Make photos and other design elements come alive with a pop of color. In Adobe InDesign, infuse your black-and-white layout with a single custom color.

Three colorized black and white posters for rock band feature man headbanging, man playing guitar, and audience members.

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This sample file has Adobe Stock images 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 a license on Adobe Stock. Check out the ReadMe file in the folder for the terms that apply to your use of this sample file.

Open a layout or use our sample files. We’ve added frames as image placeholders in our layout, so all you have to do is to fill them with 8-bit black-and-white images.

Click Import File in the Properties panel and press Shift to select multiple images. You’ll get a place gun that shows the number of loaded images. Click inside a frame to drop an image in it; repeat for all frames.

Black and white photos are imported into InDesign and placed into preset layouts.

Now you’ll create a custom color swatch to colorize elements in your layout. In the Swatches panel, choose New Color Swatch from the panel options. Select a color book and add one or more colors — they’re automatically added to the Swatches panel.

A custom color swatch is created in the Swatches panel, New Color Swatch option. A deep reddish plum color is selected.

We explored a few color options to find one that suited our imagery.

Side-by-side images of the guitar player in pink, purple, and blue colorized black and white photos.

It couldn’t be easier to apply a color to your art. Simply click a frame to view the Content Grabber, and then click a custom color swatch in the Swatches panel. 

Clicking the frame, then a custom color swatch in the Swatches panel applies color to the black and white photo.

See how adding a bold blast of color brought depth and personality to our artwork.

Before: Black and white photo of electric guitar player playing on stage.    After: Colorized black and white photo of electric guitar player has a deep reddish plum hue.

Now you can change the mood of black-and-white photos with a color tint.


With Adobe Stock, you have access to more than 100 million high-quality, royalty-free images including photos, graphics, videos, and templates to jump-start your creative projects. Try Adobe Stock and get 10 free images.

Adobe Stock contributors: georgejmclittle, kondrukhov, Ofek, Melinda Nagy

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