How To Make A Simple Music Festival Poster in Adobe InDesign

by . August 23rd, 2012

Ever since Adobe InDesign was launched in 1999 it has revolutionized the world of print publishing. It gave the world an easier and a streamlined system from designing in the computer to the actual print production. While it may not have the photo-editing capabilities of Photoshop or the superior control over vector graphics in Illustrator, Adobe InDesign makes up for it by making desktop publishing easy and as painless as possible.

One of the best things in working on Adobe InDesign is that you can import .PSD and .AI files and re-edit those files in their native programs and save it there without having to bother copying, pasting and adjusting your layouts again from scratch since the imported file in the InDesign document will automatically update itself.

And although there are still designers who don’t consider the program’s prowess, we here at YTD would like to give you a glimpse of how invaluable Adobe InDesign is to every graphic designer by making a simple poster.

Before we get started let us first get the things that will be used in this tutorial.


Tutorial Assets:

Download the 8.5″ x 11″ Poster at UPrinting’s Template Page Poster Template (Go to Templates Tab > Select JPEG as the application format > Click the Download link for the 8.5×11 file setup). We will use this as our guide for the bleed, margins and the printing area of the document.

Don’t forget to also download the other assets that will be used in this tutorial:

1. Crowd
2. Strobe
3. Bebas Neue Font

Make sure to setup the font before getting started with this tutorial.



Step 1: Getting Started


Fire up Adobe Indesign and then go to File > New or (CTRL+N) and that you will see this dialouge box:

Just go to Page Size and change it to “Letter”.

Once you’re done, the next thing to do is import the template. To do this just go to File > Place (CTRL+D). After that you’ll be able to place the template anywhere in the document.

However we need the template to be centered. We can do that by simply using the Align option. If you can’t see the Align option just go to Windows > Object & Layout >Align and you’ll be able to see this:

To align the template in the page, first go to the drop down menu, then choose Align to Page then select the image after that. You can then click Align Horizontal Centers under Align Objects; afterward click Align Vertical Centers


Step 2: Adding the images:


After placing the template in the center, we’ll go to the layers panel then rename the current layer as “Template”. We can then lock the Template layer since we are not going to edit it. After that we will make a new layer which we will rename “Crowd”.

Do the same thing that we did on the template and after that crop the image to make it fit. In InDesign you can easily crop just by using the Selection Tool (V) and dragging the control points of the image.  What I did is that I centered the image first and drag the sides until it is aligned to the template’s bleed. After that I locked the layer so I will not be able to select it.

Next is create a new layer and rename it: “Strobes”. Unlike the Crowd layer which is a rectangular framed photo we will have a circular framed one and  here is how to do it:

Choose the Ellipse Frame Tool in the Tool Box. Drag and hold shift to create a perfect circle and once you are happy with the size of your circle, click it and press CTRL+D to place the file inside the ellipse. You will notice that only a small part of the image is displayed. This is because the imported image is in its actual size. To edit this, just press A or the Direct Selection Tool. Select the image by going over the control points and size it down until you hit the desired size.

After placing both images, we will lock the layer for now to avoid it getting selected.


Step 3: Adding in the graphics


For the additional graphic, we will create it in InDesign with the use of the Pen Tool (P). Now make a new layer and rename it to Wavelenghts. Since this is a poster for a music festival I have decided to make the design like those wavelengths that we see in our music players and other sound devices, but instead of a thin lined wavelength I made it thicker.

Apart from aesthetic purposes, this vector graphic will also serve as the space where we will put the text, so keep in mind that the graphic should be a bit bigger to accommodate the text. Using different colors it will give the poster that fun vibe. Keep making the vector until you reach the end of the poster. This is how mine looks like:

After much contemplating I decided to make 2 more of these since we will also need space for the bands and for the sponsors as well.

Now its time to add the text.


Step 4: Adding the Text


I decided to use Bebas Neue since the font is thick and clean but at the same time, it is not too thick that its distracting. Aside from that it will go along well with the straight lines of the vector graphic. Now create a new layer and change its name to Text.

Using the Text Tool drag along to the work area to create a text box. Then type “Sound Scapes”, change the text color to yellow and fit it in the blue vector graphic. Once you are done just press CTRL+ALT+C so that the excess text box will be reduced just to fit in the text. After that, I made the text bigger (by selecting the font using the Selection Tool (V) while holding CTRL) since it is the title of the event. Then I have it sheared and rotated for 6 degrees to give it an edgy feel. To do that, click the text and take a look at the bar below the main menu bar. You will see this:

For the title I decided to cut the blue graphic using the text “Sound Scape” to set it apart from other texts.

To do this, first copy the blue vector graphic (CTRL+C) and paste it in place to the Text layer (CTRL+SHFT+ALT+V). This will put the blue vector graphic above the text. Next, right click the blue vector graphic and go to Arrange > Send to back.

This will put the blue vector graphic behind the text. Now outline the text first by selecting the text and pressing CTRL+SHFT+ALT+O to outline the text. Now the text will be a vector base graphic, so before we go ahead I moved the original text out from the vector based text since the next step won’t work if the text is still selected.

