How do I create a logo with initials

Create initials in InDesign

A popular means of marking the beginning of an article in editorial design is a larger letter, which is titled as an initial. In this tutorial I show how initials can be created and varied in InDesign. In addition to classic initials, I show the creation of hanging initials that build up in front of the paragraph, as well as illustrations / images that function as initials.

We recommend:

An initial - what is it?

A popular means of marking the beginning of an article in editorial design is a capitalized letter that is written as Initial is titled.

The letter is usually built up from the top of the line over three or more lines down. An initial not only usually has to consist of one character, but can also contain a whole word.

The image below shows a modest one-character initial over three lines. The setting values ​​are in Paragraph control panel to see.

The classic initial is also referred to as the modest initial because it is used solely to mark the beginning of a paragraph. In addition, there are hanging and decorative initials, whereby hanging are often decorative initials at the same time.

The hanging initial can be partially or completely placed outside the line width.

Decorative initials are often hanging, protrude beyond three lines and are occasionally decorated with ornaments, etc. The decorative initials of the Gutenberg Bible are famous. Here is a picture under the license CC by-nc-sa 3.0 from the website: http://bav.bodleian.ox.ac.uk/

What should be considered when using initials?

Initials for identifying new articles are typographically pleasant, but not for every new paragraph of an article. The initials will always be set in the same font - possibly with a bolder style. However, there are also exceptions, depending on the context, where a variation of the font, style and color can definitely achieve a pleasant effect.

From a layout perspective, the paragraph should always be at least twice as long as the height of the initial. The effect of an initial can be increased by using a bolder type of font.

Initials are not only used in editorial design, but can also be used in a flyer or invitation card, depending on the occasion. Depending on the context, it is advisable to keep the font of the initials special, for example to use cursive. In this case, too, the initial should hang halfway and protrude well beyond the standardized three lines.

Initials can also be combined with indentations. This makes sense especially for texts with many paragraphs. The beginning of the text can be marked with an initial, while the other paragraph beginnings contain indents.

Create an initial

There are several ways to create initials: 1. Via the Control palette, 2. about your Paragraph control panel, 3. About the dialogue Initials and nested formats. In addition, you also have the option of Paragraph formats the registry Initials and nested formats to call.

In InDesign, the Control palette two icons for initials, with which you can control the number of characters and the height of the initial via the number of lines. If your monitor resolution is too small and therefore the icons are hidden, you can also use the Context menu the Control palette the dialogue for Initials and nested formats call. The quickest way is with the shortcut Ctrl + Alt + R.

You can use initials one Character format and thus create initials in your work with one click that have a different font than the rest of the paragraph. Also as a nested one Paragraph format can be assigned initials.

It is typographically pleasant to align the character on the left edge so that the white space at the edge is removed or minimized. This is enabled by default. We also recommend scaling for descenders so that characters do not protrude into the following lines, which can happen with some fonts and letters (J, Q, ...).

If the white space is not sufficient due to the alignment on the left edge, you can add a space in front of the initial (e.g. an eighth square with Ctrl + Alt + Shift + M) insert. Now you define two characters for your initial, one of which is your space. There is an undercut and with the kerning settings you can fine-tune the left alignment to the edge.

The same works if your character - like the J in the picture above - runs out too far to the right and protrudes into the text. Add a space after the initial (eighth of a square), increase the initial characters to two and press the text outwards using the spacing settings when the space is marked so that it fits visually again.


Initials can easily be removed again. Simply set the characters for initials to 0.

The hanging initial in front of the column

To place a hanging initial half or all in front of the text column, you can again use a space. For example, add an eighth square before the first character, increase the initial value to 2. Now select the space and reduce the spacing.

At -500 with the Minion Pro 12 point you have an initial over three lines with an initial half hanging in front of the column.

At -1000 it is right in front of the column. This can also be a nice distinction in your layout.

The decorative initial with visualized text flow effect

Typographic ornaments can be used as decorative initials. You can buy it as a graphic from Fotolia, for example.

However, it is also a good idea to choose a letter in a beautiful cursive font, this one in Convert paths and as object With Text runaround to place.

In this case I choose the Orphiel Demo font and choose a new one Text frame and write “D” into it. Via the menu Font> Convert to Paths (Ctrl + Shift + O) can you do that Text object in a Vector object convert.

Then activate the Text runaround in mode Flow around the object shape and expand the Text runaround by 3 mm.

A tip: you can Text runaround can also be controlled in detail by connecting the "D" object with the Direct selection tool click. The text runaround points appear. Now you can move individual text runaround points, such as the lower one Text runaround taper so that the bottom row still slides up.

A graphic as an initial

You can get a classy look in the layout by placing a picture as an initial instead of a normal character.

To do this, simply insert your picture and control the view using the text runaround options. An example here is our logo as a picture initial.

The problem here is that if the text sections move, your picture will stop. So it's static.

It becomes dynamic when you anchor your image with the text. Your image initials run along with page breaks. To do this, go with the mouse on the blue-filled field in your Object frame. A message from InDesign appears. Just drag your object into the text where you want it to be anchored.


Now your picture will follow if you have breaks in the previous text.

A logo exported as a font as an initial thanks to scripting

In the case of monochrome illustrations or logos, there is another trick that you can use to actually include objects as initials.

The IndyFont script converts graphics to a font file. You can then use the character output with your graphic as an initial via the Character formats deploy.

The advantage of this way: You can control the line height very easily using the initial icons instead of manually using the objects Object frame rumzufriemeln.


In addition, objects can also be set as individual lists. A great thing.

About the script:

http://www.indiscripts.com/post/2012/06/indyfont-build-opentype-fonts-from-within-indesign

We recommend: