Adobe Indesign CC: How to Letters Bold

Sometimes, you download a font or have a font that doesn’t have a bold style (see below).

In Adobe Indesign, there is a simple workaround for that.

Step 1: Make a new document, and make a text box and write.

Step 2: Highlight the text you want bold.

Step 3: Open up the stroke panel. You can find it at the top: Window > Stroke

Step 4: Increase the weight number (more than 0) to make the word bold and that’s it!

*Note: make sure the stroke color is the same as the text.

Adobe Illustrator CC: Creating Arrows on lines

Step 1: Open a new document and create a line with either the pen tool or the line too. Make sure you select the line by clicking it.

Step 2: Go to Window > Stroke, to open up the Stroke panel.

Step 3: In the stroke panel where it says “Arrowheads” You can select the arrow you want. The first one is the beginning the second one is the end. The beginning is the first point create and the end is the last point you created.

Ta-da you create a line with an arrow!

This method is similar to Adobe Indesign, hope that helps!

Adobe Indesign CC: Creating Arrows on Lines

Step 1: Open a new document and create a line with either the pen tool and line tool. Make sure you click and select the line.

Step 2: Click “Window” and top menu and then go to “Stroke”.

Step 3: In the stroke panel where it says start or end you can choose the arrow. There are other options you can choose. The start is the first point and the end is the last point.

And ta-da you have an arrow!

Adobe Indesign CC: How to add hyperlinks

Step 1: Create text box with the desired text.

Step 2: Highlight and right click choose Hyperlinks>New Hyperlinks. The other option New Hyperlink from URL should be chosen when you put the actual URL in the text box.

Step 3: The New Hyperlink window will open. Type the URL in the URL box highlighted below. Click OK.

Note: The link to box has other options such as a mail link. The character style controls how it looks but you can easily change it in the character window. PDF appearance is how the link will appear in the PDF, keep it on the default.

Step 4: The link is created and you can now export when you are exporting it into a PDF file. Ensure you you have Hyperlinks checked under Include. And you are done!

Adobe Indesign CC: How to Make a Bullet List

Step 1: Create a Text Box and Write your list

Step 2: Highlight Text

Step 3: Go to upper right corner and click this icon  then click “Bullets and Numbering”

Step 4: Choose Parameters

You will see this box. From the drop menu for “List Type” choose bullets. Also, click preview in the bottom left corner to see how the list will look like. In the bottom portion of “Bullet or Number Position” are your usual attributes for the list (Will go into detail more later).

Click “OK” and your list is done. As seen below.

Side Note:

Sometimes you will get the issue of the next line not aligning with the left indent. As shown below.

To fix this go back into your bullets and numbering panels to align your bullets list.

In the left indent (First line) put 0.125, the next first line indent (Line after the bullet line) put -0.125 (Yes, you can put negative numbers). Tab Position (Shifting the whole list right), should be 0. The list will then align with the first line.


Adobe Indesign CC: How to Make Tables

Method 1

Step 1: Make a new document in InDesign and choose the text tool and create the size of the table you desire.

Step 2: Click within the text box and then go to the top click and click Table > Insert Table

The following box appears the options are as follows:

Body Rows: How many rows do you want?
Columns: How many columns do you want?

Header Rows: Headers is at the very top of the table, it will have a different style based on the table style.

Footer Rows: Footers is at the very bottom of the table, it will have a different style based on the table style.

Table style: How your table is is going to be stylized. Is useful when you are making multiple tables of the same table, but if you are not, don’t worry about it and stick with basics.

When you are done click OK.

Step 5: The table will then appear in the text box and you can populate it with the data you want.

Editing the Table Style 

Merging cells

Highlight the cells you to merge, right click and click merge cells.

Changing cell size

Choose the text tool and hover over the edge of the table until it changes, clicks and then pull to change the size of the cell.

You can also make the rows even by highlighting the entire table, right click and click distribute rows evenly, and you can do the same with columns.

Font & Justification

Highlight the entire table and the top there are many options to change the font and justification.

This panel is pretty intuitive.

Font Outline, Fill and Colour

The right most panel outlined in red is where you change the outline of the table. Clicking the lines you desire to change (will change blue) then click the stroke colour panel as shown. The top is the fill option and the bottom is the stroke colour panel.

Another way to change the fill and outline is to highlight the entire table right click and choose

This table options window will appear

From the drop down menu on the alternating pattern, you can choose how you want the fill to happen. This is pretty intuitive, you can do this for strokes, columns and etc. Really useful.

Method 2

Step 1: Make a new document in InDesign and choose the text tool and create the size of the table you desire.

Step 2: To make a table in InDesign, each tab is a column and each row is a new paragraph.

