How to Create a Christmas eCard in InDesign, plus a FREE Template
Share festive cheer with family and friends this holiday season with a stylish polar bear eCard. Quick and simple to create in Adobe InDesign, below you can find a quick tutorial as well as a complete downloadable template if you’re short on time.
Keep reading to discover a simple tutorial for creating your own holiday card in Adobe InDesign, and scroll down to the bottom of the page to access your free InDesign greetings card template.
How to Create a Holiday eCard in InDesign
In this quick and simple tutorial, you’ll learn how to set up and design a square eCard image in InDesign. You can share the result as an Instagram post, or attach to an email or WhatsApp thread.
We’ll look at how you can create minimal, contemporary illustrations in InDesign using the app’s drawing tools, as well as applying noise effects to give the card an on-trend grained look.
Ready to start? Awesome, let’s begin!
Open InDesign and go to File > New > Document.
In the window that opens, choose Web from the options along the top of the window. Set the Width and Height of the document to 1080 Pixels (px), and leave the number of Pages to 1 and the Margins to their default 36 px. Then click Create.
Go to the Layers panel (Window > Layers) and double-click on Layer 1, renaming it Background.
Choose New Layer from the panel’s drop-down menu (at top-right) and rename this as Texture. Repeat to create two more new layers—Graphics, and finally, Text.
Lock all the layers except the bottom layer, Background.
Head to the Swatches panel (Window > Color > Swatches). Select New Color Swatch from the panel’s main menu.
Set the levels of Red, Green and Blue to R=227 B=237 and B=247. Click Add and then OK.
Repeat to create four more new RGB swatches:
- R=62 B=180 and B=210
- R=16 B=42 and B=63
- R=21 B=22 and B=25
- R=249 B=253 and B=255
Working on the Background layer, use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a square that fits neatly inside the margin line, setting the Fill Color to R=249 B=253 and B=255.
Then unlock the Texture layer above, and, as before, create a square shape using the Rectangle Tool, this time setting the Fill to R=227 B=237 B=247.
Select the Ellipse Tool (L) and, holding Shift, click and drag to create a perfect circle—aim for around a 540 px diameter (the measurement is visible in the top Control panel [Window > Control]).
Set the Fill to R=227 B=237 B=247.
With the circle selected head up to the Object menu at the top of the workspace. Then go to Effects > Inner Glow.
Set the Mode to Multiply, and click on the colored square to change the Effect Color to R=62 B=180 B=210. Click OK to return to the Effects window.
Set the Opacity to 70%, Technique to Precise, Source to Edge, Size to around 220 px, Choke to around 30% and increase the Noise to 22%, to give the circle a grainy effect.
Click on Gradient Feather at the bottom of the Effects panel’s left-hand menu. Set the Type to Linear and the Angle to 50 Degrees, to create a dome effect on the circle shape. Then click OK to exit the window.
Select the circle shape and Edit > Copy it, scaling it down while holding Shift to make it much smaller. Position to the left side of the original shape to create the polar bear’s tail.
Edit > Copy this smaller circle and Edit > Paste it. With it selected, head up to Object > Convert Shape > Triangle*.
Use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select individual anchor points on the triangle and pull them outwards to create a leg shape, like the one pictured below.
*Pro Tip: By using the Convert Shape option when drawing in InDesign, you can preserve the effects you have applied to the original shape, making your workflow much quicker and easier.
Once you have the back leg in place and you’re happy with the shape, Edit > Copy and Edit > Paste it. Select the copy and Right-Click > Transform > Flip Horizontal.
Position this front leg to the bottom-right of the large circle.
Edit > Paste again, using this triangle shape as a base for creating the bear’s head. As before, use the Direct Selection Tool (A) to select individual anchor points on the triangle, creating a shape similar to that pictured below.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to draw a triangle for the nose of the bear, setting the Fill Color to R=16 B=42 and B=63.
Go to Object > Effects > Gradient Feather to apply a simple Linear gradient to the nose shape, with the shape becoming more opaque towards the tip of the nose.
Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a small nose for the bear, with a R=16 B=42 B=63 Fill.
Copy and Paste the nose, using the new shape to create the bear’s eye.
You can also create an ear for the bear using two circle shapes, one slightly larger and set behind, with a R=227 B=237 B=247 Fill.
Your polar bear is finished! All that’s left to do is unlock the top Text layer, and add a text caption to your card.
Use the Type Tool (T) to create a narrow text frame along the top of the image, setting the Font to Jost*. You can adjust the Text Color from the Swatches panel, and edit the typography settings from Window > Type & Tables > Character.
To get your card ready for sharing online, you will need to export the artwork as a JPEG image. Go to File > Export, and choose JPEG for the Format. Name the card file, click Save and in the window that follows click Export.
Your eCard is ready for sharing as an Instagram post, or you can alternatively attach your image to an email or WhatsApp thread. Awesome job…and Happy Holidays!
Short on Time? Download Your Free Holiday Card Template Instead!
Christmas card template size:
* Optimised for sharing as an Instagram post or as an email or WhatsApp attachment.
Below you can preview the card template and download the InDesign file.
Download this Template
Download this Christmas card template for free (your download will include an INDD file for InDesign CC and an IDML version for opening in InDesign CS4, CS5 or CS6):
Discover more tips for InDesign beginners on our Tutorials page. Or discover inspiration about typography, layout design and much more right here.