Our company is insourcing simple design work. Do I need to use InDesign?

If your company is insourcing simple design work, it’s going the way of many, many others. Whilst design used to be done exclusively by professional designers, many companies are now finding that it can make sense to bring some of it in house.

If you’re plannng to do this, you’ll need access to the same software which your designers use. The main program used by most print designers is Adobe InDesign. If you’re not familiar with it, you will be familiar with what it’s used to produce. Look around your local book shop and you can assume that most of the books in there were produced with InDesign. Look at the magazines and newspapers on the shelves of a newsagent or supermarket and you can assume that most of those were created in InDesign too.

So if you’re planning to work on your own flyers, newsletters, adverts, invites, pitch documents or brochures, InDesign is the program to use. The likelihood is that you’ll get your external designer to create some templates for you to use, which for things like adverts, invites and flyers should be quite straightforward to use.

If the template has been clearly created, and the content that needs to be put inside it are not too complex, then it should be quite possible for in house staff to work with it without a great need for training. A basic understanding of InDesign’s key tools and concepts should suffice, such as the short video we’ve produced on working from InDesign templates.

However, a document like a Newsletter, which might include multiple different stories and images which all need to fit together in a finite amount of space, can be more challenging. To create this sort of document, a broader knowledge of InDesign and a greater understanding of design skills are likely to be required.

I’d suggest that important documents, such as those used for pitches, tenders, and more formal documents like annual reports are generally left in the hands of design professionals. If you have a budget to outsource some of your design work, this is one area that you should spend it on.

What other programs do you need to use? InDesign works hand in hand with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop. Images that you import into InDesign are likely to be created in these programs. Clean, simple images such as infographics, logos, charts and illustrations are likely to be created in Illustrator. Photographic based images are likely to be produced in Photoshop. You don’t necessarily need to know how to use these programs - it depends whether you’d need to edit these images, or create additional images like these. If all you need to do is bring them into InDesign and re-size them, you can probably get by just using that.

To help you make sense of the different programs, we’ve produced a half hour long free video course to explain all of this in greater detail.

Are you using InDesign for in-sourced design work? How are you getting on?