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Step 3: Construct the Template

After you’ve clearly defined your project’s objectives and created a detailed mock-up layout, you’re ready to embark on the actual construction of the template. Most of what remains now is attention to detail and intelligent application of InDesign’s various tools and technologies.

While constructing the template, continually remind yourself that no detail is too small to consider. Think of each aspect of the project as a decision point and an opportunity to improve the template. Don’t just use the first tool you think of to create a particular element. Explore the possibilities. This is the best time to work through different ideas and strategies—before you implement the final template.

There are two approaches you can take to create a template:

  • Convert the existing mock-up layout into a template. Depending on how complete the mock-up is, you might just finish building the template using the same document. However, if the mock-up you created is more of a “rough sketch,” it’s easier to use the second approach.
  • Create a whole new document and use the mock-up layout as a model for constructing the template. The more complex the publication’s design, the more likely it is you’ll use this method to ensure the best results.

Decide on which method is most appropriate for your circumstances and follow the subsequent steps to construct the template. This is just an overview of the entire process. The remainder of this book is dedicated to explaining the fine details involved in each step.

  1. Set up the template’s framework. Establish the page format first, which includes the page dimensions, orientation, and arrangement. You might also need to add a bleed area and slug area. After that, create a layout grid, which is composed of margins, columns, and ruler guides. The baseline grid and document grid might also be utilized if necessary. Make sure to set up the margins, columns, and ruler guides on the master page. If your template requires more than one layout grid, be sure to create master pages for each one. See Chapter 7, “Setting Up the Framework of a Template.”
  2. Set up the master pages, object libraries, and layers. These tools work together to organize the template and make it more effective. Begin with the master page(s) by placing any recurring design elements and placeholder frames into the correct position on the layout grid. Next, create an object library and add frequently used design elements to it. Then set up any necessary layers so that you can organize the template into logical parts. See Chapter 8, “Setting Up Master Pages, Libraries, and Layers.”
  3. Create all necessary color swatches. By creating swatches, you can globally control the color in a document, which facilitates design consistency and productivity. The type and number of swatches you create is dictated by the publication’s design requirements. See Chapter 9, “Working with Color.”
  4. Generate style sheets. Use the sample content in your mock-up layout as a basis for creating all the necessary character styles, paragraph styles, object styles, cell styles, and table styles. If you’re constructing the template in a different document, you can copy the sample content from the mock-up layout into the template document so you don’t have to re-create the content you’ve already formatted. See Chapter 10, “Formatting Type and Generating Style Sheets;” Chapter 11, “Formatting Frames and Generating Object Styles;” and Chapter 12, “Formatting Tables and Generating Table and Cell Styles.”
  5. Set up long document elements. If the template you’re designing will be used to construct a long document such as a book, magazine, or catalog, you might need to set up a table of contents style, generate paragraph styles that automatically format multilevel lists, or define the template’s footnote options. See Chapter 13, “Adding Support for Long Documents.”
  6. Finalize the template. Once the template is constructed, it’s important to clean it up and prepare it for production. This involves removing unnecessary elements, preventing potential printing problems, and specifying the template’s default settings. See the section in Chapter 14, “Finalizing Your Template.”
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