Design a Promo Postcard with Adobe InDesign | Adriana Bergstrom | Skillshare

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Design a Promo Postcard with Adobe InDesign

teacher avatar Adriana Bergstrom, Illustrator & Designer

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (31m)
    • 1. Welcome

    • 2. Design Thoughts

    • 3. File Setup

    • 4. Format Doc

    • 5. Address Format

    • 6. Print Test

    • 7. Export File

    • 8. Closing Thoughts - Thanks!

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About This Class

Class Title: Design & Print a Promo Postcard with InDesign

Learn to design and print a professional promotional postcard featuring your art using Adobe CC's InDesign software.

This class is about making promotional postcards with inDesign. Artists will need Adobe CC's InDesign, their digitized artwork, and a printer.

Students will learn to import images into InDesign, format them for printing with any online or local printer. Then they test print at home and export as needed for printing companies.

 It’s geared toward artists and creatives so we will be focusing on bringing together illustration and text to promote your latest work, story, illustration project, etc and keep in contact with art directors, editors, and publishers you want to work with.


Check out and download the size guide created to help you design your postcard.

Need a printer? There's a handy list I've compiled in the PDFs under Resources.

Meet Your Teacher

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Adriana Bergstrom

Illustrator & Designer


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1. Welcome: Hi, My name is Adriana Bergstrom. I am a graphic designer and illustrator, and in this class, I'm going to teach you how to make your own promotional postcards. This is just a small sampling of the postcards that I have designed throughout the years to promote my artwork or business or service patterns, or whatever I happen to be promoting at the at that moment. Um, postcards, especially four by six inch postcards of us, are the easiest way to get your art in front of art directors and editors or other people, so you can hand them out at events. You can sell them at a gift shop, or you can send them out yourself to promote your product. In this class, you're going to need Adobe in design, which comes standard with the Adobe Creative Cloud suite, and we're also gonna need your artwork, so make sure you have your artwork ready to go. It should be saved at a high resolution or if it's photographed, it should be photographed with a high quality camera and all of your lighting and all that stuff should be done beforehand. Through this class, I will walk you through how to create a print ready file so that you can use a local or online printer to print your postcards. I will also help you run a test a test print on your own home computer and home printer so that you can be sure that the file you send out is professional level quality and ready to print. 2. Design Thoughts: have a couple of questions for you. Firstly, who is this postcard? For? Over the years, I have designed a lot of different postcards and you'll see that there they just look really different, and it's because they're for different purposes. Some of them are to sell in greeting card shops. Some of them are to promote like a Children's book. Some of them are for promoting a booth at a trade show. Others to promote a surface pattern collection. So to start, you have to know who, therefore and what kind of job you want them to dio. Let's start with postcards you would sell at a gift shop. You know, if they have a different look about them, they have a single image. They're focused either on a location or on a event like a birthday. I live in Florida, and so a lot of my post crash for the local souvenir shops and the local gift shops are Florida based, so you'll see like tropical images and stuff like that from me, because that's what people come to Florida for. Your art should be eye catching so that someone will pick it up and on the back I have 12345 lines because if you like to do hand lettering, give yourself every opportunity to let your creative skills shine right here I have my logo and then I have a A line for copyright. And then I have five lines to address to whoever whomever it may be. According to the U. S. P. S. The address has to be on the right side, and the stamp has to also be on the right side. He could be vertical, too. But either way, the the address has to be in the right side, and there has to be a space for a stamp. So if you go portrait and I never do actually, because I have, I always have too much to say and I laid out horizontally. This one has a mini bio. Many biography here again, it has space for a stamp, has five lines for the address and plenty of room for the end user to write whatever message they want to write on my logo appear with my website. If I were to do it again, you'll notice that the type is really small. I would make sure that my website address is way bigger because it it's hard to read, and I admit that. So learn from my mistakes, people. If you're promoting a Children's book, for example, this one is to promote a Children's book. Oftentimes you're trying to tell a story with the card itself. And so this is a good example for Boomer. Your service. This is It's a scene of before and after so before and then after. So before he saves the guy from getting hit by the truck and then after, when the guy gets mad at him. If it's a concept that has not yet been printed like, for example, these two concepts have not yet been picked up. Um, I gave I give a little sample of the story itself. This one is a nonfiction book. It gives a little bit more information about the character and the concept itself. So you have characters in different positions. You have examples of hand lettering, and, of course, you always include your contact information. It also has this bar down here. Now this is actually kind of Hey, it's a little bit of trouble for the post office, so if you can avoid putting anything in the bottom half inch. I avoid it because this is where they put the barcode like if you're not handing these out in person, if you plan on putting them in the mail, leave this bottom half inch clear so that the