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

Graphic Design Exercises
Direct Mail Flyer: University YMCA


To learn advanced Photoshop and InDesign production techniques by recreating this direct mail flyer:


InDesign and Photoshop are now so well integrated that any transparency in Photoshop can be used in InDesign. Photoshop transparency is anti-aliased which means vector objects and type will blend nicely behind a cut-out pixel object.

Also see this refine edge tutorial


Silhouetting an image in Photoshop

  1. downloaded starter files
  2. examine downloaded files
  3. open "dancer.jpg" in Photoshop
  4. rename "background" layer (double-click)
  5. layer > new: fill with green (opt+DELETE), move to bottom
  6. MAGIC WAND tool: tolerance=16, select white, add to selection (SHIFT)
  7. select > inverse
  8. select > save selection (new channel)
  9. select > refine edge:
    • view=on layers (L)
    • radius=1
    • feather=1
    • shift edge=-70%
    • decontaminate colors=yes
    • output to = new layer with layer mask
  10. use REFINE EDGE tool to expand (paint) or contract (paint+OPT) detection area; [ or ] to change brush size
  11. hide "green" layer
  12. save as "dancer.psd"

Creating a rough layout in InDesign

  1. install downloaded font Cachet
  2. launch InDesign
  3. file > new: number of pages=2, facing pages=no, page size=7.5x10 inches, margins=0, bleed=1p
  4. rename "layer1" as "guides"
  5. go to A-master (cmd+J: A)
  6. draw horizontal guide at 30p
  7. return to page 1 (cmd+J: 1)
  8. lock "guides" layer, new layer: "art"
  9. file > place logo, text and images
  10. rough out layout: scale/crop/rotate art as needed (cmd+shift drag corner handle)
  11. color theme tool: opt+click "indian-wedding-decor-ideas.jpg", add theme to swatches
  12. eye dropper tool: add additional colors as needed
  13. lock "art" layer, new layer "bg"
  14. draw rectangular frames, fill with colors

Styling the text

  1. show hidden characters (cmd+opt+I)
  2. cut and paste text into logical text frames (delete last ¶)
  3. all fonts are Cachet (either Book or Bold)
  4. change "Basic Paragraph" style to 10/12 (window > paragraph styles)
  5. new style "text": preview=yes, apply to selection=yes, based on=basic paragraph; hyphenation=off; character color=paper
  6. new style "text+bold": based on=text, font=Cachet Bold, case=all caps
  7. new style "text+large": based on=text+bold, 16/15
  8. new style "text+small": based on=text, 8/10
  9. new style "h1": based on=text+bold, 80/60
  10. apply styles, check for bad line breaks
  11. refine layout to match PDF sample
  12. add your name and exercise number to mailing panel
  13. file > package
  14. file > adobe PDF presets > high quality (crop=yes, bleeds=yes)
  15. print duplexed with crops and bleeds centered on 8.5x11 paper
    • choose color laserjet
    • setup: centered
    • marks and bleeds: crops=yes
    • click PRINTER: 2-sided=yes
    • click SHOW DETAILS
    • layout: long edge binding
    • paper feed: all pages from: tray 1 (manual) (optional: for cover stock)


  1. submit color laser with your name and exercise number for grading
  2. file graded proof in your Process Book for individual review

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