Indesign gradient

by Design Workshop Sydney

Creating gradient blends in Indesign is a simple matter and is an easy method of adding depth to a page. This is one of the many design tips we explore in our Adobe Indesign classes.
Indesign-gradientIn this example we have added a very simple grey to white radial gradient behind the artwork. The image of the monitor and the logo both have transparent backgrounds which reveal the gradient behind. Creating transparency in images is covered in a Photoshop blog post.
First create a layer structure for your document as follows: a text layer on top and a graphics layer below – this will allow greater versatility in manipulating your text & image elements later by allowing you to lock or hide certain features.
If you wish a number of pages to have gradients on the background, open up a Master Page & create your gradient there. We discuss creating Master Pages in another Indesign blog post. Select the Rectangle Frame tool and click & drag across from top left to bottom right of the Page or Spread, making sure to fit to Bleed guides where necessary. Bleed is covered in another Indesign blog post. A rectangular shape is created with the default colours of black Stroke and no Fill. Use the direct Selection tool (black arrow) to adjust the size of the rectangle if necessary.
Open up your Gradient panel – if you can’t see it on the right hand panels section, go to Window > Colour > Gradient. Note the default black to white gradient blend. Making sure that the rectangle is selected and that Fill is forward on the Fill/Stroke icon, click once on the gradient slider – the default black to white gradient is added to your rectangular shape. By default this is a Linear gradient. We can adjust the appearance of this gradient by now choosing the Gradient tool from your toolbox and clicking & dragging across the shape itself. As with other Adobe programs, where you click & drag will determine the look of the blend – if you click & drag a small amount, you’ll get a small transition; if you click & drag acrosss the whole page the transition will be more gradual.
To add colours to the gradient, open up the Swatches panel. Create a new colour swatch, or just drag one of the default swatches down from the Swatches panel onto the Gradient panel. To delete an existing colour on the gradient slider, simply yank it downwards, or click on the colour stop and hit the delete icon. Note also the mid-tone stops between each of the colours – move this up & down to change the balance between those two colours. Note that you can also save the Gradient Swatch in the panel Options. This is saved with this document and can be loaded into future documents.
In our example we changed the Gradient Type to Radial – again the appearance or centre of the gradient can be changed by clicking and dragging within the rectangular shape.
More tips can be found at the Sydney Indesign User Group which meets regularly in the city, and is a free forum for designers to discuss topics and the latest Indesign features. See many examples of our own clients’ work on our Facebook page.
Other related Indesign Blog Posts: