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Design Foundations – Day 4: InDesign Basics

Description: This is day four of a four-week unit plan that helps students learn the basic terminology, functions and foundations of design. Topics covered include typography, color, grids, formatting, spacing, measurements and modular design.



  • Students will identify the four basic categories of type.
  • Students will learn and recite definitions of design terms.
  • Students will know how to read and apply measurements.
  • Students will know how to format type using common design language.
  • Students will know the basic concepts of color application, purpose and use.
  • Students will learn and practice how to work within a grid using appropriate spacing and modular design strategies in Adobe InDesign.
  • Students will create layouts using different column grids using Adobe InDesign.
  • Students will learn and practice how to place, size, crop, edit and apply a stroke to photos using Adobe InDesign.
  • Students will learn and practice how to place, size and format headlines and body copy using Adobe InDesign.
  • Students will learn and practice how to use the various tools and functions of Adobe InDesign that are critical to layout presentation.


Common Core State Standards




Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.


Analyze how the text structures information or ideas into categories or hierarchies, demonstrating understanding of the information or ideas.


Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.


Synthesize information from a range of sources (e.g., texts, experiments, simulations) into a coherent understanding of a process, phenomenon, or concept, resolving conflicting information when possible.



This is day four of a four-week unit if class meets daily (55 minutes/class). Adjustments can be made accordingly.


Materials / resources

– Provided ppt. presentations and handouts in the following:

Instructor InDesign Workshop Part 1

Instructor InDesign Workshop Part 2

Student InDesign Workshop Part 1

Student InDesign Workshop Part 2

– Old Newspapers, magazines and yearbooks that can be cut up

– In/Out of Class Project Assessment Rubrics

– InDesign Workshop Materials

– InDesign Workshop Assessment Rubric

InDesign Workshop Video Tutorials (Password: InDesignWorkshop247)

– computer/projector

– ppt

– handout (from previous day)

– whiteboard/markers

– pen/paper/journal


Lesson Instructions

  • Journal: Bell Assignment (5 minutes)
    1. What excites and/or frightens you the most about learning Adobe InDesign?
  • Main Instruction (50 minutes)
    1. Individually or in pairs, give students the opportunity to explore InDesign tools and functions on their own. Ask them to complete the following tasks the best they can (this in-class assignment is not collected or graded – it is purely a time for them to explore the program). They can review the Intro videos from Day 3 to help, if needed.
      1. Draw a text box – type your name – and set it to the following specs:
        1. Sans Serif
        2. Bold
        3. 48 point size
        4. -30 tracking
      2. Draw a text box – type your name – and set it to the following specs:
        1. Serif
        2. Regular
        3. 36 point size
        4. -10 tracking
  • Draw a text box and set it to the following specs:
    1. Serif
    2. Regular
    3. 10/11 (size/leading)
    4. Fill with placeholder text
  1. Place a picture
    1. Re-size it so that it is smaller than it was when originally placed
    2. Adjust the crop
    3. Apply a .5 pt. stroke around it
    4. Copy & paste the same picture
    5. Re-size it again so that it is smaller or bigger than the original
    6. Re-adjust the crop again
    7. Apply a 2 pt. stroke around it
  2. Go back to your sans serif name
    1. Create a new color swatch
    2. Apply the color to the fill of your name
    3. Tint the color to 40%
  • Dismiss – No Homework