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

Graphic Design Exercises
InDesign: Size, Leading, Length, and Visual Alignment


To see how type size, leading, and line length affect the appearance of a block of text. To learn to optimize these parameters for effectiveness. To learn how to align type visually.

We will be creating this postcard:

sample card

  1. download starter files
  2. launch InDesign
  3. file > new > document (cmd+N):
    pages=1; facing pages=no; page size=51p0 x 33p0 (or "half letter"); columns=2; gutter=2p0; margins=2p0; slug=3p0 (bottom)
  4. file > save as "kandinsky.indd"

typesetting the front of the postcard

  1. file > place kandinsky.jpg: aligned with top margin, scale to fit column width (cmd+shift+drag)
  2. file > place kandinsky.doc in the right column
  3. spec 10/12 Futura Book; hyphenation=off
  4. cut and paste "Kandinsky" from right column to below image
  5. increase leading (opt+up arrow) for readability and alignment
  6. add RETURN after quote to push the reference to the next line
  7. spec quote: bold oblique (cmd+shift+B and cmd+shift+I),
    reduce size by 1pt
  8. spec reference: 9pt small caps, align right (cmd+shift+R)
  9. select text frame; type > story: Optical Margin Alignment=yes
    (note hanging quote)
  10. adjust alignment: increase "align based on size"; adjust kerning
  11. adjust text frame width for optimum line breaks
  12. select "Kandinsky" under image, spec bold, all caps (cmd+shift+K)
  13. increase size to fill column width (cmd+shift+< or >)
  14. force the K to align with the image, hang the diagonal of the Y
  15. add your name and exercise number to the bottom (in slug area on master page)
  16. preview the card (W)
  17. file > print (centered, with crop marks and slug)


  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

Note: this file will be used for the next exercise

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