post office could just really quickly do the printed barcode as opposed to the sticker barcode. Because those get more easily stuck in the mail. That's just a little tip handy tip for you. If it's for a trade show, there's certain things you need on it. We need the name of the show. In this case, it was surtax, or if it's a gallery, you need the name of the gallery. If it's a limited time appearance, which they always are, you give usually will give the dates. And so this one is actually lacking the Danes, who you're exhibiting with if it's with an agent or a collective or whatever, that should be on there, too. And then on the back, you need to leave space for on address and a stamp, especially if this is going in the mail and not going to be handed out at a show. This card is a giveaway card or a promotional card, and it's meant to promote my business. You'll see that it looks very different on the back. There's no space for an address. Instead, you have two different collections. It has smaller divisions for artwork. It has a miniature biography on top, so people know who I am. It gives a taste of my work, and it's like a mini portfolio. And always, always, always, always has my contact info. All right, so answer those 1st 2 questions. Who is this postcard for? And what job do you need this postcard to do? And that will help you figure out what content you need and how you can, how you should design the card. 3. File Setup: First, we're going to set up the postcard file so open up in design, create new, and then we're gonna create our own print document. So click up there where it says print, Change the units two inches and it's going to be vertical, so it's four inches wide and six inches tall. We don't need facing pages, and we need to pages because we're gonna do the front of the postcard in the back. My printer asked for 1/16 inch bleed. Usually a printer, especially online printers, will ask for 1/4 inch bleed, which is 0.25 or 1/8 inch bleed, which is 0.1 to 5 anyway. 1/16 inches equal 2.625 We enter that into the bleed. That's the area that we need outside of our crop. Marks and click create and there's your document. So let's talk about bleed Here. I have my printed sample file, and you can see the crop marks. The bleed is the little piece of artwork past the crop mark, and it will get cut off. So when someone says they need 1/4 inch bleed, they need 1/4 of an inch past the crop mark. And when they're talking about a full bleed image, you're talking about an image that is printed from edge to edge. But really, what's happening? It's printed past that, and that extra is being cut off to give you that effect. Don't fret too much. If you ever have to change anything, you can do it in the document settings Control Ault P, which brings up your document set up. And let's say we want to change the inner margins 0.25 inches. The document set up is where you would change set sort of thing. It's also where you can add pages if you want to, and you can change thesis eyes of your document and margins bleeds, lug, etcetera. 4. Format Doc: in this segment, we will learn to format. The document that we created the way in design works is that it's a hub. It works by bringing together images and words, text and art photographs and photo shopped documents and illustrator documents native files from all of those software into one place so that it can be published and that could be published print or Web. In this one. We're focusing on print and were ringing in a postcard file that I had previously prepared to find your value. Press commander Control D you find your file? How wherever that might be, the one that's already prepared and it doesn't have to be exactly four by six. It could be bigger, smaller, but mine is ready to go and you drag it in. But my file that I brought in was created and edited in photo shop. I made a file that was roughly 4.5 by 6.5 inches, but what if it was something a little bit more raw, like a painting over here? I've got a file that is a painting that's a nine by 12 inch board, so let's see what happens if I If I put this one in and it's it's obviously so gonna be perfect because it's a bigger painting. I brought it in, and to format it, you can adjust the edges. You use your arrow key here, you see the selection tool you press V and it tells you what they're the shortcut when you hover over veto, engage and escape to disengage. I brought it in to crop it, and again, I can preview that by pressing W to see what it would look like when it's cropped. I press command zero to see the entire thing from far further away. See, the tail is a little bit. See that tail is sort of. It's skirting the edge between the safe zone, which is in our in that inner margin and the bleed. I don't like that. So let's zoom out again. And with a A is our direct selection tool. It will give us a little hand. We click a and we can, and A allows you to move the image within the box and not move the whole box itself. So I've nudged it over, have centred it and then noticed a little bit further down. So that's what you would do if it wasn't an exact fit. I noticed. It's now cutting it close on top. So I'm going to do a superfast trick, which is to command call shift. See, to make sure all the edges air meeting the outside of my box. There we go. Now we're safe, right? The next step would be to add text in order to add text. If you didn't have it already. Like, in my view Kunio file to the queen. You had all the Texan stuff done in photo shop. If you were to add text in in design, you press t letter t to get your sea over here to get your type tool, and then you drag across to make a text box, and then you just start typing years caught missing you. So this is gonna be a postcard. Let's say I bring this one to a craft show for people who are missing somebody else. I'm going to select a font. I'm not in love with any of these. Okay? I finally picked a font. The next step you would take is to format your text. At the moment, it's way too small. I've highlighted it. I still have my type Tool selected. Select the text and I can in large the text using the drop down menu. Another trick to scale text double click on one of the corners. If you've done it right, the frame will contract around the text. And then I compress scale s for scale shift to constrain the proportions and then just enlarge it to the inner margins that we created. Now, wouldn't that be cute if it were the same kind of gray, dark gray as our kitty? So let's take that eyedropper tool. We're gonna choose that gray in there. Oh, there we go. That's a postcard that's ready to go, wouldn't you say? So? That's one postcard. If we wanted to move this vicuna into another page, we would copy it. Just as with any other adobe software control. See, this is what the pages I come looks like. So I want to add another page. So I click on that page is icon. Then I go to the bottom of that and I click on the Add a new page icon, which is a square with a plus sign in it. A copy is Commander Control. Seem to paste his commander control movie. There you have it. Artwork is placed. 