Be creative with InDesign typography to create a masthead for magazines, newsletters, and much more.

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This sample file contains Adobe Stock assets you can use to practice what you learn in this tutorial. If you want to use the sample file beyond this tutorial, you can purchase licenses on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

What you learned: Convert text into outlines, combine those outlines with shapes using Pathfinder operations, and fill with color and imagery to create a masthead

Create a shape

To start, create a shape that you can combine with text to create an area to fill with color or imagery.

  1. Select the Rectangle Frame tool in the Toolbar, and draw a square.
  2. To reshape the frame, select the Direct Selection tool and click to select an anchor point on the frame.
  3. Press Delete or Backspace to remove the anchor point to create a triangle shape, for example.

Add and format some text

Next, add some text that is the main text for the masthead. You can format it how you like, but make sure the font is thick enough and the text is large enough to be readable when combined with the shape.

  1. Select the Type tool in the Toolbar, and drag to create a large text frame.
  2. Type in your text, and press Esc to select the frame and not the text.
  3. In the Properties panel, change the font (using an Adobe font or a font on your system), the size, and color, among any other formatting properties.

Make a copy of the shape and text

Position the text where you want it because once you combine the shape and the text, the text will be difficult to move. Also, make a copy of both so you can try this again on another page or in case you want a different outcome.

  1. Select the shape and text frame.
  2. Drag a copy off to the side by Option-dragging (macOS) or Alt-dragging (Windows). When the copy is where you want it, release the mouse button and then the key.

Convert the text to outlines

In order to combine the text with the shape to create the overall masthead, you need to convert the text to outlines. The text then becomes a group of shapes that no longer have a font or text formatting associated.

  • Select the text frame with the Selection tool, and choose Type > Create Outlines.

Combine the text and shape

With the text now outlines, you can combine the text and the shape using a Pathfinder operation.

  1. Select the text outlines and the shape.
  2. Choose Object > Pathfinder > Exclude Overlap to punch out or remove the parts of the text outlines that overlap the shape. You can now see through those parts to content beneath it.

Fill the result with an image or color

  • With the shape selected, click the Fill color in the Properties panel to apply a color fill, or choose File > Place to insert an image into the shape.
  • To fit the image into the shape, select a Fitting option in the Properties panel. The Fill Frame Proportionally option fills the shape with the image without distorting the image.

Tip: To move the image within the shape, you can double-click the image with the Selection tool to select and move it.

Contributor: Meng He

Adobe Stock contributors: Soloviova Liudmyla, Guille Faingold/Stocksy, tinyakov    

Presenter: Brian Wood


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