Now to cut the blue vector graphic, select the outlined text and the vector graphic and go to Pathfinder and click Exclude Overlap (If you can’t find the Pathfinder just go to Windows > Object & Layout > Pathfinder). The vector text will now be a hole in the vector graphic. Also the graphic will take in the color of the outlined text which was yellow in my case but I changed it back into blue.

I placed the original Sound Scape text just a bit off center from the cut to give it the effect that its going out from the hole.

After that I place in the other texts like the sub-headline, bands and of course the sponsors and did the same treatment as the headline text where I sheard and rotated it by 6 degrees.

I am not satisfied of how the color of the images go along with the vector graphic so what I did is edit the Strobe and the Crowd layer in Photoshop. Instead of searching for the file and opening it there, you can actually right click the image and choose Edit Image With… And from there just look for Adobe Photoshop. If Photoshop is not listed there what you can do is go to Other and search for the Adobe Photoshop program (Its the Photoshop.exe).


Step 5:  Editing the image in Photoshop


Once in Photoshop I decided to give the images a vintage film look. To do this, you can go to the Adjustment Layers > Curves > RGB then go to the Red Channel and tweak the line to a S curve. The same goes for the Green and Blue Channels. Next I chose the Exposure in the Adjustments Layers and increased the Offset a bit to give the photo a faded look.

I did the same for the Crowd. After getting the look I wanted I overwrite the original file so that when I go back to InDesign it will automatically update the placed image.

This is how mine looks like after tweaking the images:


Step 6: Final Touches


After making the Strobe and Crowd images look like something that came out from a film camera, I still felt the design has too much negative space so what I did is I added some lines that will give the poster a more edgy feel to it.

First, we will create a new layer under the Strobe layer. We will then add some diamond outlines at the back of the Strobe layer by making use of the Rectangle Tool (M). Hold the Shift button and drag it along the the image until you have the same size as the circle.

Then we will rotate it into a diamond shape,  make it a little bit smaller, triplicate the outline and even out the spacing manually. Here’s how mine looks like:

I have decided to add more lines but instead of the diamond outlines I figured that using a row of slanted lines would be more appropriate to fill in the negative space. Before we proceed in making the lines, first go to Edit > Preferences > Units and Increments a dialogue box will pop out.

You will see under the Keyboard Increments that there is the Cursor Key where you can change the value. I changed mine into 0.098 inches and then click okay.

Now the next thing we will do is make use of the line tool. Draw a straight horizontal line and then tilt it just like what we did on the text by changing the values of  the Rotation Angle to -45 degrees. Once you have the line rotated you can change the thickness of  the line depending on how thick you want the line to be. For me 2 points is thick enough.

After changing the desired thickness press ALT+Right Arrow Key. This will duplicate the selected line to its right. Remember we change the value of the Cursor Key in the Units and Increments menu, so take note that it will affect the spacing of the original object to the duplicated one. I duplicated the line for 20 times to get this:

Before adjusting the position of the line I grouped the lines into one, so it would be easier to select the lines. After that I adjusted its place in the poster. I did this process 2 more times using different values and number of lines in a group and finally ended with this:

Now I’m satisfied with the design and the overall look of the poster its time to save and export this document.


Step 6: Saving and Exporting Files


You can either save it as a .INDD, which is an InDesign file but be aware that if you change the location of the images used, the next time you will open the file, a pop-up error will come out and will ask you to relink the images. This can be easily solved by packing the files. Packaging the files in Adobe InDesign gathers all your files and creates a new folder where the InDesign file as well as the used fonts and images are saved in one folder. Packaging files is easy, just save your work first then go to Files > Package or ALT+SHIFT+CTRL+P.  This will prompt a dialogue box where it will notify you if you have any errors in the document like in this case:

I intentionally did not change the color mode of the 2 images used into CMYK mode for illustration purposes. Now once you fixed all the errors you can just click Package and continue until it asks you what you will name your folder and where will you save it. After that, you are all set. Now keep in mind that the older versions of InDesign cannot open new versions of InDesign files so what you can do is that after packaging, you can export (CTRL+E) it to an IDML file or InDesign Markeup file and save it inside the recently packaged folder. This will allow you to open InDesign files saved using older versions of the software with the newer ones.

There are many ways to export your file for printing purposes. One of the most obvious  is by exporting it to JPEG which is already a compressed flattened file. You can also opt to have it exported into a PDF file format. But bear in mind that PDF files are not flattened and if your file would undergo pre-press, you will most likely encounter the missing font problem. To avoid this all you have to do is outline the text before exporting it to PDF  just as what we did on the Sound Scape text and it will turn all the text into vector based objects. Do this by selecting everything (CTRL+A) and then outlining it (CTRL+SHIFT+ALT+O) before export. Just remember to not save the outlined document because you won’t be able to edit the text if there are some typographical errors. Instead,  just Undo (CTRL+Z) your last action and Save (CTRL+S).

Here is the finished product:



Final Notes:


Unlike in Photoshop and Illustrator where you have to choose between CMYK and RGB before you start your work. InDesign uses both color profiles and prevents any changes in color as you work on your document. When printing, InDesign converts any RGB placed content into CMYK and as a rule of thumb all images that will be placed in InDesign should be converted to CMYK to avoid color complications in the printing process.



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