5. Address Format: that's format, the back or the address. All of the pages we have created our portrait oriented. And if we want to create horizontal one, we need to create a new master page. They're located in the pages Tab up top, and they are basically templates. So let's create a new master, and this one is gonna be horizontal. We're gonna create a custom one, and we're going. It's the same size. I'm just gonna even postcard four by six. Pop, this pop up is defining the master page. And then let's define that, the one that we're creating, make sure you click on landscape and then hit. Okay, so that has created a new master page or template. Next, we're gonna make a new page. At the bottom of that page is tab with the plus sign, and we're gonna apply that template and because they they're not exact matches it it brings up a warning window. We want to use that master page layout we just created. So click Master Page Leo that creates that horizontal layout we had made earlier. Let's start with the center line. Choose my pen tool, which is peeve. The shortcut P a shift to constrain the angle. So it goes at 90 degree angles without a stroke. It disappears, so we have to add a stroke in order for it to be visible. Stroke is the thickness or design of a line. Choose a stroke that you like. I am choosing a solid line. Next, pulled down a guide from the ruler. Just drag it down up to 1/2 inch mark so that we do not encroach upon that barcode area. Next we'll do our address bars. We're gonna need five of them. Same thing pen tool and shift to constrain proportions. I let my smart guides, which are a setting that shows me where the center lines and other handy information is, choose the fancy stroke. This time I went with dots. I press ault to duplicate the line until I have five to check that these address lines are all perfectly distributed. I click the Aligned Tool and I click the hot dogs, which mean distribute vertical centers. Let's designate this area for a stamp. In order to make a new container, I just press em and then make a container than a justice stroke Dots. It is if I don't like it, and I want to change it to something else within the document. Oppress eye for eye dropper with the items selected. And then I hit the eyedropper on whatever it is I want on whatever style I want to use. Next. Let's bring in a local, make a new text box em and then press shift to constrain proportions so that it's a square . You can also adjust the size of a container up top with the number input. I constrained it by president chain, other connected and then making a tool square highlighted. I highlighted. And then, in my creative cloud libraries, I have my logo save, so I drag and drop it in. But make sure that when you're dropping it in, you wait for the cursor to go blank, and that's when it will drop it within the container. Let me try that against you can see it better. Do you see how the cursor goes blank? That's when it's dropping it into the container. If you drop it outside of the container, it's okay. You can still resize it, but you know, it can be a little on Well, DLLee my logo went in a little big. So let's use one of my a supercool shortcuts Control or command Ault shift E after you select the inside and that will resize it to fit the frame or the container recreated. Nifty, eh? Next, let's put our mini bio data or you could put your copyright line whatever you want, but type your bio line and then we're gonna rotate it so that it goes on to the central line. You can use our to rotate, or you can use the rotate tool up top in the properties bar. Adjust as needed. Avoid that bottom half inch. Next, we're gonna add some final details. These are the things that make your postcards special. In my case, I prepared a transparent file. This was something I painted in Photoshopped, some little prop prints to match the little great kitty. In your case, this could be oven yet or a spot image. Or it could be, you know, one of the before and after things. Like I said before, regardless of what you choose, I'm just giving you an example of what you could do with transparent imagery because it can actually overlap text see so you can get creative. I take me a while to figure out what I want here, but it's just an example of what you can do with transparent images in design. And finally, when that set up, we're ready to print. Let's do a print test. 6. Print Test: time to print our test. We know we're gonna print pages one and pages for If we just press control P or command P, it's gonna print. But the default is to print all pages. We want to make sure that the range is on Lee page one and four. So you can input one comma four to restrict what it prints. And that way it only print those two pages. Next, make sure you choose the paper size that matches the paper in your printer. Make sure that you have the orientation that you're happy with. You have so many options just so you can have 22 per page. But that's out of the scope of this class, and we're keeping it simple. So crop marks, that's it for marks and bleed. And make sure that you're using your document bleed settings. Otherwise, it will not print with lead. This little preview thing here, this preview window will show you what you've chosen if you need to set up your printer. If you have like special paper you're using, click set up and find your printer and then use your own printer settings to choose your fancy paper. or what? No. All right, Brit. Got to print it. Print it where you got toe. Print it. Excellent. So