InDesign for Social Media: Creating Quick Graphics

By Luisa Winters on December 18, 2018

InDesign for Social Media

Sometimes you just need to know some quick basics that can help you promote and /or enhance your expertise! I hear this a lot from video producers, marketing professionals, and web developers (to name just a few) who are producing great work, and who think they could do more to highlight it on platforms like social media. If you are a creative professional, you likely have access to Adobe Creative Cloud applications beyond those that you are using on a regular basis. Take for instance InDesign—one of the most powerful Adobe applications! Most of the video artists that I know have never even opened InDesign.

If you fall in this category, this blog post is for you. Keep reading and you will learn some quick basics that will take you a long way. By t

he end of this post, you will know how to use InDesign to quickly create compelling graphics for social media!

Before we start, you are probably wondering why InDesign, when you can create graphics in other programs such Photoshop. Getting familiar with InDesign will help you create more than just images. This is just the beginning. You can then branch out to create blogs, eBooks, and much more.

InDesign is powerful, and once you get started, I know that you will continue to use it for proposals, reports and a myriad of other documents.

01_InDesign New Document PanelGetting Started

When first opening InDesign, you will be prompted with options to create a new document. If you have never opened InDesign before, this window can be overwhelming. My suggestion is to start with one of the free templates that Adobe offers in Adobe Stock.  At the bottom of the panel, you’ll find a search bar that you can use to find exactly what you are looking for.


Choosing a Template 03_Adobe Stock Website

Let’s say you need ideas for social media visuals: simply type “social media,” and click “go.”  This will take you to the Adobe Stock website where you will see template options. Some of them are premium and others are free (clearly marked with the words “FREE” at the bottom of the template). Proceed with obtaining the license for the one you choose and then open it in InDesign.


06_CTRL + to show more of the pages of the templateBack in InDesign 

If you are missing some of the fonts used in the template, you may see a message from Creative Cloud. Activate the fonts and then you will be ready to work on your template! Initially, you will see the first page of the template. You can zoom in and out to see more or less of the page(s) available to you: 

 CTRL+   OR    CTRL–     → on Windows |
  COMMAND+   OR   COMMAND–    → on the Mac

Now, you should change your workspace so that you can easily have access to the panels that will help you edit your page. This is accomplished in the same way in most Adobe programs: 

Window → Workspace → Advance to choose the Advanced Workspace.


08_shift control to make text directly editableCustomizing the Text

You can now add your own copy and replace the template images with your own. Sometimes, depending on the template, you may notice that some text cannot be edited directly on the pages. That means the text is part of the master page. To make the text directly editable on the page, press and hold SHIFT and CONTROL (SHIFT and COMMAND on the Mac), and double click on the text using the selection tool (black arrow). This will allow you to select the text and to edit it. 


10_Display Performance - high quality displayReplacing the Picture and Logos

You can click on the picture with the selection tool until you see an outline with control points on the picture or graphic. You can now delete it by pressing the DELETE key on your keyboard. Delete anything else on the page that you don’t want.  If you cannot select it, press and hold SHIFT and CONTROL (SHIFT and COMMAND on the Mac), and double click on the item using the selection tool. Just like the text, this makes the images/graphics directly editable on the page.

To add the image(s) that you need, go to File → Place and choose your file.  You can now click and drag to make a rectangle that will determine where the picture goes.

Once you have the picture in your document, you can resize it, move it, rotate it etc.  By default, the display of the picture will be low quality. You can change this by right-clicking on the picture and choosing  Display Performance → High Quality Display.


11_Change the color of the textFinal Touches

Once you are happy with your graphics and pictures, make sure the text is readable over the image(s) you just added. If further adjustments are needed, you can adjust the color of the text in the Text Color Panel at the top of the screen.  

If changing the color of the font is not enough, consider adjusting the background. For instance, you can add a13_Effects Panel semi-transparent background. To do so, go to the Effects Panel (on the right side of your screen) and change the Fill to a transparency % that works for your graphic.


Final Graphic

To preview your design, click somewhere in the gray canvas area to deselect everything and then press SHIFT W and the screen will turn into a display of your work. To exit this view, press SHIFT W again.

All you need to do now is export this image, or print it out. Go to File → Export and choose the type of file to export (e.g. JPG).

A new panel will open for you to choose exactly what you want to export and that’s it! Give it a name, assign a location, and you are done!

Social Media Image_Final

I hope this tutorial was helpful and that it gave you insight into the vast world of InDesign. Stay tuned for more posts from FMC and keep learning! 

Topics: InDesign, social media, graphic design

Author: Luisa Winters

Luisa Winters is an internationally celebrated pilot, instructor, presenter, and musician. An accomplished videographer, editor, 3D animator and graphics designer, she has created and edited scores of broadcast video and web projects for corporate, government, and educational, commercial and private clients. Luisa is a private pilot, and can often be seeing flying her club's airplane out of Freeway Airport (W00), near Washington D.C. An Adobe Master Instructor, Luisa has been an educator for over 30 years teaching Adobe, Apple and production classes for clients in government, military and private organizations. Luisa specializes in training and consulting for our brave men and women of the military. Having trained hundreds of students from Combat Camera, DMA, Air National Guard, Marines and others, makes Luisa the ideal instructor who understands the needs of the students. "Flying and teaching became natural to me; if we can teach people how to fly, they will continue life believing there's nothing they cannot do."