How to Make a Postcard in Adobe InDesign

As a page-layout program, Adobe InDesign provides the flexibility required when creating postcards. You can easily manipulate images and text to elegantly showcase vacation spots, send party invitations or advertise products and services. InDesign's bleed feature enables you to work with the printer to create a postcard without worrying about excess white space. In addition, the guide features of InDesign allow you to mark off vital parts that must remain empty.

Open Adobe InDesign and select "File" > "New" > "New Document."

Set up the size of the postcard. Enter "2" in the "Pages" box and uncheck the "Facing Pages" box. Enter the dimensions for the postcard. For example, enter "6" in the "Width" box and "4.25" in the "Height" box to create a standard 4.25-by-6-inch card as found on the Modern Postcard website.

Add guides for margins and bleeds. Enter the desired margin size in the "Margins" boxes. The margin is a safety guide so that important information will not be cut off when trimmed. Check with your printer to determine how much bleed is required. Click on "More Options" to display the "Bleed and Slug" box. Enter the required bleed in the "Bleed" boxes. For example, make sure the "Make all settings the same" button is depressed and enter "0.0625" in the "Top Bleed" box to create 1/16-inch bleed. Select "OK."

Import the image. Select "Place" from the "File" menu. Navigate to the desired image and select "Open." Click inside the InDesign document to place the image. Position the image as desired. If you want the image to extend to the edge of the postcard, make sure the edge of the image is on the bleed line; however, remember that the printer will trim this part.

Insert the text. Select the "Type" tool from the "Tools" palette. Click and drag in the desired text location to create a textbox. Type and format the text as desired.

Add indicia for the postage stamp on the second page. Select the "Type" tool. Select the "Stroke" box from the "Tools" palette and change the colour to black. Draw a textbox that is approximately the size of a stamp or 1.25-by-1.25 inches at the upper-right margin. Type "Place Stamp Here" and centre the text horizontally and vertically.

Add guides for restricted areas. The post office uses the bottom part of the postcard for barcodes and looks for mailing addresses on the right-hand side of the postcard. Drag a guide from the top ruler bar to 2.75 inches from the bottom margin to mark the barcode area. Drag another guide from the left ruler bar to 2.5 inches from the right margin to mark the mailing address section. Use the "Type" tool to add the mailing address, if desired.

Things You'll Need

  • Adobe InDesign
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About the Author

Josh McGee graduated from Utah State University with a bachelor's degree in English, professional and technical communication, and a minor in marketing. He has worked as a technical writer and illustrator for two large manufacturing companies, ICON Health and Fitness and Cover-Pools Incorporated. He is currently employed full-time for the latter.