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How to Create a Tropical Stationery Set in Adobe InDesign

Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Tropical and botanical patterns are a big trend in brand design right now. Channel the nature-inspired look with this letterhead and business card set—perfect for making great first impressions with new clients.

In this tutorial suitable for beginners to Adobe InDesign, we’ll look at how to lay out the card and letterhead and prepare them for printing.

Looking for a quick stationery fix? You can download and adapt lots of easy-to-edit stationery templates from Envato Elements and GraphicRiver.

What You’ll Need to Create Your Stationery Set

You’ll need access to Adobe InDesign, and to download the following patterns and font files:

1. How to Set Up the Stationery Document in InDesign

Step 1

Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document. 

Set the Width of the page to 2 in and Height to 3.5 in. Increase the Number of Pages to 4, and uncheck Facing Pages. 

Add Margins of 0.1875 in and a Bleed of 0.125 in, before clicking Create.

new document

Step 2

Expand the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on the Layer 1 name, renaming it Pattern

Create a second new layer, and name this Type

new layer

Lock the Type layer, and click on Pattern to activate it. 

pattern layer

2. How to Create Your Business Card

Step 1

Select the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) and drag across the whole of Page 1, extending the edges up to the edge of the bleed. 

rectangle frame

Go to File > Place, navigate to the ‘patt2.jpg’ file in the Tropical Accent pattern folder, and click Open. Allow it to fill up the whole image frame. 

pattern image

Step 2

Lock the Pattern layer and unlock the layer above, Type

Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the page, extending its edges up to the margin line. From the Swatches panel, set the Fill of the shape to [Paper].

rectangle shape

Step 3

Switch to the Type Tool (T) and create a text frame centrally on the card, about a third of the way down. 

Type in the name of the person or business, and from either the top Controls panel or the Character and Paragraph panels (Window > Type & Tables > Character / Paragraph), set the Font to Abside Smooth, Size 11 pt, Leading 17 pt, Tracking 60, All Caps, and set the text to Align Center.

name text

Step 4

Create a second text frame below the first and type in the occupation of the person. 

Set the Font to Abside Round 1, Size 9 pt, Tracking 60, and Align Center. 

occupation text

Step 5

Add a final text frame below this, listing the website, email and phone number of the business, setting the Font to Abside Smooth, Size 7 pt, Leading 13 pt, Tracking 60, and Align Center. 

contact details

Step 6

Unlock the Pattern layer and select the image frame containing the pattern. Edit > Copy it.

Scroll down to Page 2 of your document and Edit > Paste in Place.


The artwork for your business card is finished—great job! Now we can work on creating a letterhead with a matching style within the same InDesign document.

business card

3. How to Create Your Letterhead

Step 1

Scroll down to Page 3 of your document.

Select the Page Tool (Shift-P) and click onto the page to select it. 

page tool

In the top Controls panel, adjust the Width (W) of the page to 8.5 in and Height (H) to 11 in, to expand the page to a US Letter size. 

page tool controls

Step 2

With the page still selected using the Page Tool, go to Layout > Margins and Columns. 

Increase the Margins to 0.3125 in, and click OK


Scroll down to Page 4, and repeat the process to expand this to a Letter size as well, with a 0.3125 in Margin.

margins and columns

Step 3

Head back up to Page 3 and Edit > Paste to drop a pattern image frame onto the page. 

Expand the edges of the frame to fit the larger page size, and allow the image to scale up, so that it fills the frame completely. 

pattern background

Step 4

Remaining on Page 3, unlock the Type layer and use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a shape across the page, extending it up to the margin edge. 

Set the Fill of the shape to [Paper].

paper rectangle

Step 5

Copy the name and occupation text frames from Page 1, and Paste them onto Page 3. 

Move the text frame towards the top of the white shape, and increase the Font Size a little, to make it more proportional for the letter page size.

type layer

Step 6

Create a header text frame below, set in Abside Smooth. 

Then create another text frame below this for a sub-heading, setting the Font to Domani, Size 12 pt. 

domani font

Use the Line Tool (\) to create small bounding lines above and below the header and sub-heading frames. From the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), set the Weight to 2 pt, and adjust the Cap to a Round Cap.

stroke panel

Step 7

Create a large text frame across the main body of the page. Set your Type Tool cursor in the frame and set the Font to Domani, Size 9 pt, Leading 16 pt, Tracking 60. 

You can type in your body text here, or go to Type > Fill with Placeholder Text, to place filler text in the frame for now. 

body text

Step 8

Add a trio of text frames along the bottom of the letter, setting contact details in each. 

Set the Font to Abside Smooth, Size 9 pt. 

abside font

Use the Line Tool (\) to add two small vertical dividers between each item of text, setting the Weight to 1 pt and adding a Round Cap.

stroke panel

Step 9

To create the reverse side of your letterhead, unlock the Pattern layer and Edit > Copy the pattern image frame sitting on Page 3. 

Scroll down to Page 4 and Edit > Paste in Place. Pull back the edges of the image frame, until they hit the margin line, leaving a blank margin around the edge of the page. 

pattern image

Unlock the Type layer, scroll up to Page 3, and Copy the name and occupation text frames from the top of the page. Head back down to Page 4 and Edit > Paste them onto the page. 

Move them onto the center of the page, adjust the Font Color to [Paper], and increase the Font Size until the text looks more proportional. 

text paper

Great work! Your letterhead artwork is finished and ready for exporting.


4. How to Export Your Stationery Set for Printing

Step 1

Go to File > Export. In the Export window, name the file something like ‘Letterhead and business card for print’ and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format menu at the bottom of the window. Then click Save

In the Export Adobe PDF window that opens, choose [Press Quality] from the Preset menu at the top, and make sure that Pages is set to export All. 

press quality

Step 2

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

marks and bleeds

Conclusion: Your Finished Stationery Set

Your tropical stationery set is ready for sending straight off to print—awesome work!

final set

We've covered a wide range of print design skills over the course of this tutorial. You now know how to create stationery documents in InDesign, import graphic patterns to add style and flair, and format typography to a high standard, as well as using the Page Tool to adjust page sizes as you work.

On the hunt for more great stationery styles? You can find lots of easy-to-edit stationery templates over on Envato Elements and GraphicRiver.

Or why not try out another stationery design tutorial?

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