Whether you’re a photographer, illustrator or graphic designer, having a portfolio that presents your work beautifully is a sure way to help you stand head and shoulders above the competition.
In this simple tutorial, you’ll learn how to create an InDesign portfolio template that can be easily adapted to your own content, complete with a stylish design, front and back cover, masters, and a print-friendly color palette.
So if you’re looking to impress some new clients, make sure to read on to find out how to put together this minimal and stylish portfolio brochure design.
What You’ll Need to Create Your Portfolio
You don’t need much to create a stylish portfolio—after all, it’s your images which will be taking center-stage. You do, however, need access to Adobe InDesign and a stylish font to use on your design:
Download and install the font on your computer.
The images used in the digital brochure design pictured here are:
- Urban fashion girl
- Man in the city
- Fashion model
- Fashion model
- Fashion portrait
- Portrait of beautiful woman
- Close-up portrait
- Beautiful woman staring
- Handsome man with beard
- Biker woman on motorcycle
- Girl on background of sea
1. How to Set Up the Portfolio Document in InDesign
Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document.
With the intent at the top of the window set to Print, choose Letter for the page size, and set the Orientation to Landscape.
Increase the Number of Pages to 10, and make sure Facing Pages is checked.
Set the Top and Outside Margins to 16 mm, the Inside to a more generous 20 mm, and the Bottom Margin to 18 mm.
Add a 5 mm Bleed to all edges of the page except the Inside edge, which should be kept as 0 mm.
Expand the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and choose New Color Swatch from the panel’s main drop-down menu.
Set the values to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4, and click Add and Done.
Repeat to create two more new swatches, C=49 M=39 Y=38 K=20 and C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0.
Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1, to rename it Background.
Create three more new layers—Images, Overlays, and Type.
Then lock all the layers except Type, which we’ll work on first.
2. How to Set Up the Master for Your Portfolio
In the Pages panel (Window > Pages), double-click on the A-Master icon at the top to bring it up on screen.
Pull out a guide from the left-hand ruler to 139 mm on the left-hand page of the spread, and a guide from the top ruler down to 106 mm to mark out the center point between the page’s margins.
Select both guides and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste them, moving them over to a mirrored position on the right-hand page.
Select the Type Tool (T) and create a small text frame at the bottom of the left-hand page, centering it on the guide.
Type in ‘- -’.
Set your type cursor between the two dashes and head up to Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number.
Set the Font of the text to Bergen Sans Semi Bold, Size 12 pt, Tracking 10 and Align Center.
From the Swatches panel, set the Font Color to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4.
Copy and Paste the text frame, moving the copy over to the right page, into a mirrored position at the bottom of the page.
In the Pages panel, click on the [None] master icon at the top of the panel to highlight it. Then choose Apply Master to Pages from the panel’s menu.
Type in ‘1-3, 10’ and click OK, to remove page numbers from the front and back cover and the first inside spread.
3. How to Add Background Color to Your Portfolio
Lock the Type layer and unlock the bottom layer, Background.
Double-click on Page 1 in the Pages panel to bring it up on screen. This will be the front cover of your portfolio.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a tall, narrow shape across the left edge of the page, setting the Fill to C=33 M=12 Y=12 K=0.
Scroll down to Page 3, and create a second shape across the whole page, extending the edge up to the bleed and the spine, and setting the Fill to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4.
Select this shape and Copy it. Scroll down to Page 8 and Paste the shape onto the page.
Scroll down to the final page, Page 10, which will be the back cover of your portfolio, and Paste again. Switch up the Fill to C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0.
4. How to Add Images to Your Portfolio
Head back up to Page 1, the front cover of your portfolio. Lock the Background layer and unlock the Images layer above.
Use the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) to create an image frame across the right side of the page, extending it up to the bleed edge on the top and bottom.
Go to File > Place, navigate to an image for your cover (in this case, I’m using this close-up portrait), and Open it.
Create a second, smaller image frame on the center of Page 2, placing another image (here, I’ve used this one).
Create another image frame on Page 4, centering the frame using the guides. File > Place, selecting an image with a portrait (not landscape layout), such as this one of a woman on a beach.
Double-click inside the frame to directly select the image, and shuffle its position so that the top half of the image is visible inside the frame.
Copy and Paste the image frame, moving the copy over to the facing page.
Then shuffle the image upwards so that the bottom half of the image is visible in the frame.
Add images to the next spread down, varying the size and layout of your frames to create variety.
On Page 8 and 9, add smaller image frames to the layout, scattering them across the spread.
Lock the Images layer and unlock the layer above, Overlays.
On Page 1, create a shape using the Rectangle Tool (M) over the right side of the image. Set the Fill to C=22 M=24 Y=29 K=4.
With the shape selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency, and set the Mode to Multiply. Click OK.
Copy the shape and head down to Page 6. Paste onto the page, adjust the Fill to C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0, and adjust the width and height of the shape, as shown below.
5. How to Format Typography on Your Portfolio
Lock the Overlays layer and unlock the top layer, Type.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a text frame on the front cover, across the center of the image, typing in a title and setting the Font to Bergen Sans Semi Bold, Size 95 pt, and Font Color to [Paper].
Add more text below set in smaller size Bergen Sans, typing in a subtitle.
Add your name to the cover, switching the Font Color to C=35 M=12 Y=12 K=0. Right-Click > Transform > Rotate the text frame and position it along the left side of the cover.
Scroll down to Page 3. This would be a good place for a contents page or an introductory page.
Format a title set in Bergen Sans Bold, Size 83 pt.
Add body text below set in Bergen Sans Regular, Size 13 pt. Set the text of both frames to Align Right, and flush against the right-hand margin.
You can use both of these text frames as a model for populating other pages.
Copy and Paste both frames together onto other pages in your portfolio.
Add contact details to the back cover of your portfolio, setting the Font to Bergen Sans, as before.
You can also add captions next to your images, set in Bergen Sans Italic, Size 11 pt, and a C=49 M=39 Y=38 K=20 Font Color.
6. How to Export Your Portfolio for Printing
Make sure to File > Save your portfolio. Then go to File > Export.
Choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu and name your file. Click Save.
In the Export Adobe PDF window that opens, choose [Press Quality] from the Preset menu at the top.
Under the Pages options, make sure Pages is checked, not Spreads.
Click on Marks and Bleeds in the window’s left-hand menu.
Check both All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings, before clicking Export.
Awesome work! You can send this PDF straight off to be printed professionally at a print shop or online print-on-demand service.
Conclusion: Your Finished Portfolio Template
Your portfolio layout is finished—great job! You can easily add more pages to your design from the Pages panel, or switch up the color swatches and images for a different look.
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