In most cases, the use of text is a primary mode of communication. Before we start adding text to our newsletter, we need to consider some important aspects about typography, which is the art and science of type. It is important to understand some fundamentals of good typography and point out a few issues about text in a publication.
Making Typographic Decisions
A publication needs to convey a message to a target audience. In our case, we are trying to present to educators of all classroom levels interesting articles about the use of technology in the classroom. The design of our newsletter should communicate this message as clearly as possible. If our publication's type is difficult to read or doesn't aesthetically fit the tone of the publication, the intended message is not adequately conveyed.
Most people do not specifically notice good typography; however, bad typography is easy to spot. In using InDesign's typographic controls, our primary goal is to maximize the impact of the publication while minimizing the reader's distraction when reading it.
Working with Frames
All text that appears in documents created with InDesign must be located within text boxes, or frames. A frame is simply a container for text or graphic objects. Although we have already divided our page into a three-column substructure, our design is not limited to the three columns; we can simply add some frames if we want to place our objects in custom spaces and shapes.
Since we can create a custom space for our text, we want to add one large frame for the publication's name, which will extend across the columns. This feature of a publication is the nameplate.
The nameplate is the most important visual object of any publication. The nameplate can be otherwise called a title. As such, it uniquely identifies a publication and should span a large area across the cover page. It should include the name of the publication and issue number information. Often, the nameplate also contains a logo and the date of publication. A nameplate may appear anywhere on a cover page, but most designs incorporate the nameplate across the top.
Creating a Text Frame with the Type Tool
Our newsletter's nameplate will span the top of the cover page, and include the date and some issue information. The items that make up the nameplate will be contained within several grouped text frames.
There are several ways to create a frame. The most straightforward way to create a text frame is to draw it with the Type Tool.
Let's create the nameplate's title frame with the Type Tool.
Step1. To activate the Type Tool, in the Tools panel,
Step2. To correctly position the cursor,
Point the arrow at the top left corner of the cursor to the upper left corner of the left column
Step3. To draw the frame with the Type Tool,
Press & Drag the cursor vertically downward five grid squares on the left margin, and then across all three columns
NOTE: Five grid squares is 1.25 inches high. Note also, in this view, the 1" label on the ruler may not be visible.
Step4. To add the publication name, type:
Classroom Technology Today
Understanding the Control Panel
The Control panel across the top of the page is context-sensitive; it offers only the options that are available to the active tool. Hence, since we are using the Type tool, the Control panel looks much like the formatting button bar of a word processing application, except it displays more features. The functions of these buttons may not be intuitive by their icons. However, we can tell what they do by simply hovering the cursor over them and reading the pop-up tool tips.
Surprisingly, the Control panel for text actually contains two sets of buttons that we can toggle back and forth: the Character set and the Paragraph set. The set of character buttons contains information relating to specific characters such as font name, size, and spacing. The set of paragraph options allows us to control features of blocks of text, including alignment and indentation. In the next section, we will see how to utilize these tools to format our text.
Since "Classroom Technology Today" is aimed at an academic audience, we want the name of our newsletter to be large, executed in a serious typeface. We will keep the font face as Minion Pro, but we will enlarge the characters and fit the publication's name into the frame.
Step1. If necessary, to select the Character options, at the left of the Control panel,
Step2. To select the name of the title,
Press & Drag to highlight the text
Step3. To change the font size in the font field on the Control panel,
Click, type: 48 Enter
Understanding Tracking and Kerning
Tracking andkerning are typographic terms having to do with the space between characters.When font designers create a given type face, they build in a default amount of space around each character. This spacing is intended by the artist to be the most effective distance. In layout applications like InDesign, we can override these defaults; each term is used to make these adjustments described below.
Tracking controls the white space between characters in an entire block of text. Generally, tighter tracking is appropriate for larger text, and looser tracking is better for smaller text. The default tracking settings for body text are usually adequate, but larger display text may need to have a tighter tracking setting.
Kerning controls the white space between individual characters of type. Each character takes up a different amount of space, depending on the font face. Normally, kerning is used to reduce the space between a pair of characters. Usually, body text is small enough that kerning is not needed. However, headlines sometimes look better with tighter kerning. This helps remove unnecessary white space between two characters.
Changing the Tracking
Tracking refers to the spacing between characters in a block of text. We already have this group of characters highlighted, so we can adjust the tracking without having to change the selection.
Step1. To change the tracking, in the Control panel,
Click, type: -50 Enter
NOTE: To adjust the kerning between individual characters (for example, after a capital T, where there may be an awkward open space), click in the space after the character and use the Kerning icon .