Step 3: When you are done, high the text and go to the top and click Table> Convert Text to Table

The following box appears the options are as follows:

When you are done click OK.

Table will then be created.

Method 2.1

Step 1: Make a new document in InDesign and choose the text tool and create the size of the table you desire.

Step 2: To make a table in InDesign, each tab is a column and each row is a new paragraph.

Step 2.1: This can get tedious when you have large amounts of data. Instead, open Excel and create a table there.

Step 2.2: Copy the table and paste it into the text box within InDesign.

Step 3: When you are done, high the text and go to the top and click Table> Convert Text to Table

The following box appears the options are as follows:

When you are done click OK.

Adobe Indesign CC: Drop Caps Tutorial

A Drop Cap usually marks the beginning of a paragraph, section or chapter usually with the beginning first character the height of two – three lines. It is a visual way to add more oomph to your work.

How to add a drop in Indesign CC

Step 1:

Create a text box and fill it will text by using the text tool.

Step 2:

Ensure that the marker is placed at the beginning of the paragraph.

Step 3:

You can click CTRL + ALT + R to bring up the drop cap window. Or you can clip the Upper right corner for this icon: it should be in your character panel and choose the “Caps and Nested Styles” option.

Step 4:

Lines: How many lines do you want it take up

Character: How many characters do you want to be in the Drop Cap Style.


Also, click “Preview” to see how it looks!

And that’s all folks! Have any questions about Adobe Indesign, Photoshop, or Illustrator? I would be happy to help! Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.

Illustrator CC: Guidelines Tutorial

Guidelines are a useful tool to use, especially when using illustrator. The function is the same across all the Adobe programs, but they vary slightly on how it’s done.

Step 1: 

At the top: View > Rulers > Show Rulers

Step 2: Ensure the guidelines are on a separate layer.

The reason I suggest this is so the guidelines won’t move. When you have other objects on the artboard, you will accidently click on the guidelines. To create a new layer, click the page icon on the bottom of the layers panel.

Step 3: Creating the Guidelines

Click on the ruler and holding it down drag towards the artboard. The guideline will then appear. You do the same for the ruler on the left.

Step 4: Revising the Guidelines

If you want to change it, hover over the guideline till the mouse cursor changes and then click and drag again.

Step 5: Lock the guidelines

On the layer panel next to eye click the empty space/square and a lock will appear. Signifying the layer is locked. The guidelines now cannot move and you can go about illustrating.

Other Tips:

 You can change the units of the ruler to suits your needs in the guidelines. To do this right click on the ruler and chose the unit you wish to work in.

Hope that helps!


The Freemium Pricing Model

Freemium is as mash-up of the words “free” and “premium”. The gist of freemium is that consumers receive the basic features for free at no cost. The ‘premium’ features and add-ons cost money (Kumar, 2014).  Freemium is a fairly new pricing model that started in the 1980s (Seufert, 2013) and has quickly grown since. Over 80% of the top mobile applications uses some form of the freemium model (Lee, 2013). It is a pricing model that is becoming commonplace, especially in the software, social media, gaming and the mobile application industry (Kumar, 2014). It is a radical idea and bucks against the common notion that companies should not give away anything for free. Freemium has turned the notion on its head and it is partly due to today’s increasing online market. There are benefits for companies using this model. It makes it easier for consumers to recommend to their networks, which have facilitated the growth of many software companies (Lee et al, 2013). There are three challenges with the model.  First, is how much value of the product should be free, relative to the premium product? Second, how do companies incentivize consumers to upgrade to premium or buy add-ons? Finally, what is the right incentive to offer to influence consumers to share? Future and current business professionals will have to learn how to navigate the freemium model, considering it’s pervasiveness, especially with the digital industry booming.

The freemium model has many variants. Product Sampling is one (Pujol, 2010), the digitization of product sampling can be restricted to either a time limitation or limited us, which is made possible with the Internet (Pujol, 2010).  For example, Harvard Business Review allows four free articles per month, with unlimited articles with a premium subscription. The final type is the product comes with the basic features (unlimited) and with an upgrade to access premium features. (Punjol, 201). Often found in online games.  The challenge here which type of freemium to choose and how much of the value should be free, while reducing the risk of cannibalization? To mitigate this, companies should look at what is being offered and the feedback metrics. The purpose of freemium is to attract new users (Kumar, 2014). If the data shows traffic is low, the conclusion is the free offerings are not enough and better features needed to be added. If there is a lot of traffic but not enough conversions, the conclusion is the free features are too much (Kumar, 2014). The company should first ensure customers understand what the premium offer entails (Kumar, 2014). It should be simple and clear. Second, listen to consumers.  Freemium is unique because there are two groups of customers that are dependent on each other. One is the free users and the second are the premium users. For example, the first premium users act like beta users (Punjol, 2010). Where they test the premium product and give feedback. This allows the company to tweak the free product and the premium product even better. This also allows for customer relationships to emerge.

