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Create a Magazine: Part One of Two

tutorials , Create a Magazine: Part One of Two

In Part One of this two-part tutorial, Create a Magazine in InDesign, we’ll create a new print document in InDesign and apply a simple grid. This will lay down the foundation for creating Master Pages and your first feature for ‘Foodie’ magazine.

  • Learn how to set up a New Document for print

  • Create a simple grid for your two-spread magazine feature

  • Create Master spreads for the layouts in your magazine

What you’ll create:

magazine, indesign, spread, part one

In this two-part tutorial we’ll be creating two complete spreads. Sign up to our mailing list to be alerted when the full Magazine course becomes available.

1. Create a New Document in InDesign

Step 1

Let’s get started. Open InDesign. From the Welcome Window, select Document from the Create New list.

In the New Document window, set the Intent to Print from the drop-down menu. (To familiarise yourself with the New Document Window refer to this Bitesize Skill)

We’ll set up the whole magazine, although in this two-part tutorial we’ll be working on just one spread. Set the Page No. to 16 and keep Facing Pages checked.

From the Page Size drop-down menu select Custom… In the Custom Page Size window type a Name for your custom page size. As we’ll be using a standard size in this tutorial, which is used by a number of commercial publishers, including Condé Nast, a suitable name might be Magazine Conde Nast. Set the Width to 203.2 mm and the Height to 276.22 mm. Click Add, then OK.

custom page size, magazine, conde nast

Step 2

Back in the New Document window, keep the Orientation as the default selection, Portrait. Moving down to the Columns section, set the Number of columns to 4. This will create a basic grid framework for arranging text columns.

Set the Margins to: Top 17 mm, Bottom 20 mm, Inside 17 mm, Outside 14 mm.

Set the Bleed to: Top 3 mm, Bottom 3 mm, Inside 0 mm, Outside 3 mm. You won’t need a Bleed on the Inside edge. Click OK.

custom page size, magazine, conde nast
magazine, grid

2. Set up Master Pages

Step 1

In the Pages Panel (go to Window > Pages to open) you’ll see that at the top of the panel InDesign has already created a default A-Master for you. This consists of a two-page facing spread. Any content you place on this Master spread will appear on all pages with the A-Master applied to them. By default, InDesign has applied the Master already to all pages in your document. You can see this due to the appearance of a small A icon at the top corner of each page in the Pages Panel.

magazine, masters

Double-click the A-Master icon (the image of the two facing pages at the top of the Pages Panel) to bring it up on screen. Now we can begin adding features to the Master like Page Numbers and any other decorative background content we’d like to appear consistently across a number of pages.

The Columns and Margins (highlighted in purple and pink) mark out where our columns of text will go. Let’s drag some Guides from the Rulers (View > Show Rulers) to mark out where the Page Numbers should sit on the page.

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From the Top Ruler, click and drag a Guide downwards towards the bottom of the left-hand page. At the top-left of the screen you’ll notice an X or Y counter appears as you drag the guide. This indicates the position of the guide on the page. You can manually enter a position in the text box here to create a precisely placed guide. Drag the first guide to Y position 267 mm on the left-hand page of the spread. Repeat for the right-hand page.

magazine, guides X position

Drag a second guide from the top ruler to Y position 9 mm on the left-hand page. Repeat for the right-hand page.

Drag another guide, this time from the left-hand ruler, to X position 9 mm. Drag a second to X-position 397.4 mm, so it sits on the far-side of the right-hand page.

magazine, guides

Step 2

Let’s add some Page Numbers to our Master, to keep the reader orientated in your magazine.

Select the Type Tool (T) from the Tools Panel (Window > Tools, if not already visible), and drag to create a small text frame. Position this in the bottom left corner of the left-hand page and type page (space). Go to Type > Insert Special Character > Markers > Current Page Number. InDesign will drop in a page number marker, which is marked out as an A on your A-Master.

magazine, page numbers

Highlight the text and set the Font to ITC Century Std, Light, Size 9 pt.