my crop marks printed correctly, and you can see that very clearly. Crop marks Farrah. We can also clearly see that I am going to crop off my signature. Oops. I guess that makes it the perfect teachable moment. Next step is to test our crop. Use a sharp pencil. Don't be like me. Makes a lot easier. We are connecting. The dots here were aligning the straight edge to the crop marks and making a line because I'm using a guillotine. This is also what you would do if you're using scissors. Here's my little paper cutter, my mini guillotine. The reason why I marked all four sides of the frame is because each cut removes to crop marks. Looks good. I'm happy with the space around here. Not super happy about cropping my name. But I am making a note here. This is what I normally do. If if I don't like something in a test print, I write. I write notes to myself on the test print so that I make the edit on the final file. This is our address page. In this version, I'm going to use a an exacto blade. Align the straight edge with the crop mark. You always make sure that the paper that is being trashed is on the outside of the straight edge so that if you make a mistake, you cut onto the extra paper and not onto the design that is best practices. Also, make sure you keep your fingers away from the blade, speaking from personal experience and ah, nearly having to go to the emergency for making that little mistake. So keep your fingers away from the edge anyway, cut on my four. Besides, quickly cap that. Let's not get cut. And then we're figuring out which way we want to rotate it. Because if you're uploading your images, you want to figure out whether you want the stamp up or stamp down because it's portrait, right? So figure out which way you like bust which way it flips most naturally to you. This is a personal decision I like when the stamp is facing the top, but I have been known to forget that when I upload it. So make a note which way you want this stamp to be facing. If you want it up with the top of the image or if you want it to be facing down with horizontal designs, it's way easier dealing with orientation because they're both of line the same way. And regardless of how you flip it, the stamp will be where you expect it to be. And that's about it for this one. I'm happy with our test print, all right? 7. Export File: way are ready to export our file. Make any final changes on your in design file, go to your file menu and then on the drop down menu, find Adobe Pdf presets and then choose PdF standard that your printer wants a lot of the online printers like pdf X one A. I'm just going to choose press quality and keep it generic. Type the name of your file and hit. OK, by the way, a lot of these options on in design will take you to the same place you can make sure that the range of pages once again we only need page one and four under marks and bleed. Make sure that your crop marks are off. The printers will not need that. They usually do their own and make sure that you are using the document bleed settings. Once you have your pdf, you might need to rotate your image so that they're both in portrait. Remember whatever it was that we chose with our test print and apply it here. So if you wanted stamp up or stamp down. This is where you make your preference known. Cause some printers When you upload your pdf it will chop it off if it's if they're both in different directions. So make sure they're both aligned in the same direction so that the printer will know your intention. The other way to export of file is to press, command or control E. In this case, it will take you directly to choose his PNG or J. Paige. Or there's a bunch of options here. Or you can go once again to PdF, and it will take you back to that same dialog box. Let's do J Peg because that's another frequently accepted file format. P and Jews are great when you need transparency. So let's just pick Jay pig. We don't need transparency. The range once again is one comma. Four. It's a print file, so we needed to be 300 d. P. I. I will make mention here. Your artwork has to already be high resolution or this 300 g p. I is only gonna make sure your fonts are higher s again. Keep your document bleed settings and make sure it's C M y que or the setting that your printer wants, and then you confined your file and upload that to your printer, and that's it 8. Closing Thoughts - Thanks!: okay, Key things to keep in mind. When you go to a printer. A local printer. First thing you want to ask if you're doing a 4 x 6" postcard is, Do they have a printer specifications sheet. A spec sheet is going to tell you whether or not the printer needs the image in CMYK. It will let you know how you should set up your artwork. Document here. Some really life prints, specifications, sheets from several online printers. You'll notice they all have 300 dpi. Some even have some handy in design templates available for you to download They all accept PDF and JPG Hopefully, I have prepared you with enough knowledge to be successful with your first postcard printing. You want your artwork to be as high resolution as possible. What that means is, if you have a painting, you wanted to be photographed with that much data as possible. So when you shrink it down to four by six, it does not lose the quality. The sharpness, the texture, the color, all that information will still be in there. You don't want to take a bad picture because that will never translate to print when you're doing a postcard you want to start with a really good image in design is not gonna help you with that. It's not gonna help you gain an equality for your image, right? With that in mind, I would love to see what you create in this class. Please share whatever it is that you've created with your postcard design. I would love to see if you added text or if you just focused on a single character. Or if you have, ah, new collection of surface patterns or a new painting that you're gonna share with the world . Please make sure to include a picture in your project. I cannot wait to see it. All right. And if you want to know more about in design, if you've fallen in love with it, by any chance I have another class on this platform that can teach you the ins and outs of and design. It's called in designed for creatives. Right? Check it out.