Five Key Things about Working with Graphics in InDesign

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been working more with InDesign lately and thinking about how learning InDesign's layout capabilities might be of interest to more people as the Creative Cloud model makes it more readily available (i.e. it's free as part of your subscription, so you might as well give it a test drive). Or maybe, like me, it's been a while since you've needed to use ID, and you're looking to renew your acquaintance. 

Given that dekeOpolitans are generally graphically oriented creatures, I've made a list of five things about using graphics (photos, line art, logos) in InDesign documents. These observations may come in handy should you wish to create garage sale flyer, an invitation to an intergalactic cocktail party, or anything else that might combine your carefully crafted graphics with pithily presented text in InDesign. 

intergalactic cocktails in InDesign

So here's my list of five things about working with graphics in InDesign.  Read more » 

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Create A Logo, Quickly, in InDesign of All Things

In honor of the upcoming (perennially awesome) PEPCON (Print and eProduction Conference) in Austin at the end of the month, I've decided to remember how to use InDesign. I've also been thinking about how lovers of great Photoshop and Illustrator techniques (often synonymous with "fans of Deke") may be interested in showing off their images with InDesign's layout features, especially as a subscription to the Creative Cloud now makes access to ID essentially free. 

But to ease into the layout program after a diet of mostly graphics and photos, I thought I'd start with this tutorial, extracted from Deke's Up & Running with InDesign course at, on how to make a quick and easy logo. Deke uses some familiar tools, like the Rectangle shape tool and Pathfinder, that will help PS and AI users aclimate to the InDesign environment. 

In the mood to read rather than watch? Don't have access to the sample files? Here's an illustrated step-by-step recounting of how I adapted this tutorial to create my own personal logo from scratch inside InDesign:  Read more » 

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ADIM13: The Designer Undead at Play

My dekeEnstien monsters! We have survived (sort of, if you count being undead as a form of survival) ADIM 13, the incomparable design masterclass brought back to life last by the equally incomparable Russell Brown. Call this an early call to action to consider going to ADIM 14. There really is nothing like it. 

Russell provides macs, special output devices (this year wood engraving, beer glass etching, and metallic printing), and advice from a line up of Creative Cloud experts. This year, he also brought out the festive theme of Monsters and Microbrews. Participants were challenged to create a beer bottle label, a wood beer carrier, and an etched glass as part of the three-day project. 

The vibe was so undead cool at the St. Julien Hotel that Deke and I abandoned his south Boulder condo in order to move in for the conference. It was terrific to hang out with enthusiastic designers and familiar friends. Of course, you can't attend such an event without being infected, by both the creative spirit, and perhaps, something more sinister... Let me tell you the tale in pictures. 

At the opening cocktail party, Deke and our host, Zombie Lincoln, get in a battle over the last Kobe beef slider.

Would there be ramifications for this encounter? Read on to find out:  Read more » 

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Deke Challenge Winner Authors New Course at

Little did we know when we held last year's Deke's Techniques challenge that we were also going on a talent search for But in fact, the winner of the Photoshop Challenge (that classic "It's a Plaid, Plaid World") has now created her first course. This movie above is an excerpt from Robin Schneider's new course, Illustrator for Fashion Design: Drawing Flats.

Congratulations (again), Robin. We'll be able to say we knew you when. And for those of you who would like to try out Robin's course (and of course a pile of courses by some guy named Deke, too), you can get a free seven-day trial at more » 

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The Strange Powers of Photoshop's Sketch Filters, plus How to Digitally Immerse Your Nemesis in Carbonite

I'd imagine a Photoshop novice's first experience with Photoshop's Filter Gallery brings a certain mild delight. A few clicks, a limited number of options, and voila, a completely transformed image. But fairly quickly, you discover that the effects can be cliché, common, and clunkily applied. Plus, those limited number of options mean that every other person using the filter has access to the same exact variations. 

But you can use filters effectively and expressively by deftly combining them and using blend modes to increase the variability, subtlety, and nuance of your effect. Today's discussion of the Sketch filters in Photoshop's Filter Gallery was inspired by Chapter 35 of Deke's new course, the fourth installation of his Photoshop CS6 One-on-One series, the Mastery course. Here are some things to keep in mind about these filters that will enable you to use them with personality and panache, rather than predictability. 

The Sketch filters live inside the Filter Gallery, and they're special-case filters in that they recolor an image based on the current foreground and background colors. (OK, there are two exceptions, but this is Photoshop, so that's not surprising.) So, with my foreground and background set to the default (black and white, respectively), and my image converted to a smart object (for nondestructive filter application), here are the effects of three Sketch-category filters applied to the same portrait: 

Quick tip: You can change your image to a smart object quickly by right-clicking on it in the Layers panel and choosing Convert to Smart Object. 

Of course, the beauty of using a smart filter (i.e. a filter effect applied to a smart object) is that you can revisit and edit the effect at any time. However, if you want to change the colors that your Sketch-category filter is using (which is part of the fun of these filters in the first place), you'll have to create a new instance. Sketch filters applied as smart filters "remember" the colors you originally used: Read more » 

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