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

Graphic Design Exercises
InDesign: Newspaper Ad


To learn InDesign layout and production techniques by recreating the ad below.


prepping for the exercise

  1. download starter files
  2. turn on Birch (instructions)
  3. launch InDesign
  4. file > new: width = 51p9, height = 84p; margins=0; bottom slug=3p (more options); save preset "news gazette 4x14"
  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)
  7. rename "layer 1" "pix"
  8. new layer "type"
  9. file > place all assets (cmd+D) on appropriate layers

laying out the ad

  1. replace two spaces with one space (cmd+F)
  2. relace two ¶ with one ¶ (^p=RETURN)
  3. window > paragraph styles: normal=10/14 ITC Century Std Book; hyphenation=off; justification=single line composer
  4. split up text into logical frames
  5. make head and subhead Birch, size visually
  6. indent body copy with a tab (except first paragraph); make tab 1p6
  7. object > text frame options: columns=2
  8. add forced column break (ENTER)
  9. tagline text is 18pt (italic)

laying out the chart

  1. draw new text frame (same width as body copy)
  2. table > insert table (2 rows, 5 columns)
  3. select first row: table > merge cells
  4. cut and paste text into table cells, center (cmd+shift+C)
  5. chart info numbers is 28/25, kerning=optical (new paragraph style "numbers")
  6. use superscript for "$"
  7. small text is 6/8 Helvetica Light Condensed (new paragraph style "small")
  8. boxed text head is Helvetica Black, center (cmd+shift+C), size visually (cmd+< or cmd+>), fill=white
  9. select first row: table > cell options > rows & columns: bg=black
  10. adjust table row height visually; align contents vertically

finishing the ad

  1. add drop shadow to check art (object > drop shadow)
  2. add frame with 1pt border on new layer (snap to edge of ad)
  3. window > strokes: align stroke=inside (adjust box dimensions)
  4. unlock all layers, select all (cmd+A)
  5. group text and check art (cmd+G)
  6. window > align: horizontal align center (to page)
  7. adjust layout until it matches the reference file
  8. file > Adobe PDF presets > high quality (for laser prints)


  1. add slug at bottom with your name and exercise number
  2. print a proof for grading (centered on tabloid paper with slug)
  3. file graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

Last updated: 4/26/17 ■ Webmaster: Paul Young