Review Designing a Calendar with Nigel French

Review Designing a Calendar with Nigel French
Have you ever wanted to create a calendar in InDesign? This video tutorial entitled Designing a Calendar by Nigel French will teach you how to create three calendars; a traditional monthly wall calendar, a compact yearly one-page calendar and an abstract yearly color wheel type calendar. What I liked best about this tutorial, besides the step-by-step to create the three calendars, was that French used several tools in both InDesign and Illustrator that were new to me.

French begins with a short discussion of the design features of the calendars, such as bold text and strong color and then begins to build the monthly wall calendar in InDesign. He explains the layout of each calendar page for CMYK printing, especially the five extra pages including the thumbnails page, copyright page and the front, back and inside cover pages.

Next French demonstrates how to download and install the Calendar Wizard script, a free script from Scott Selberg, into InDesignR. Once installed, it was easy to set up the script to generate the grid of squares for the days of the month. From there he creates the InDesign Master Pages for the calendar layout and imports the images to be featured for each month.

Once the basics are installed, French demonstrates how to build a palette of custom swatches and set up the custom paragraph and object styles. Using these custom settings, it was easy to style the calendar design elements from the generic text placeholders.

For the next calendar, French moves to Illustrator to use the Polar Grid tool to draw the circular grid of text frames for all those 365 numbers on this one-page calendar. Back in InDesign, he also imports the gradient background graphic that he previously created in PhotoshopR. Adding the numbers was simple with a few tools. French used the Threaded Text Frames feature in InDesign to easily add the numbers in sequence and the Rotate tool to reposition the Threaded Text Frames along the circular design.

As with the wall calendar project, French creates custom paragraph, character and object styles. I especially liked the use of styles to start the numbering at 1 at the beginning of each month. For the background design element, French first demonstrates the limitations in InDesign for drawing a gradient and then how he solved this problem in Photoshop. Moving back to InDesign, he discusses his choice of font and his use of Styles and Blend Modes to achieve the semi-transparent design.

The last calendar is a single-page, all-in-one yearly calendar. Again he uses the Wizard script to generate the content for the 12 months. He then begins to re-position the design elements to build all 12 months into a vertical table. Because the calendar is all on one page, some of the generated content is redundant, such as the 2014. He demonstrates how to remove the year and also the empty squares between the end of one month and the beginning of the next. Finally, he adds a few more details.

Because I usually work in RGB format instead of CMYK, a few steps would be different for me but this training video was very helpful not only for designing three calendars but as an exercise in using Scripts, Styles and Blend Modes InDesign.

Disclosure: I was not financially compensated for this article. The opinions are completely my own based on my experience.

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