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Seven Principles of Great Template Design in InDesign

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Use the seven principles covered in this chapter to guide the decisions you make throughout the template construction process. Gabriel Powell shows you how.

GREAT TEMPLATES ARE CREATED THROUGH A CAREFULLY PLANNED COMBINATION of individual tools and technologies. Like a machine, all of the various parts work so well together that when using it, everything seems to be operating from a single intelligence.

To succeed in perfecting your page production machine, it’s important to understand some of the foundational principles that support the creation of quality templates. Use the seven principles covered in this chapter to guide the decisions you make throughout the template construction process.

Know Your Tools

As graphic designers, your first instinct is to focus on the visual aspects of a project. Your training has been centered on how best to present a message, and your professional strengths lie in the creation of inventive layouts. Consequently, you often fail to concentrate on honing your production skills, which are analytic in nature and don’t necessarily come easy to you. Now that you’re learning how to design templates, you must embrace the full range of tools and technologies that InDesign provides.

When designing a publication intended for one-time use, the specific tools and methods you use to produce it aren’t that important. As long as you create the desired results, you can get away with a poorly executed layout. However, when constructing templates, it’s essential that you take a much more strategic approach to page layout and employ the most effective use of each tool available.

During the template-building process, you’ll be frequently challenged and sometimes confused about the right tool or strategy to use. With a deeper understanding of the tools, including knowledge of their capabilities and limitations, you’ll be able to make the most informed decisions in any given situation.

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