Open the Swatches Panel (Window > Color > Swatches) and create a New Color Swatch from the drop-down menu. Set it to CMYK, C=0, M=10, Y=11, K=34, click Add and OK. Set the Font Color to this new Swatch.

magazine, swatches

From the Tools Panel, select the Line Tool () and, holding Shift, drag horizontally to create a line that extends from the left of the page number to the edge of the second column. With the line selected, open the Stroke Panel (Window > Stroke), set the Weight to 0.25 mm, Type to ThinThin, Start to Circle, and End to Simple Wide (or flip the latter two settings depending on how you created the line). Set the Stroke Color to C=0, M=10, Y=11, K=34, as before.

magazine, line

Select the text frame containing the page number and Edit > Copy, and Edit > Paste. Move the frame into a mirrored position on the right-hand page, switching the Orientation to Align Right (in the top panel, Character Formatting Controls). Return to the left page and select and Edit > Copy the arrowed line. Edit > Paste, and Right-Click (PC) or Ctrl-Click (Mac OS) > Transform > Flip Horizontal. Manoeuvre into position onto the right-hand page to mirror the left.

magazine, line, page number

Select both the text frame and line on the right-hand page and Edit > Copy, Edit > Paste. Position at the top left corner of the page, resting the text frame within the guides you created earlier. Edit the text to read FOODIE NEWS, adjusting the length of the line a little if you need to. Copy the Line, Paste and Right-Click (PC) or Ctrl-Click (Mac OS) > Transform > Flip Horizontal again, and extend it along the top left of the right-hand page.

magazine, line

Let’s also Paste another line, and Right-Click (PC) or Ctrl-Click (Mac OS) > Transform > Rotate 90 degrees CCW, positioning this shape below the text frame at the top left corner of the page.


Step 3

This Master will be the template for the opening page of a feature in our magazine. Let’s give it a name so we know what it is.

Go to the Pages Panel and click to select the A-Master page icon. Click the three bars at the top-right of the panel to open a drop-down menu. Select Master Options for “A-Master”… and rename the Master MasterFeature First Spread. Click OK.

magazine, master options
magazine, master options

Step 4

Return to your newly-renamed Master on screen. For this feature, we will need a decorative background – a wood panel image to give the article an earthy, autumnal feel.

Select the Rectangle Frame Tool (F) from the Tools Panel and drag to create a frame that extends across the whole of the right-hand page of the Master, right up to the Bleed. Go to File > Place and select an appropriate image (here I’ve used this wooden background from Ingimage), and click OK.

Select Fill Frame Proportionally from the top control panel to arrange the image nicely in the frame.

magazine, background, wood

From the Tools Panel, select the Rectangle Tool (M) and drag to create a rectangle the same width and height as the frame you’ve just created. Position it over the top and set the Stroke to [None] and Fill to a new swatch (Window > Color > Swatches > New Color Swatch), CMYK, C=28, M=100, Y=97, K=34.

With the rectangle selected, go to Object > Effects > Transparency and set the Mode to Normal and adjust the Opacity to 70%. Click OK.

magazine, background, transparency

With the shape still selected, adjust the Tint of the swatch to 30% from the Swatches Panel or top control panel, as shown.

magazine, background, swatch, tint

Select both the image-filled frame and the rectangle shape by dragging your mouse, and Right-Click (PC) or Ctrl-Click (Mac OS) > Arrange > Send to Back. Your page numbers and lines are not easily seen. Change the Font Color of the text and the Stroke Color of the lines to [Paper] to make them pop a little more. That’s your first Master done!

magazine, master template, background, foodie magazine

Step 5

Let’s create a second Master that’s more pared back and simple, which would suit the inside pages of a feature or article.

In the Pages Panel, open the drop-down menu from the top-right corner. Select New Master… and maintain the default B prefix. Rename the Master MasterFeature Spread and click OK.

magazine, master, new master

Return for a moment to the A-Master on screen, and drag your mouse across to select all the text frames and lines on the page (you can hold down Shift and deselect the rectangle shape and the image frame), and go to Edit > Copy.

Return to your new B-Master on screen by double-clicking the page icon in the Pages Panel and go to Edit > Paste in Place. Adjust the Font Color of the text and the Stroke Color of the lines to C=0, M=10, Y=11, K=34.

magazine, master, new master

Delete a couple of the lines, as shown, to give this Master a much more simple, minimal look.

magazine, master, new master

Step 6

You’ll notice that InDesign has automatically applied the A-Master to all pages in your document. For now though, we just want it applied to a single spread.

Click on the [None] Master icon at the very top of the Pages Panel. Go to the drop-down menu in the panel and select Apply Master to Pages… In the window, type 1-3, 6-17 to apply the [None] Master to all pages in your document except a single spread, pages 4-5.

magazine, apply master

Click and drag the B-Master icon’s left page down and drop onto the Page 6 icon. Drag and drop the B-Master icon’s right page onto Page 7. File > Save As your InDesign document as Foodie Magazine Inside Pages.

magazine, apply master, master spreads

Great work! You’ve set up the Master pages for your magazine layout, which will provide the perfect foundation for your editorial content.

magazine, indesign, spread, part one

Go to Part Two of this two-part tutorial to find out how to give your magazine layouts a professional, gorgeous finish!