Finally, what is the incentive to offer to influence consumers to share? Referrals are effective at converting consumers to premium at 40% of the time, due to the viral nature of referrals due to social media (Lee, 2013). To increase referrals, ensuring a steady conversion rate is key. Naturally, a higher conversion rate seems better. This is not always the case if there is a high conversion rate but the low traffic it shows that the free product is not compelling, which limits customer acquisitions (Kumar, 2014). Studies have shown that a conversion rate of 2-5 percent with high traffic is actually better (Kumar, 2014). If it is a niche market than a higher rate is recommended. To consistently retain customers, companies should be committed to ongoing innovation. Users who are late joiners are harder to convert and are typically swayed by upgrades of the premium service (Kumar, 2014).

Freemium pricing is an intrinsic part of the online world and digital marketing. With many products now shifting to bits instead of bricks, it is becoming a default standard for many companies. It is also a practical model for many startups. For example, Linkedin offered their service for free but has a premium version for the upgrade (Linkedin, 2016). This has helped them grow rapidly.  The Freemium model can make a company successful, but again, it must be emphasized, it’s suited to industries where the product can be digital. It is a delicate balancing act. Knowing how much to offer for free, incentives, and continue innovation needed to succeed with the freemium model. It is imperative for oneself to understand how freemium works within digital marketing. As business continually shift and change we must change with it.  


Work Cited

  • Lee, Clarence, Vineet Kumar, and Sunil Gupta. “Designing freemium: a model of consumer usage, upgrade, and referral dynamics.” Mimeo Leung, Michael (2013), Two-step estimation of network formation models with incomplete information (2013).
  • Liu, Charles Z., Yoris A. Au, and Hoon Seok Choi. “An empirical study of the freemium strategy for mobile apps: Evidence from the google play market.” (2012).
  • Pujol, Nicolas. “Freemium: attributes of an emerging business model.”Available at SSRN 1718663 (2010).
  • Seufert, Eric Benjamin. Freemium economics: Leveraging analytics and user segmentation to drive revenue. Elsevier, 2013.
  • Wang, Hao, and Alvin Chin. “Social influence on being a pay user in freemium-based social networks.” 2011 IEEE International Conference on Advanced Information Networking and Applications. IEEE, 2011.

Say NO to Spec Work

Spec Work is short for speculative work. Defined by AIGA (The Professional Association for Design) as “work done prior to engagement with a client in anticipation of being paid”.  Most common in the design industry, such as website, graphics, and so on but it does happen in other industry such as software design. Spec work means the designer does not get paid. There are 5 types of unpaid work common:

  1. Speculative Work
  2. Competitions
  3. Volunteer Work
  4. Internships
  5. Pro bono

How it hurts the designer

Often designers who are usually starting out are lured into doing speculative work, with the usual spiel of “gain recognition and exposure” or “Increase your portfolio” or “I just want to get a feel and we can work on a refining it” (Cass, 2009). What actually happens is that spec work very rarely leads to more work, profit or referrals. The “client” will get the full work for free, won’t pay and then cut all contact. Designers are often left in the dust holding nothing. Their rights to their work is gone and the experience will leave a bitter taste. Especially since designers pour time into creating the work. If the company wants to see the quality of one’s work a portfolio, references, and experience should be enough.

How it hurts the company

The best work is done through collaboration and developing an agency-client relationship (Oetting, 2015). This allows trust and understanding to be built. Spec work, does not develop his kind of relationship. Often companies who are using spec work are looking to reduce cost and gain variation. This may be the case but in the long run, what you receive is low quality work, chance of plagiarism, no revisions, unethical, and no relationship is built (Cass, 2009).

Why it still persists

It’s has been largely common practice in the past few decades. There has only been a recent push back against spec work (AIGA, 2016). It also been perpetrated due to the boom of the internet, which has allow for forms of crowd sourcing, ease of finding new targets and large pool of desperate workers (Owyang, 2008).

Designers deserve to get paid and they deserve to be able to make a living. Just like any other job. Say NO to spec work.


AIGA. (2016). Retrieved from AIGA position on spec work

Cass, J. (2009, August 12). The “Pros” and Cons of Spec Work. Retrieved from

Neff, J. (2012, January 9). Why Spec Creative Should Go Away but Won’t. Retrieved from

Oetting, J. (2015, August 25). Is Spec Work Evil? 12 Agency Execs Discuss the Unchecked Problem. Retrieved from

Owyang, J. (2008, December 13). Designers: Why Spec Work Is Not Going Away –How You Should Respond. Retrieved from

Images courtesy of

Videos to Watch:

Here are two videos that really hit the points on the unethical nature of Spec Work.

