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

Graphic Design Exercises
InDesign: Catalog Design (CPD)


To review design principles as it relates to publication design. To learn InDesign production techniques by recreating a two-page catalog spread.


Catalogs by definition contain a lot of information. Creating a consistent grid and typography system will help unify the publication. Adding variety with contrasting sizes of photos/illustrations will help bring variety to the layout. Using rules may help organize complex information.


preparing for the exercise

  1. download starter files
  2. examine downloaded files
  3. examine PDF reference file
  4. launch InDesign
  5. file > new (letter, portrait, margins=0, facing pages=yes, bleed=1p)
  6. type > show hidden characters (cmd+opt+I)
  7. insert 2 new pages (total of 3)
  8. window > pages
  9. go to page 2: numbering & section options: start at 34
  10. delete page 1
  11. copy text from PDF file into InDesign (set to side)
  12. add new colors: PMS 363, 5255

creating style sheets

  1. new character style "bold": style=Condensed Bold 77
  2. new character style "bullet": Zapf Dingbats (use dingbat character "n")
  3. new paragraph style "body": ITC Bookman 8.5/10, space after=0p4, color=PMS 5255, hyph=off
  4. new paragraph style "text" (based on "body"): Helvetica Neue 47 Light Condensed 7.5/8.5
  5. new paragraph style "text + rule" (based on "text"): rule above=.75pt, offset=0p8, color=PMS 363; tabs: add left tabs as needed; drop caps & nested styles: add new nested style: "bold" through 1 tab character
  6. new paragraph style "title" (based on "text"): Helvetica Neue 95 Black 12/13, color=PMS 363; drop caps & nested styles: add new nested style: "bullet" through 1 character
  7. new paragraph style "side" (based on "title"): size=48, color=paper
  8. new paragraph style "top" (based on "text"): 7/10 all caps, centered, tracking=300, color=PMS 363, rule below=.75pt, offset=0p4

create the grid and layout

  1. go to master page (cmd+J: A)
  2. rename "layer 1" "grid"
  3. indesign > preferences: units: origin=page
  4. draw horiz guides: 1p6, 4p6, 64p
  5. draw vert guides: 5p, 8p6, 48p; 3p, 42p6, 46p
  6. new layer "side"
  7. draw side boxes (fill=green)
  8. add type for sides and top, apply style
  9. insert automatic page numbering (type > insert special characters)
  10. new layer "text"
  11. draw text frame (2 columns with 2p gutter)
  12. view > extras > show text threads
  13. link main text frames
  14. return to page 34 (cmd+J: 34)
  15. new layer "pix", place pictures, make blue
  16. flow in text, apply styles
  17. make inline "embedded" text frames for "new" and "free" (object > anchored objects options: y offset = ??)
  18. use tables to divide columns (when needed)
  19. add your name to bottom of file as a "slug"

print production/grading

  1. window > output > separations
  2. check colors (CMYK vs Pantone), delete unused colors
  3. file > package
  4. print a color proof on 12x18 paper (spreads, bleeds, crops, slug)
  5. file graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

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