How to Make a Brochure Cover Design in Adobe InDesign

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

Marketing materials that sell need to be eye-catching and attractive. In this tutorial, you will learn how to make an appealing brochure cover design.

Brochures are an essential part of a brand for any type of business. A well-designed brochure is a great way to get your reader interested. With a plethora of brochures in the world, designing something unique will make the work stand out.

This tutorial will guide you through making a ready-to-print brochure cover. This design also doubles as a template for future projects. You can alter the elements to any size and colors you need. It only takes a couple of steps!

What You Will Need

You’ll need access to Adobe InDesign; if you don’t have the software, you can download a trial from the Adobe website. You’ll also need the following assets:

Download the assets and make sure the font is installed on your system before starting. When you are ready, we can dive in!

Looking for amazing brochure templates? Head on over to Envato Elements or GraphicRiver.

1. How to Set Up a Brochure Cover Design in Adobe InDesign

Step 1

For the purpose of this tutorial, we will set up a one-page file to work on the brochure cover. If you would like to continue designing the interior, feel free to add pages on the Pages panel.

In InDesign, go to File > New. Name the document brochure coverSet the brochure to the following Legal-Half dimensions:

  • Width to 17.78 cm
  • Height to 21.59 cm
  • Orientation to Portrait
  • Pages to
  • Margins to 10 mm
  • Bleeds to 3 mm (it is advised to seek your professional printer’s preference)

Click Create.

Create a new document

Step 2

For this brochure cover tutorial, we will work with two Layers. This will make it easier to update the template with new information and brand colors.

Bring up the Layers panel by going to Window > Layers. Double-click on Layer 1 and rename it Triangles 1. 

On the Layers panel main menu, select New Layer. Name it Triangles 2, and click OK.

Add three additional layers, naming them Image/Logo, Triangles 3, and Copy. 

Create new layers for each stage of the cover

Step 3

Before we start with the design, let’s add some color swatches. Head over to Window > Color > Swatches to expand the Swatches panel. Choose New Color Swatch from the main menu. Add the following colors:

  • Yellow: C=0 M=50 Y=100 K=0.
  • Dark Blue: C=90 M=45 Y=15 K=65
  • Light Blue: C=50 M=0 Y=15 K=0

Click Add after you input each of the color values. Click OK. 

Add new color swatches

2. How to Work With Vectors and Placing Images in Adobe InDesign

Step 1

On the Layers panel, select the Triangles 1 layer.

On the Toolbar, select the Polygon Tool. You can find this under the Rectangle Tool (M). Click and hold the button to access the extended menu, and select the Polygon Tool. Click on the document to bring up the Polygon option window. Enter the following settings:

  • Polygon Width to 6.5 cm
  • Polygon Height to 5 cm
  • Number of Sides to 3
  • Star Inset to 0%

Click OK.

Create a Triangle using the Polygon Tool

Step 2

For this tutorial, we will create a background using triangles with different opacities. Let’s duplicate the triangle. Press Shift-Option and drag to duplicate the shape. Pressing Option will duplicate the object, while Shift will align the object.

Press Command-R to Rotate the object 180°. Hold down Shift for an even rotation.

Duplicate the triangle

Step 3

We need to create a hexagon. Duplicate both objects again by pressing Shift-Option and dragging.

This time, switch both triangles (top and bottom) to form a diamond.  Move these to the left to fit the first two set of triangles. Duplicate the diamond shape to fit on the opposite side.

Create a hexagon using the triangles

Step 4

Select one of the triangles. Head over to the Swatches panel and set the Tint to 20%. Continue formatting the other triangles in 20% increments, as shown in the image below:

Using the Tint option on the swatches panel set each triangle in 20 increments

Step 5

Select all the triangles and press Command-G to Group the objects. Head over to the Swatches panel and select the dark blue color. This will alter the color without affecting the Tint. 

Change the color on the swatches panel to dark blue

Step 6

Press Command-R to Rotate. Hold down Shift and rotate the triangle 90°. Duplicate the objects by pressing Shift-Option and dragging. Create a pattern like the image below:

Rotate the hexagon and multiply to create a pattern

Step 7

On the Toolbar, select the Direct Selection Tool (A). To create an even diagonal shape, delete the top and bottom three triangles.

delete the top and bottom triangles to create a flat shape

Step 8

Center the object on the page, making sure it covers the bleeds. If you need to resize, hold Shift-Option and drag one of the corners. Shift is used to scale the object evenly, while Option is used to scale from the center point.

To go in and out of Preview Mode, press W.

Fit the object on the page makign sure it is touching the bleeds

Step 9

On the Layers panel, lock the Triangles 1 layer. We will be working on the Triangles 2 layer.

Select the Polygon Tool. Click on the document and create a triangle with the same settings as before.