Zulu Alpha Kilo – Spec | #saynotospec

The viral video by Zulu Alpha Kilo – a person goes around asking other people in non design occupations to provide spec work.

Mike Monteiro: F*ck You, Pay Me

A half hour lecture that highlights personal experience and give practical advice in being in the design industry.

A primer on A/B Testing

What is A/B Testing?


It is when you are comparing two versions of something to see which one performs better (VMO, 2016). The one that performs better is the one that is chosen. It can be anything from TV ads to websites. It is used often in the world of business.  

The purpose of A/B Testing

The purpose is to optimize the choice of media, simply to get more bang for your buck. The investment into A/B testing has been correlated with positive revenue, sales and leads. This is further supported by the wealth of information and tools available to us (Fung, 2014). The greatest benefit is that it answers the question why? Or what if? (Jenkins, 2014).   

How does it work?

  1.   Study the data to see if there is an issue: For example a high bounce rate on the landing page.
  2.   Construct a hypothesis: Using the data, build a hypothesis to achieve a goal. It can be one element or a complete redesign, but the less the better (Optimizely, 2016).
  3.   Test the hypothesis using A/B testing: Use a control and a variation to be able to better track and understand the true impact of the variation.
  4.   Analyze the data and draw conclusions: There is either a clear winner or no change. Either way that does not mean A/B testing is useless. 80-90 percent of A/B tests are counted as ‘failures’ (Fung, 2014). And are considered not statistically significant. The feedback drawn from the testing will show if the company is on the right track and avoid wasting money and time (Fung, 2014).
  5.   Implement the choice and evaluate: Word of caution, subsequent roll out is to the untreated half of the customer base, there expect aggregate improvement of 2.5% if the test showed an increase of 5% (Fung, 2014).


Some people may see A/B testing as a form of “manipulating emotions” (Constine, 2014). If one is to employ A/B testing, ensure that there is an opt out option for users. Companies should educate employees in ethical research methods (Constine, 2014).


Indesign CS5 Tutorial: Document Settings

Setting up your job is an important part of Indesign. When you first open the program you are faced with this window. The Create New, on the right side has three options. Document, Book, and Library.

Document is for a single file, Book is when for example you have multiple chapter in one document and Library for now we will ignore. We will focus on Document settings here.


When you click new document you get this window:


These are the default settings. I’ll go through them one by one.

Document preset, right now it is set to Default which as the name entails is what the factory preset are. You can make your own presets if you feel you are going to use the same settings. You do this after you enter all the information you want about the document. The button Save preset to your right will allow you to do this.

Intent: Just as it says, what is your intention for this document? The options are as followed. Print and Web. Two obvious choices.

Number of Pages: How many pages is this thing going to have? Self explanatory.  The box next to it where it says facing pages. Facing pages determines the orientation of the pages panel. If you unclick it, it will appear as this.

If you click Facing Pages, you will have this set up. I prefer Facing Pages.


# Start Page – Self Explanatory. The box next to it is Master Text Frame, you probably won’t need to use this feature. But for completeness, the master text frame is used in the same manner as Master Pages (See Tutorial Here). But for me I haven’t had a chance to really use this function and don’t find it necessary. But when you choose the option the Pages panel will appear like this:



Page Size: Self Explanatory and intuitive if you used Microsoft Word before. You are telling the program what size you want your document to be. These are default pre sets for common printing. If you want custom size you just ignore the page size and go to width and height. Input the specifications. Orientation, there are two options portrait or landscape. Both you should be familiar with if you have used Word before.


Columns again should be intuitive if you used word or any Microsoft program. Gutter is the space between pages in the book.

avi as media gutter

You don’t want the gutter to be close or you won’t be able to see the words/pictures properly in the book. The gutter also depends on binding method and amount of pages.


Margins are the edge of the border. The link chain the middle of top and bottom vs the inside and outside tells the program to put the same numbers in the inside and outside as the top and bottom.


Bleed is the highly recommended. When the printing press cuts your project it won’t also be exactly that shape. If may be off a bit, like a couple of cms. You want to ensure that if that happens it will still be okay and there won’t be any extra white space. Again the linked chain works the same in margins. Slug is just extra space to put instructions or notes, usually used when you are working in a team.


As you may have noticed my settings are all inches. The default Indesign uses is picas. To change this go to top choose: Edit>Preferences>Units & Increments




While working with your project you may want to change the document settings.  You can do this by going to File>Document Setup. But you will only change a few of the settings. Some you won’t be able to change at all. So do it right the first time.

Okay, I think that’s it. If I am missing anything, have criticism, feedback, or questions. Please feel free to comment!