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InDesign Conference Review

November 14, 2011

I recently had the privilege to attend MOGO Media’s InDesign Conference in Chicago, IL. I wrote a separate post about my trip for my travel followers, so now I am sharing my thoughts about the conference for my fellow designers.

The overall conference is worth the cost. For $695 (early bird rate), you get three full days of tips, tricks, and news from certified design professionals.

My favorite speaker was James Fritz, an entertaining and knowledgeable speaker. He was relaxed and kept my attention. My favorite quote during his presentation warned about adjusting text too much.

Fritz called the Alt (or Option on a Mac) key the “make everything better key” in the Adobe Creative Suite. Whenever you press a button to create a new page or button or another option within InDesign, pressing Alt will automatically bring up the dialogue box with options for the new creation.

Erica Gamet offered quick tips and tricks to improve your workflow and methods of design. The best tip I got from Erica was the “gridify” which is new to InDesign CS5 and later. If you need several duplicate objects, create the first. Click and drag the object while holding Alt to duplicate the object. While still holding the object, release the Alt key, use the arrow keys to create additional copies evenly distributed between the two copies of the object.

Brian Wood’s sessions included great ideas to work more efficiently within the Creative Suite. His session about creating long documents in InDesign covered a lot of best practices. I work in long documents on a daily basis. Fortunately, I am already using many of the best practices Brian shared. I use paragraph styles, books, and InDesign-generated tables of contents. While the primary benefit of attending any conference is learning, an additional benefit is confirming that I am using the tools I use daily in the best way.

Chris Converse’s sessions had the most benefit for me because almost everything he shared was new for me. Chris covered interactive elements and publishing interactive documents as web pages, interactive PDFs, and mobile applications. I plan to implement this into a document for troubleshooting at work immediately.

This conference will help me in current and future projects. It will also open up new opportunities for me on the side. That being said, if anyone needs documents designed for print or interactive PDFs, I would love to do some freelance work on the side.

The InDesign Conference, and Creative Suite Conference if you use more of the suite’s tools on a regular basis, is definitely one worth attending. If you would like any additional details about the conference or tricks I learned, feel free to contact me. You can also contact me about freelance work at jamie (dot) gillenwater (at) gmail (dot) com.

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