Graphic Design / Interactive Design / Fine & Applied Arts / Parkland College

Graphic Design Exercises
InDesign: Creating Character Styles


To learn to create and apply character styles. To be introduced to basic print production procedures.


Paragraph styles are very powerful, but they affect entire paragraphs. If you only want to affect a few words, then characters styles will come in very handy. But character styles should only be used when paragraph styles can not do the styling you want.

Preparing "comps" for client approval is often quite different than preparing files for offset printing. Printers will teach you how they want files prepared. Some printers prefer PDFs, others prefer "packaged" InDesign files. In some cases, printers will require you to set up the art as two-up "work-and-turn" or "work-and-tumble" format. This exercise will demomstrate such a situation.

  1. download and unzip the starter files:
  2. open Deep Dive 09.indd
  3. inspect layers, inspect paragraph styles
  4. window > paragraph styles: edit "Schedule": indents & spacing: left indent=1p, first line indent = -1p

create character styles

  1. select the first word and the colon after it
  2. window > character styles: opt+new style "run-in head", apply style to selection=yes: 87 Heavy Condensed, all caps, 6.5 pts
  3. apply new style to all of the paragraph heads
  4. select the URL in the Register paragraph
  5. window > character styles: opt+new style "web": 87 Heavy Condensed, character color=Pantone 281 blue, overprint fill=yes

proofread and clean up text

  1. check for bad line breaks
  2. check for incorrect use of hyphens
  3. check for optical alignment (i.e. "Meeting of the minds)
  4. check for poor kerning (use optical kerning for numbers)
  5. check for style corrections (i.e. AM/PM)
  6. insert thin spaces as needed

print production

  1. add your name and exercise number to bottom of page; lock "type" layer
  2. new layer "guides": draw guides; lock
  3. new layer "crops": draw crop marks (stroke=.5pt, color=registration); lock
  4. unlock "pix" layer: extend art for bleed; lock
  5. hide "FPO" layer
  6. window > output > separations preview: view=separations, inpect each printing plate
  7. window > swatches: edit Pantone 281 (color type=process)
  8. file > adobe PDF presets: press quality
  9. file > package: include PDF=yes (press quality)
  10. open PDF, print b&w proof


  1. submit b&w proof with your name and exercise number on it for grading
  2. file your graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 3/2/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young