  • Polygon Width to 6.5 cm
  • Polygon Height to 5 cm
  • Number of Sides to 3
  • Star Inset to 0%

Click OK.

Lock the triangles 1 layer and work on the triangles 2 layer Create a new triangle

Step 10

Head over to the Swatches panel, and select [None] for Fill. Press X to activate the Stroke color and select [Paper].

On the Stroke panel (Window > Stroke), set the Stroke Weight to 0.5 pt. 

Set the fill to none the stroke to white and weight to 05 pt

Step 11

Press Command-R to Rotate. Hold down Shift and rotate to –90°. Duplicate the shapes by pressing Option and dragging. Scatter them around over the first set of triangles we created. Feel free to resize them to create contrast. Remember to press Shift-Option to scale proportionally.

Multiply the shapes and alter the sizes for contrast

Step 12

On the Layers panel, lock the Triangles 2 layer. We will be working on the Triangles Image/Logo layer.

Select the Polygon Tool. Click on the document and create a triangle with the following settings:

  • Polygon Width to 17 cm
  • Polygon Height to 12.5 cm
  • Number of Sides to 3
  • Star Inset to 0%

Click OK.

Press Command-R to Rotate. Hold down Shift and rotate to –90°.

Lock the triangles 2 layer and work on the ImageLogo layer Create a new triangle

Step 13

Select the object we created in the step above. Press Command-D to place an image within the object. Find the Group of young people file and click Open. 

Place an image within the triangle

Step 14

Using the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the image within the object. Hit R on your keyboard to Rotate the image. Press Shift for an even rotation and rotate to 0°.

Using the direct selection tool hit R on your keyboard and rotate the image

Step 15

Head over to the Control bar, and activate the Constrain Proportions button. Set the Scale to 55%.

Change the scale to 55

Step 16

To add dimension, let’s add a few more touches. Bring up the Effects panel (Windows > Effects). On the main menu, select Effects > Drop Shadow.

In the Effects option window, set the Opacity to 20%. Under Options, set the Size to 1 cm. Click OK.

Add a drop shadow effect to the object

Step 17

On the Layers panel, lock the Image/Logo layer and select Triangles 3. We will go back later to add a logo.

Select the Polygon Tool to create triangles. This time, draw them on the document by clicking and dragging. Hold down Shift to create a proportionally scaled triangle. Scatter a few over the image and the background.

Try rotating some of them by pressing Command-R to Rotate. Hold down Shift to rotate evenly.

Using the Swatches panel, set the triangles in the dark and light blue colors.

Create another set of triangles over the image

Step 18

To add some final touches, let’s add a logo. On the Layers panel, unlock the Image/Logo layer.

Press Command-D to place an image on the document. In the Place window option, find the Brain logo in the .eps format and click Open.

Click on the document to place the logo. Head over to the Control bar, and activate the Constrain Proportions button. Set the Height to 1.5 cm. 

To Fit Content Proportionally, press Shift-Option-Command-E. Place the logo in the top left corner.

Add a logo and place it on the top left cover

3. How to Format Type in Adobe InDesign

On the Layers panel, select the Copy layer. On the Toolbar, select the Text Tool (T). Create a text box in the bottom right corner of the cover.

Add a title and a tagline. Head over to the Control bar and set the font to Quadran. Feel free to use two different families to add contrast to the headline. I am using Light and Bold. Set the Size to 24 pt.

Set the tagline to Quadran Regular and 14 pt. 

Add a title and a tagline to the cover

4. How to Export a PDF File for Printing

Before exporting a file for printing, take a look around all the edges of the cover. Make sure all the objects that are meant to bleed out of the image are touching the bleeds.

Step 1

To export the file, go to File > Export or Command-E. Name the file brochure cover and choose Adobe PDF (Print) from the Format dropdown menu. Click Save. 

Export the file

Step 2

In the Export Adobe PDF window, set the Adobe PDF Preset to Press Quality.

Set the preset to Press Quality

On the left side of the panel, select Marks and Bleeds. Check All Printer’s Marks and Use Document Bleed Settings. Click Export. You will have a ready-to-print PDF file.

On the Marks and bleeds menu check all printers marks and use document bleed setting options

Great Job! You’ve Finished This Tutorial!

In this tutorial, we learned how to design a ready-to-print brochure cover. This cover also doubles as a template. It is easy to edit to any branding guidelines. Today, we’ve learned to:

  • Set up a ready-to-print brochure cover in Adobe InDesign.
  • Add new color swatches and Layers to maintain organization.
  • Place images within objects.
  • Use vectors and format shapes.
  • Export a ready-to-print brochure template PDF file.

If you would like to explore more brochure ideas, you can find many customizable bifold brochure templates over at Envato Elements and Graphic River. Check it out!

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