Formatting a Paragraph
The name of the publication appears to be the right size, but it still needs to be centered horizontally within the frame. We can change alignment with the Character or Paragraph Control panel. The changes are applied to the entire paragraph.
We can use the Character Control panel to make the alignment change.
Step1. To center the paragraph in the text frame, in the Character Control panel,
Changing Alignment Within a Frame
To work with alignment of text within a frame, we need to work with options that pertain to the frame as a whole.
Step1. To begin centering the text vertically in the frame, on the Menu bar,
Click Object, Click Text Frame Options...
- In the Columns section, InDesign can control the number of columns in the frame, the width of each column, and the size of the gutter, which is the space between the columns. The Balance checkbox will ensure that all the columns remain the same size.
- Inset spacing controls the internal margins of the frame. Setting these margins will leave some space between the content of the frame and the edges of the frame.
- The Vertical Justification section allows InDesign to control where text will lie vertically within the frame. We have previously used this feature from the Control panel to center text vertically. Alignment is selected in the Align field. The Paragraph Spacing Limit is only available when Justify is selected in the Align field. This option allows the user to select how much space is left between two paragraphs.
- If the Ignore Text Wrap checkbox is checked, the frame will not be subject to any other frame's text wrap settings.
- On the Baseline Options tab, we determine where the first line of text is to be positioned in relation to the inset. The Offset field allows the user to determine what part of a particular character (e.g., top or bottom) will be placed on the First Baseline. The Min field allows the user to customize how much space goes between the first line and the edge of the inset. As this number goes up, the first line moves further away from the inset. We can also align relative to a grid.
- On the Auto-Size tab, we can set up the text from to automatically resize when we add, delete, or edit text.
On the Footnotes tab, we can choose how footnotes are formatted.
Step2. To view our changes as we make them,
Click the Preview checkbox
Step3. To specify a vertical justification of center, in the Vertical Justification Align field,
Click, Click Center, Click
Stacking Frames Together
We have created an attractively rendered name for our classroom technology newsletter, but as part of a publication nameplate, it should contain information about the issue number and the date. Since we will want to locate this information underneath the name and then apply some separate formatting characteristics, the task would be easiest to accomplish in an independent, but overlapping, frame.
The text frame containing the publication title is already in place, and now we want to add a frame on top of it. Since this frame is already functioning as a text frame, the Type tool can only be used inside it to highlight existing text; hence, we cannot successfully use the Type tool to press and drag a new frame over it. Because of this, we will need to use another tool: the Rectangle Frame Tool.
Creating a Frame with the Frame Tool
The Rectangle Frame Tool is used to create rectangular frames with unspecified content. Once a frame has been created, it can be used as a placeholder to import a file containing text or graphics.
Let's use the Rectangular Frame Tool to draw a new frame.
Step1. To activate the Rectangular Frame Tool, in the Tools panel,
Step2. To position the cursor,
Point to the left document margin, at 1 1/2" on the vertical ruler
Step3. To draw the new frame,
Press & Drag a 1/4" high frame that spans all columns
NOTE: A 1/4" frame is one row of cells high.
Step4. To indicate the frame's status as a text frame, on the Menu bar,
Click Object, Point to Content, Click Text
NOTE for MacOS Users: To indicate the frame's status, press Control key and Click the frame, Click Content, Click Text.
NOTE: Depending on the configuration of InDesign, the previous step may not be necessary. In some environments, unassigned frames may become text objects by simply clicking them with the Type Tool. To set this preference, start InDesign with no document open, and on the menu bar:
- In Windows, Click Edit, Click Preferences, Click Type... In the Preferences dialog box, Click Type Tool Creates Frames to Text Frames.
- On a Mac, Click Edit, Click Preferences, Click Type... and Click Type Tool Creates Frames to Text Frames.
Step5. To activate the Type Tool, in the Tools panel,
Click, Click the new frame
NOTE: If necessary, to insert the blinking cursor into the correct frame, return to select the frame and then repeat step 5.
Step6. To add the issue information, type:
Volume I, Issue 1, today's date
Step7. To center the text horizontally, in the Control panel,
Step8. To begin centering the text vertically in the frame,
Right-Click the text object, Click Text Frame Options...
NOTE for MacOS Users: To begin centering the text vertically in the frame, press Control key and Click the frame, Click Text Frame Options...
Step9. To specify a vertical justification of center, in the Vertical Justification Align field,
Click, Click Center, Click
Step10. To save the document, on the Menu bar,
Click File, Click Save