We’re celebrating all things celebratory this week! And what sort of celebration could be more fun than a night out clubbing?
This flyer is an easy way of tapping into the pastel-neon gradient trend. In this tutorial suitable for beginners to InDesign, we’ll look at how to create gradient swatches and apply them to a simple layout that can be adapted for print or online.
Ready to dance? Let’s go!
What You’ll Need to Create Your Flyer
Once you’ve installed the font files onto your computer, you’re ready to get started.
1. How to Set Up a Flyer Layout in InDesign
Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document.
Set the Width of the page to 4 in and Height to 6 in, to create a standard size flyer.
Set the Margins to 0.4 in and add a Bleed of 0.25 in.
Then go ahead and click OK.
Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on the Layer 1 name. Rename it Background and click OK.
Choose New Layer from the panel’s drop-down menu (at top-right), and name this layer Pattern, before clicking OK.
Then add a further three new layers in this order: Type Behind, Circle and, at the top, Type in Front.
Lock all the layers except the bottom one, Background.
2. How to Create Gradient Swatches in InDesign
You can create the equivalent of Photoshop’s ‘gradient maps’ in InDesign by tweaking the settings of gradient swatches. First, you’ll need to create a base group of standard swatches, to use as building blocks for your gradient swatches.
Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s drop-down menu.
Name this first swatch Neon Mint, and set the Type to Process. You can choose either RGB (for online) or CMYK (for print) depending on your intention to share the flyer in hard or soft copy. Here I’m going for RGB, as I’m planning to share the flyer on social media.
Set the values to R=140 G=249 B=208, and click Add and then OK.
Repeat the process described in the previous step, to create a palette of nine more swatches, with the following names and values:
- Blue: R=61 G=177 B=252
- Pastel Pink: R=250 G=200 B=253
- Rose: R=244 G=136 B=170
- Neon Lime: R=145 G=255 B=142
- Purple: R=110 G=89 B=190
- Neon Pink: R=255 G=84 B=232
- Pastel Lime: R=234 G=247 B=201
- Neon Yellow: R=248 G=255 B=81
- Deep Rose: R=240 G=88 B=171
Now it’s time to create your first gradient swatch. Click on New Gradient Swatch in the Swatch panel’s menu.
Name the swatch Gradient Map 1, set the Type to Linear, and choose Swatches from the Stop Color menu.
Click on the left-hand stop on the Gradient Ramp below, and select Neon Lime from the swatch menu above.
Click on the right-hand stop, and choose Purple.
You can add more colors to your gradient by clicking anywhere on the Gradient Ramp and adding a new stop. From the left side, add a stop set in Neon Pink. Then one in Pastel Lime. And a third one in Neon Yellow.
Make sure the stops are spaced relatively evenly across the ramp, before clicking Add and then OK.
Working on the Background layer, select the Rectangle Tool (M) from the Tools panel (docked to the left side of the workspace) and drag across the whole page, extending it up to the bleed on all sides.
Set the Fill of the shape to Purple from the Swatches panel.
With the shape selected, go to Object on the main menu, and Effects > Transparency.
Pull the Opacity down to 10%.
Click on Inner Glow in the window’s left-hand menu. Increase the Choke to around 4% and Noise to 8%, to add texture across the whole shape. Then click OK.
Create another shape using the Rectangle Tool (M) over the top of this first rectangle. From the Swatches panel, set the Fill to Gradient Map 1.
Go to Window > Color > Gradient and adjust the Angle of the gradient to 110, so that it extends diagonally from the bottom-right to the top-left corner of the page. You can also adjust the position of the stops to soften the gradient if you need to.
3. How to Build Up Shapes and Typography on Your Flyer
Return to the Layers panel and choose New Gradient Swatch from the drop-down menu.
Call this swatch Gradient Map 2, and choose Blue and Neon Mint from the swatches list to create a two-color gradient. Click Add, and then OK.
Lock the Background layer and unlock the Circle layer.
Select the Ellipse Tool (L), and, holding Shift, drag to create a perfect circle across the center of the page. Set the Fill to Gradient Map 2 and Stroke to [None].
