Learning InDesign

Regardless of the states of the economy, the ability to communicate with other people, and to do so effectively remains a tried-and-true ticket to a good job. Even during the toughest of times, companies and organizations are still required to talk to their market, their members, and their readers. In turn, learning InDesign, Adobe's industry-standard answer to page design and layout, is a critical skill to the creative professional.

There are a lot of different books, videos, and ways you could go about learning Adobe InDesign. Despite the name of the book or video, or the name of the author, or the global reach of the publishing company responsible for producing and marketing them, learning InDesign is similar to learning and Adobe graphics application. There are two options available to you if you find yourself in the same position thousands of other professional creatives seeking work in the real job market. The first way is to use reference books, and the second is to select the Against The Clock Professional Portfolio Adobe InDesign textbook. What is different between the vast majority of the learning tools out there and the ATC Professional Portfolio series of project-based books.

How to Use InDesign Tools... or How to Solve Real-World Client Problems?

Let us explain. When someone finds themselves in a position where learning Adobe InDesign, they face learning a program that is design to handle any imaginable page layout problem. Whether it is a flashy ad designed to take its place on an active website, or a simple design for a customer's new business cards and stationary, or signage for a global marketing campaign, visual projects require page layout. That "page" might be a 300 pixel wide by 250 pixel high display tile ad for a web site, or a four-hundred page four-color textbook, like the ones we generate at Against The Clock's production facilities. Or the the same series, fully digital and available at the iTunes university, on your Kindle Fire, or your iPad. Whatever the needs your clients faces, learning Adobe InDesign is the first step in your development strategy.

So how to learn it? With more than 300 tools, features, and functions, you face two choices. You can learn each tool, one at a time. Many of today's most popular reference books are actually organized according to the menu layout. You start with the choices under the File menu and move forward from there. By the time you get to developing books with interactive Tables of Contents, chapters, and hundreds of high resolution images, you have learned them all.

The problem is common. There are literally dozens of ways to do a page layout, and dozens of tools that might do the job at hand. Your challenge is to know what tool to use and when to use it. Efficiency is, after all, as critical to timely creative, design, and production as your eye for colors.

Project-based learning...

The Against The Clock Professional Portfolio Series takes a completely different approach; a purely project-based, real-world approach. Each book contains eight individual projects. Starting with a beautiful and professionally designed corporate branding piece, with cards, stationary, and the layouts necessary to deliver the client's message in every important way, the books move you through a project development process that starts with a meeting with the client, you, and your art director boss. Based on the client's stated requirements, the art director gives you direction on what skills you are going to need to get the job done and to get it done properly, on time, and compliant with the manufacturing and delivery method you need to achieve. It's compliance issue is critical; many products designed to teach you how to user a program like InDesign pay little attention to important production concerns. If, for example, you forget to properly address color model issues, the enhancing greens you deployed in your hopefully-award-winning brochure turns a dull gray brown on a four color press.

Each project is structured along the same paradigm. From client meeting, to the conversation with your artistically and production savvy art director, to the complete collection of components you need to get their job done, you are guided step-by-step though an incredibly well-organized real-world project that is ready for yours or any professional portfolio.

But the process doesn't stop there. To ensure the highest level of individuality, each step-by-step project comes with a companion assignment. To complete that one, you're (almost) on your own. Using your images, your text elements, and your eye for creative genius, you will complete a project very similar to the one we helped you complete. This time the steps are yours to develop; the layout yours to envision, and the resulting output - be it on the web or on a color printer for Pre-production proofing - yours to deliver to a demanding client.

The end result is a knowledge set you will never, ever achieve through the drills contained in a reference book, no matter how popular, how respected, or how effective it might appear to be. Completing real projects while learning to use InDesign delivers a finished product - you - that is like nothing tool skills will ever achieve.