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

Graphic Design Exercises
Identity: One Beacon Court


To learn the conventions of typesetting business cards and stationery. To be introduced to InDesign's professional typesetting tools by example.


Stationary systems are usually the first application to be designed as part of an identity system. The key to making stationery systems work is absolute consistency between the elements. In addition, take the following guidelines into account:

  • business cards do not necessarily have to be a "standard" size, but it shouldn't be any larger
  • design the business card first
  • before deciding on a business card layout, do one layout in each of the four systems of visual organization (grid, symmetrical, asymmetrical, random)
  • when designing a letterhead, design it with a letter in place
  • when designing business envelopes, take into consideration postal regulations (see downloaded PDF from USPS)
  1. download starter files
  2. inspect downloaded files
  3. launch InDesign
  4. file > new: letter, portrait, facing pages; margins=0; (save preset "blank portrait"); save as "identity.indd"
  5. practice Adobe navigation keyboard shortcuts: space=hand; space+cmd=zoom in; space+cmd+opt=zoom out; cmd+zero=fit in window
  6. practice InDesign preview shortcuts: cmd+opt+I (show/hide hidden characters); W (normal/preview mode)

laying out the business cards

  1. rename "layer 1" "box"
  2. draw box for business card (3.5 x 2 inches)
  3. new layer "type"
  4. file > place "", "one.txt" (cmd+D)
  5. spec type: 7.5/9 Sabon and Sabon SC
  6. split text into appropriate text frames, edit text
  7. match design for "grid" layout
  8. duplicate the "grid" design and layout the other 3 designs

laying out the letterhead

  1. duplicate page 1, go to page 2
  2. delete extra elements, edit type, adjust logo size
  3. change type to 8/11
  4. draw guide for margins (1.25 inches)
  5. file > place "letter.doc" (cmd+D)
  6. spec letter: 11/13 Helvetica Medium
  7. adjust layout to match PDF sample

laying out the envelope

  1. duplicate page 2, go to page 3
  2. delete extra elements
  3. draw box for envelope (9-1/2 x 4-1/8 inches)
  4. adjust layout to match PDF sample
  5. rotate envelope 90 degrees for printing
  6. add your name to the bottom of each page
  7. print; submit b&w laser proof with your name on it for grading
  8. file graded proof in your 3-ring binder for individual review

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