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Designing a Magazine in InDesign

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Courtney McLaggen
Designing a Magazine in InDesign
on Jul 23, 2009 at 7:27:10 pm

I need to design a 50-page magazine, do I use InDesign for the whole thing?

1)How do you create the outer cover in one piece (front and back), including the binding spine?
2)How do you know what size the pages must be, and including the bit that the printers are going to cut off before it’s an actual magazine page?
3)How do I know if the pictures I include on a page are the right quality and won’t look grainy when it’s printed?
4)How do I insert the barcode on the cover and where do I get the barcode from (if I have the ISSN number)?

Thank you! I have to do this for Yearbook and it's been totally left up to me and obviously I have no graphic design experience yet.


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Brandi Morlen
Re: Designing a Magazine in InDesign
on Jul 24, 2009 at 3:45:04 pm

Hi Courtney,
It sounds like you have a lot to undertake here. I think first things first you need to ask either your Yearbook advisor or the Printer what the size of the magazine is, or needs, to be. Because magazines come in all sizes. But I will try to help answer your questions the best I can.

1. All of the steps to set up the cover are detailed, not hard, just lengthy to type here. However, the way I would set it up would be to create the cover as a separate InDesign file. You will need to set this up as facing pages. In the center (aka gutter) is where you can design your spine.

2. As mentioned before a magazine can be any size; however, when you are referring to the part the printer cuts off that is called a bleed. When you create a new document the panel that is first displayed allows you to set this up. Typically you can use 0.125 on all 4 sides and that should be sufficient. Once you have your blank document open you will notice the bleed is indicated by the red line surrounding the pages. Any graphic that will "bleed" off the page of your magazine once cut need to extend to this line. DO NOT let any text or important parts of your image bleed of the page. Keep your text within a margin inside your page document.

3. As for images for print you should always make sure they CMYK, not RGB, and that they are 300dpi. You can adjust this in photoshop. In photoshop view your image at 100% and that will give you a good indication of how your photo will look. Keep in mind colors will vary slightly from on screen to printed paper.

4. As for a barcode, you can purchase a stock photo of one from istock.com or another stock photo website, find one on google, or create on yourself using illustrator or photoshop. You would insert it like any other image and then just type in your ISSN number.

I hope this helps; however, what you are undertaking is a lot of work and I may not have been able to get it all in here. Good Luck!


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Courtney McLaggen
Re: Designing a Magazine in InDesign
on Jul 25, 2009 at 12:03:10 pm

Wow. Maybe I should demand that they get someone else to help me :)

Thank you so much for all your help, is it ok if I keep coming back to ask you questions as I go along?

The first thing I tried to do was the barcode - but the barcode has to be real because Mr S wants to sell it in the bookstore, it needs to be able to be scanned and everything.

So I found a site that converts ISSN numbers into barcodes, and I used an old one to test that it works but the barcode the converter gave me looks completely different to what the barcode is supposed to look like! So now I don't know if it'll come out right!

Am I typing it in wrong? Am I using the wrong symbology or something?

I used these two sites:
http://www.barcode-soft.com/online-barcode-generator.aspx
http://www.terryburton.co.uk/barcodewriter/generator/


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