the Top and Bottom offset to 0.1875 in.

place the pull-quote within the body copy

Step 4

Place the Two families with kids sitting on front stoops image by pressing Command-B. Fit the image in columns 2 and 3. Use the Text Wrap panel on the image to add a Wrap Around Bounding Box. This time, set all the Offset values to 0.125 in.

Create a smaller text box under the image to act as a caption. Use the Paragraph Styles panel to format it. In the Text Wrap panel, add a Wrap Around Bounding Box to the text box. Set the Offset values to 0. Use the image wrap-around bounding box as a margin.

add an image and caption

Using the Line Tool (\), add strokes in between each column. Use the gutter as a guide.

use the line tool to create strokes in between the columns

Step 5

For the opposite page, create a background rectangle using the Rectangle Tool (M). Make sure the rectangle extends to the bleed marks. Set the color on the Swatches panel to the Newsprint swatch. Lock the rectangle in place by pressing Command-L.

Press Shift-Command and click on the running head. I am changing the text to Opinions.

Press Command-D to place the following images in each column: 

add a background to page 3 and add images

Create text boxes with the Text Tool (T) and place them under each image. Add a headline, byline, and body copy. Use the Paragraph Styles panel to format the text boxes. Using the Line Tool (\), add a stroke between each column.

add text boxes under each image and add a stroke in between the columns

Step 6

For the back cover, we will mirror the front cover. Create a text box to cover the top of columns 1 and 2. Use the Paragraph Styles panel to format the text. Add another text box to fit the body copy. Use the Drop Cap and Body Copy styles from the Paragraph Styles panel. 

Press Command-D to Place the Girl baseball team in a team huddle image. Use the Text Wrap panel to add a Wrap Around Bounding Box on the image. Set the Offset value to 0.125 in. Place the image on the lower part of the page. Using the Line Tool (\), add a stroke between the two columns in the text box. Additionally, add a stroke between columns 2 and 3.

add text and images to page 4

For the single column of text, create a text box to fit column 3. Use the Swatches panel to set the color to Newsprint. Open the Text Frame Options by pressing Command-B. Set the Inset Spacing value to 0.125 in. 

Add text and use the Paragraph Styles panel to format the copy. Place the A huddle of school kids image and resize it to fit the guides within column 3.

Use the Text Wrap panel to create a Wrap Around Bounding Box. Set the Offset value to 0.125 in and place the image under the headline.  

create a single column story on page 4

Step 7

Feel free to create your own layout based on the three-column grid. If you would like to extend the number of pages of your newsletter, head over to the Pages panel. Click on the Create New Page button. If you will be printing the newsletter, remember that you need the final page count to be divisible by 4. 

add pages as you wish

5. How to Export a File for Printing

Before exporting a file for printing, it is useful to take a look around all the edges of the InDesign newsletter template. This is to make sure all elements are within the page and the elements that need to bleed out are meeting the bleed marks.

Step 1

To export the file, go to File > Export. Name the file Newsletter Template and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format dropdown menu. Click Save. 

export a PDF file

Step 2

In the Export Adobe PDF window, set the Adobe PDF Preset to Press Quality. Under Pages, select All

set the preset to Press Quality

On the left side of the panel, select the Marks and Bleeds option. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export. You will have a ready-to-print PDF file. 

check all printers marks and bleed settings

Great Job! You’ve Finished This Tutorial!

In this tutorial, you learned how to create an InDesign newsletter template. We covered key typographical hierarchy levels that will make your newsletter design look like a high-end mini-magazine. Today, we learned to:

  • set up a ready-to-print InDesign file
  • set up Master Pages with folios and running heads
  • add Paragraph Styles to format your InDesign newsletter template
  • add nested Character Styles to your Paragraph Styles
  • add Color Swatches to your design
  • use the Text Wrap panel for text and images

If you are new to InDesign and need a classroom newsletter template or monthly newsletter right away, head over to Envato Elements and GraphicRiver. We’ve got many options for you to explore! 

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