| Written by Ronnie |
I get asked by many people why I use Adobe InDesign rather than Adobe Photoshop for my memory keeping projects, so I thought I’d talk a little bit about the differences between the two and how I make use of InDesign every single day. Hopefully, some of this might be helpful for you.
I first learnt to use Adobe InDesign more than ten years ago when I started to do graphic design work. I still remember purchasing my own InDesign (as part of the Adobe Creative Suite) when I started my design studio and feeling like such a grown-up. With InDesign, I created business cards, print ads, brochures, postcards, flyers, magazines, newsletters, banners, posters, annual reports, packaging, catalogues, exhibition displays, websites, and email templates.
Even though I closed my design business a number of years ago, I still use InDesign every single day. I use it to create birthday invitations, life album layouts, photo books, story books, church flyers, workshop booklets, my own business cards, websites, and blog posts.
In short, Adobe InDesign is my secret little weapon.
To put it as simply as possible: Photoshop was designed primarily for image editing while InDesign was designed primarily for layout.
In other words, you use Photoshop to make a photo look exactly the way you want it to look, and you use InDesign to combine the photo together with text and other graphic elements like illustrations and logos (which you create using Illustrator) to produce a layout like an ad or a magazine spread. That’s how someone in the graphic design industry would distinguish between the software.
Practically speaking, however, you can use Photoshop for layout as well, and you can also use Photoshop to add text to images. In fact, I know that most of you reading probably own a copy of Photoshop and for those of you who are memory keepers, I’m quite certain that you are using it as part of your memory keeping workflow.
Since most of you are already familiar with what Photoshop can do, I’m going to focus instead on what InDesign can do, and why it is that I love using this software:
- For multi-page documents like photo books, you can create all the pages in the same file. If you’re like me, and your photo books can be anything up to two hundred pages long, this is extremely convenient because it means I’m not having to work with two hundred different files! Similarly, for life albums, this means that I can create all my layouts for the one week within a couple of different files only.
- You can duplicate pages within the one file, which means you can easily replicate a page/photo layout that you like and then customise it with different images and text.
- Because it’s so easy to duplicate a page or layout, the creative process is extremely flexible. Say you are working on a particular page layout for a photo book, and you suddenly have the inspiration to try something differently. You can easily duplicate that page, try your idea whilst still keeping your old version. This means that if you don’t like your idea, then you can go back to your old one without even skipping a beat. Or if you do like your idea and want to keep going down that path, then you can keep working on the new page layout. Essentially, what this means is that you can easily try new concepts without losing any of your process work (and without having to create new files).
- Image files are linked to the file only. In other words, they are not embedded into the file and so the file size does not balloon to the size of all your image files combined. This can save a lot of hard disk space.
- Your actual page in InDesign is framed by an artboard. It’s like your virtual working space. Onto this artboard you can place photos, text, shapes, and graphics to use for your design/layout, and then as you need them, you simply drag them onto your page. It’s one of the things I love best about the way InDesign works. It makes design so simple. So easy. (In fact, this artwork is so well-loved amongst designers that Adobe has recently added it to Photoshop as well!)
- But by far one of the main reasons to use InDesign is that it’s pretty much the best software for formatting text, especially large bodies of text. This shouldn’t really come as a surprise, seeing as it was created specifically for desktop publishing. In other words, InDesign is the way to go when it comes to magazines, newsletters and – of course – story books like the ones you've seen on our blog.
And the best part is that, Adobe InDesign is now extremely affordable under the Adobe Creative Cloud subscription model, compared to what it used to cost to have use of the software. For as low as AUD$14.95 per month, you can actually now have access to the entire suite of Adobe software, which includes both InDesign and Photoshop. Sweet, right?
If you have any questions about this post or about design software in general, just let me know in the comments below. If you're interested in learning more, we have mini InDesign video tutorials that you can watch here and we'll also be running our online class again later this year.
You can read the other posts in this series here.