My chair creaks. Start over. I sneeze. Start over. The phone rings. Move it out of the room and start over. “Ummm.” Start over. Someone comes in the room and rustles around. Start over. If I had a dog it would definitely be barking about now. Start over, start over, start over!
Such are the interruptions when I sit down to make a five-minute video about using InDesign.
It really is surprising how much noise there can be in a quiet house on a quiet street when I need silence. But apart from the distractions, there’s also the problem of remembering what the heck I was going to say. Oh, the trials of a YouTube celebrity.
Why in the world am I making these instructional videos, anyway? (Check out our Videos page to see a selection of quick demos on all kinds of InDesign processes.) It all started when I was invited to do a couple of guest lectures at the art department of Framingham State University, near where I live in Massachusetts. The graphic design professor there, Stephanie Grey, was one of our earliest supporters and had her students buy Book Design Made Simple for her class. She asked me in to introduce the book and give a lesson on making the best use of Adobe InDesign. So I led the students through the first several chapters of the book, narrating as I went along. It was actually the first time I’d ever been inside a graphic design classroom, and it turned out to be a very pleasant experience. I was completely envious of the students: They were working on intriguing projects and had an excellent teacher to guide them.
As I was developing an outline for the class beforehand and practicing it, I found it easy and fun to narrate my actions in InDesign. Normally I am pretty quiet, but for some reason, I loved explaining each step aloud. Then once the class was over and the students said they had learned a lot, I knew this had to be a good thing. Plus, I found myself continuing to narrate my actions when I was working alone back at home.
I remembered that at one point Fiona and I had discussed the idea of producing video tutorials, though neither one of us had the inclination or the time. But now I thought Hey, I could do one of those videos that shows only the computer screen, right? Since nobody would be watching me, it might even be fun. So I went to YouTube (where else?) to find out how to make a YouTube video. It turned out to be simpler than I expected, and I figured out how to use Apple’s Quicktime app without much trouble. Quicktime has only simple controls, and is not set up for major editing. So that means I can’t make any mistakes—thus all the starting over. I delete several incomplete videos for each one that I finish.
Ideas for topics are just about endless. Most come from Book Design Made Simple, but others stem from new tricks that I might learn from InDesign Secrets or in an Adobe community forum. Many of the methods I teach (and we describe in the book) were learned because of a sudden need—by research, by stumbling to a solution, or from other designers I’ve worked with over the years. The aim is to help you work more efficiently and use the full power of this great layout program. If you’d like to be notified every time a new video is posted, simply hit the Subscribe button when you’re visiting our YouTube channel.
Okay, I admit that some of the videos have had only a few views and I’m not actually a YouTube star yet. But there’s always hope.
Now be quiet and let me get back to making another one!
Please be sure to let us know in the comments below if you have a topic you’d like us to cover. Happy designing!