Design challenge — Part I

Illustrator, InDesign, Tips

On Thursday, one of the ad reps walked into our work area and asked “Who wants a challenge?” I wasn’t busy, and I’m always willing to try and stretch my design wings.

One of her clients wants to sponsor a calendar of local events for the summer, and had given her a similar ad from another paper as an example. He wanted it exactly like that ad, in fact. Challenge accepted.

I knew it wouldn’t be difficult for me to recreate the design — most of it could be done in InDesign with fairly simple tools and features. The challenge would be to make it easy for anyone who didn’t create the ad to update the text easily. That’s best accomplished using style sheets.

But first, the actual design, step by step. There’s lots of work involved, so I’ll break this up into different parts.

Our ad rep thought for our paper, this ad would work best as a 4 column by 15 inch ad, so I created an InDesign document to that size. Then I set some guide rules for the top section, where the client’s content about their business and a small testimonial ad are on the sample ad. I did the same for the box on the bottom.

Then I went to Illustrator to design the background for the top section. I started with an orange box with radial gradient. There’s a faint starbust in the sample ad. Now, there are plenty of tutorials of how to make a starburst in Illustrator, and it’s fun to do, but I found one on Metro that I downloaded awhile back to save time on designs like these. I copied and pasted that into the Illustrator document, put it on its own layer, resized, changed the color and dropped the transparency.

For some texture, I keep some images of old papers handy on my desktop. I grabbed one that I thought looked good, sized it and placed it where it looked most interesting, then dropped the transparency on it, too.

Draw a box to create a clipping mask, and then drop into InDesign.

In the next post, I’ll continue with some of the small design details. If you have questions or need more detail on some of the steps, let me know in the comments.