With the circle shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Drop Shadow.
Click on the colored square to the right of the Mode menu at the top, and change the Effect Color to Pastel Pink. Click OK, and add about 13% Noise to the shadow. Then click OK to exit the window.
Lock the Circle layer and unlock the layer below, Type Behind.
Take the Type Tool (T) and drag to create a square text frame at the top-right corner of the circle shape.
Type in ‘C’ and, from either the top Controls panel or the Character panel (Window > Type & Tables > Character), set the Font to Charlevoix Pro ExtraBold, Size 130 pt.
Adjust the Font Color to [Paper] from the Swatches panel.
Select the text frame and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste. Move this second frame to the bottom-right corner of the circle, as shown below.
Select both the ‘C’ and ‘B’ text frames and head up to Object > Effects > Drop Shadow.
Switch the Effect Color to Neon Mint, pull the Opacity down to about 60%, and add 25% Noise. Then click OK.
Take the Type Tool (T) again and create a smaller, longer text frame next to the ‘B’ frame.
Type in ‘NIGHT’ and set the Font to Charlevoix Pro Medium, Size 22 pt and increase the Tracking (letter-spacing) to 90. Change the Font Color to Pastel Lime.
Then Right-Click on the text frame and choose Transform > Rotate 90 Degrees CW.
Move the text frame to sit snugly against the left side of the ‘B’ letter.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create another small text frame up in the right-hand corner of the page. Here you can add an introductory sentence such as ‘RIOT BLVD presents its opening’.
Set the Font to Charlevoix Pro, setting titles in Bold and other text in Medium. You can set most text in [Paper], but pull out key info in a contrasting color like Deep Rose.
Add more text frames to the bottom-left corner of the page, setting text in Charlevoix Pro Bold, Medium and Regular to create hierarchy, and the Font Color to [Paper].
Head back to the Layers panel and expand the Type Behind layer by clicking on the small arrow symbol to the left of the layer’s name.
Select the <B> element with your mouse and drag it down onto the Create New Layer button at the bottom of the panel to duplicate it.
Unlock the Type in Front layer at the top, before dragging the <B> copy upwards to sit on this layer. Then you can lock the Type Behind layer, and work on the Type in Front layer.
Edit the ‘B’ letter on the Type in Front layer to read ‘L’ instead and move it to sit above the ‘B’.
Select the ‘L’ text frame and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste, adjusting the letter of the copy to read ‘U’. Move so that it sits below the ‘C’, as shown below.
4. How to Add a Retro Pattern to Your Flyer
Lock the Type in Front layer and unlock the Pattern layer.
Switch to the Pen Tool (P) and click onto the page or pasteboard three times to create a triangle shape, before uniting the shape at its first anchor point. Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select anchor points individually and move them to create a symmetrical triangle shape.
Set the Fill of the triangle shape to Rose and Stroke Color to [None].
Move the triangle over to the top-left corner of the page, and scale it down and rotate it a little.
With the shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Drop Shadow. Switch the Effect Color to Neon Lime and add about 10% Noise, before clicking OK.
Copy and Paste the triangle repeatedly, scattering shapes around the page and rotating them to different angles to create a jaunty, jumpy effect.
Your flyer’s finished! Awesome work!
All that’s left to do now is File > Save your hard work, and then File > Export to export it as either a print-ready PDF file (choose Adobe PDF [Print] from the Format menu) or online image file (choose JPEG or PNG).
Conclusion: Your Finished Flyer
Pastel-neon gradients are a big trend for this year, and this colorful flyer is a great way to tap into the style. It works perfectly for club or party flyers—but why not try using gradient swatches on different designs too?
In this tutorial, you’ve picked up some handy skills for applying to InDesign and other layout projects in the future. You now know how to:
- Create gradient swatches (or ‘gradient maps’) in Adobe InDesign.
- Layer color, shapes, patterns and type for a 3D look in your designs.
- Format typography to a high standard.
- Apply sophisticated effects to graphics, like glows, shadows, and transparencies.