An InDesign Inspiration Board

This tutorial will take you through the steps of setting up a basic inspiration board. The page is divided up into a modular grid to a number of cells of your choosing. Options for placing in content is explored as well. An inspiration board is a great tool for displaying images that are relevant to your design needs. Unlike a Pinterest board, a series of pages in Microsoft Word or Google Slides, this format presents all of your inspiration to you at one time at one glance.
1. Open InDesign and create a 36″ (216p0) x 24″ (144p0) document with 1 page, 1 column and margins of 1/2″ (3p0) Click Create.

2. Go to the LAYOUT menu > CREATE GUIDES. Depending on how many images you have the following numbers may be different, this tutorial assumes a grid of 36 cells. Make 6 rows with a gutter (the space between rows or columns) of 1p0, make 6 columns with 1p0 as well. Fit the guides to the margins as opposed to the entire page – this will ensure each cell is exactly the same size inside the margins. Click OK

You now have a grid that is set up to receive a maximum of 36 images. You may choose to span two or more cells depending on what you want to emphasize.

Have a bunch of images at your disposal – for my example, I’m using a collection of antique shoe images I culled from the British Library’s Flickr site.

3. To place in images you have a few different options. The first is to directly place in an image and scale it directly on the screen. Go to the FILE menu > PLACE and select your image and click Open. Click in the layout where you would like to the top left corner of the image should go and then drag to scale the image. If you have Snap to Guides turned on (VIEW menu > GRIDS & GUIDES > SNAP TO GUIDES) the image will lock into the guides.

4. Images placed in InDesign have a frame as well as the content, the two can be resized separately from one another. To change the size of the frame, click on the image with the black arrow and resize the frame by dragging in one of the sides or corners – this will appear to crop the image.

Because the frame and content are different, you are not changing the actual image but hiding or revealing parts of the image. To change the position of the content either click on the circle that appears in the middle of the image or select it with the white arrow and move the image around or resize it by dragging a corner or a side.

REMEMBER to hold the Shift Key Down when scaling to keep the image in proportion.
5. The other way to place an image is to create a content frame initially and then place the content into it. To do this select the frame tool, this looks like the rectangle tool but has an X through it. (The two tools are interchangeable, the only difference being that the frame tool will create a rectangle,  ellipse or polygon with no fill or stroke at first; the rectangle tool will create a shape using the current fill and stroke colors.) With the frame tool draw a rectangle inside one of the cells. Then go to the FILE menu > PLACE and select your image.

5. The image may come in oversized or undersized because InDesign considers the print size of the image – the width and height of the image in pixels divided by its resolution. To scale the image to make it fit go to the OBJECT menu > FITTING and select one of the following options: Fill Frame Proportionally will fill the entire frame with the image but will either cut off sides of the image in order to completely fill up the frame.

Fit Content Proportionally will make the entire image fit within the frame but may leave empty space on either side or top and bottom in order to accomplish this.

Content-Aware Fill (in the CC2019 version of InDesign) will Fill the entire frame and will use Artificial Intelligence to determine the best position.

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